The Unbreakable Liking of Bean!

Image source: Photographer Megan Gill

Some may say coffee is a drug. For John Caruso it could be a religion.

Preparing my stove top coffee maker, or Moka pot – or caffettiera for those of us raised in an ethnic household – is a daily ritual that’s close to my heart. The grinding of the beans, the gentle heat, smelling the aroma and watching as the pot fills. Then the first sip – just magic and the perfect start to my day.

My Melbournian friend, Richie, Sicilian heritage just like me, gifted me my first caffettiera more than 30 years ago and I’ve been hooked on the ritualistic way of creating a rich, aromatic brew ever since.

Coffee is more than just a drink for me. It’s a way of life, a culture, a passion. I love experimenting with different types of beans, roasts and blends. There are many ways to enjoy coffee, and I’ve tried them all. From long black to cappuccino; latte to macchiato; espresso to mocha, there’s a coffee for every mood and occasion. But my favourite is still the long (medium) black, no sugar, just pure coffee goodness.

I’m not alone in my love for coffee. Australians consume an average of 2kg of coffee per person per year. That’s about 6 billion cups annually! The coffee market down under reached $6.2 billion in 2019, with more than 20,000 coffee shops across the country. It is a huge part of our economy and our culture.

But not all coffee is created equal.

Some people still use instant coffee, which is easy but a crime against humanity. Instant coffee is made from low-quality beans that are roasted, ground, brewed, and then freeze-dried or spray-dried into granules or powder. It has less flavour, less aroma, less caffeine, and more chemicals than real coffee. To me, it’s like drinking dirty water with a hint of bitterness.

According to a survey, 27% of Australians still use instant coffee on a daily basis. That’s more than a quarter of the population! How can they live like that? Don’t they know what they’re missing out on? Don’t they care about their taste buds? Don’t they have any respect for themselves?

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. But instant coffee is something that I can’t tolerate. It’s like eating cardboard instead of bread or drinking vinegar instead of wine. It’s an insult to the art and science of coffee making.

Sharing coffee with a friend or group of friends is another one of life’s simple pleasures. There’s nothing like having a cup of coffee with someone you care about whether it’s at home or at your favourite coffee spot. Coffee brings people together, sparks conversations, creates bonds. It’s a social lubricant that makes us feel more relaxed and connected.

Coffee is more than just a drink for me. It’s a story, a culture, a passion, a friendship; one of the greatest pleasures of life. It’s something that enriches my life every day. I can’t imagine what life would be like without it. But I do know one thing – I don’t want to find out.

TYPES OF COFFEE & WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THE DRINKER*

Long black – For blokes that don’t eat quiche.

Espresso – As above, with much less time.

Cappuccino – The milk & chocolate sprinkle moustache is only for the master of disguises. 

Café Latte – A no-no for the lactose intolerant – and there’s no point in almond or oat substitutes.

Vienna – Ordered when making a scene and looking for attention. (There are loud shirts in your closet)

Flat white – You need to get out more. You’re boring!

Macchiato – You want to give up dairy, but you’re not there yet.

Americano – Don’t bother. The Yanks have no idea.

*author’s opinion only.


ESPRESSO MARTINI

From Acqua Restaurant & Bar, Caloundra

INGREDIENTS:

  • Ice cubes
  • 1½ part Vodka
  • ¾ part Kahlúa
  • ¾ part Espresso (cooled)
  • 3 whole coffee beans

HOW TO MAKE:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Add Vodka, Kahlúa, and Espresso.
  3. Shake well to get the foam on top, and strain it into a cocktail or martini glass.
  4. Garnish with three coffee beans on top.
About the Author /

[email protected]

After 30 years in radio, John now runs the Conversations IN Noosa podcast and in between being our writer, sanity checker, accounts manager, event MC, and delivery boy; he spends time with his first love, recording a daily Drive program for regional radio from home (often in his pyjamas); and presenting Saturday mornings on Hot 91.1. He has previously worked for FoxFM Melbourne, Triple M Brisbane and SeaFM, as well as managing and presenting on ABC Sunshine Coast.

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