Falling for a Coffee Snob

Monday, 14 October, 2013
By Tammi Carter

My husband is a coffee guy. He loves it, works with it, judges it and drinks it; I have a four year degree in Musical Theatre. Before I met him, I looked forward to my daily cup of Nescafe Classic, now I can't stomach the stuff. So here is the coffee world from my perspective...

When we were still dating, Matt (my boyfriend at the time) would lovingly come to visit me at my little loft above someone's garage. My kitchen downstairs used to be the garage and still had the oil stained carpet. There was little space and even less storage, so I didn't have space to have any fancy coffee making equipment. Needless to say, the first gift Matt gave me was for the Christmas of 2010. It was a french press and some Bean There coffee. I realised right away that the gift was more for him than for me. I never went back to instant coffee ever again.

And that's when my transformation began. Instant coffee no longer tasted like coffee, but rather a hot, coffee-flavoured beverage. The search began for places to safely have a good cup of black gold (because life's too short to drink bad coffee). Had I been brainwashed? Or just introduced to a drug that I now wanted high quality and pure? I found myself going to coffee tastings like other people go to the movies. Break the crust, smell the aromas, slurp the coffee, wait for it to cool, slurp again, then: what do you smell? What do you taste? What do you taste now? Apparently "coffee" isn't a good answer...

Then we got married.

I love cooking and the kitchen is my favourite room in the house. I have a lot of kitchen equipment, but suddenly my cupboards and countertops were filled with things I didn't use! The Hario V60, an Aeropress, an espresso machine, a woodneck, a cold brew, a siphon, a grinder, filter papers, coffee measuring spoons, and bags and bags of different coffee beans! If I packed them away, they would be back in my there by the next morning, but worst of all was the endless blanket of ground coffee all over the floor and counter tops (sweeping it into a small pile in the corner of the kitchen doesn't make me forget that it's there).

Then there are the late nights, long days and weekends; the many long weekends we can't go away because it's the barista Championships or something. Who knew coffee could take up so much of one's time?
A side effect of my coffee knowledge growing exponentially post marriage, is my fussiness when choosing where to meet my friends for coffee. They have been known to feel slight trepidation when ordering their cappuccinos when I'm around. The scrutiny when it arrives at the table can sometimes get a bit out of hand. The milk is burned! This cappuccino doesn't have enough foam! The coffee is stale! The shot was over-extracted! It's too sour! It's too bitter! And my favourite encounter was asking one poor waitress where her single origin coffee came from, *blank stare* from the waitress followed by, "yes, it's single origin coffee"... I think my friends now know which coffee shops it is safe to take me to.

Let me stop complaining though, because the perks of being married to a coffee guy are far greater! Little can beat waking up on weekends to the aromatic smell of freshly brewing coffee wafting up to my nostrils as I lie expectantly in bed, or having a partner who comes home smelling like good coffee. We hardly ever have to pay for coffee and generally can be assured of its exceptional quality. I get free entry to any expo, show, or event where my hubby is working and as a result have had the privilege to meet many of the top baristas and fellow coffee snobs in this country.

We love to hike and rock climb, and are always very popular among our friends when Matt pops his Aeropress out of his hiking bag in the morning while the others are sipping away at coffee that came in a tea bag.

Best of all however, is having my very own personal barista to love and abuse.

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