I will share a couple of little snapshots that define "my journey with Coffee" and might also shed some light and insight as to why I've become such a Grumpy Ol Bastard!
Firstly the O'l Man was killed (MVA) when I was 3. So, grow'n up life was well... 'Tough'. Abject poverty, alcoholism, depression, constantly moving, yeah all that an more. At least I was never 'touched'- for that I'm very grateful. Born Sydney- Grew up in Melb. Finished High School- Mckinnon High 1980. I was pretty wild- and I'm not proud to admit I was a person "known to police"- but I survived and I got over it.
So this is where my coffee Journey begins and humble beginnings it was. It consists of a thermos, several tablespoons of International Roast (coffee in 'Nuked' talcum powder form) a good splash of milk and about 16 teaspoons full of sugar; to help the medicine go down.
Mum said if I finish Year 12 I can do what I like- so I bought a Motorbike and took off around Australia for 12 months... long before it was trendy like today's 'gap year'. Got beat up a few times for my smart mouth- but it knocked the chip off my shoulder and was just what 'the doctor' ordered. Funny thing is all my 'extended family' are top end of town business people- like a 3rd cousin in Sydney who is 3IC in Australia's 7th largest public company. Not for me. Yes, if I was a sheep; I'd be a black sheep. At this stage I'd become addicted to Servo Sludge. The stuff the truckies drink to stay awake for 60 Hrs at a stretch and grow such thick chest thatch...
I was accepted at Monash Uni for combined Law/Eco but never got past orientation day. I had been a TA on my travels and I wanted to be a Tradie. I fell into Swimming Pool Construction (broke an ankle too- but that's another story) and within two years I had 13 employees, in my own business and was turning over more per week than most people were earning in a year. Two years later the company I was heavily involved with did a 'midnight runner' and left me holding the reins. Millionaire Income/Lifestyle to Bankrupt in 48 Hrs Flat! Dare I say it, I had been introduced to Toorak Rd and Lygon St Carlton and the yuppie set and it pains me to say it but Aaargh I was in the Latte Crowd!
I went bush and worked in the mines for a few years. 'Clear the slate', as they say. Got a Powder Monkeys Licence and basically blew stuff up! All round Blackwood, Harrietville, Creswick, Maryborough... the Victorian Goldfields. For fun we'd go "bonnet surfin"... get a car bonnet from a wreck.... tie a rope to the towbar and tow it way too fast down dirt roads in the middle of the night- ever so slightly inebriated hic! Fishin with Geli... yeah done that! Doesn't work by the way... vast majority of fish sink because swim bladder gets ruptured... My coffee by now was stewed beans on the camp fire and came heavy, thick and black!!!
So, not doin bad for someone that wasn't gonna say much...
Met the missus... travelled a bit and tried to have kids- and tried, and tried. Did the whole IVF thingie and it failed- Big Time. Went to Vanuatu for two weeks to 'recover' and fought like banshees the whole time. Got chucked out of one resort... seriously. We were get'n divorced- that's it! Funny thing is 40 weeks later she gave birth to our first. Who'da thunk it!
Had two kids and stopped- ended up with three... Oops! Snip, snip, say no more! Now by this time we had moved to Brisbane and when we first arrived 18 odd years ago Coffee Shops were no-where to be seen!! So we began to experiment with a little of our own- French Press and such contraptions and supermarket 'freeze dried' was 'Gold'.
Also, while we were overseas I did some coffee experimenting with the local brew... Some places called the beans 'Beetle Nut' and chewin the beans makes your eyes see red and your teeth stain red... Next a local Brew called Kava... now that's a muddy brew and you can see in the dark after you drink it- can't see shit in daylight- can't stand any light actually but I do recall the very earthy aromas... an the gritty taste...
If you haven't had kids yet- be warned- skip this paragraph. After the first, the missus had Mastitis which developed into a very severe blood infection- and massive post natal hemorrhaging- a very near death experience. Only the strongest IV Antibiotics saved her life. Gets better. After the second- she blew the anvil bone in the ear- deaf now in one ear. Gets better. After the third we hit the jackpot... In childbirth the same hormones that loosen the joints for the birth loosen and weaken the walls of the arteries. Some women get varicose veins, some get bloodshot eyes, etc. Well my missus burst the Coronary Artery- that's the one that feeds the heart muscle and the heart stops working without it. It was called a "Spontaneous Dissection of the Coronary Artery with Childbirth" by Dr Gerrahy- Heart Specialist at PA Hospital Brisbane- and according to all peer reviews at the time- the only recorded case- ever- worldwide!
Happy ending- she's still kicking!! Now my coffee journey started to get interesting at this time. By this stage there were the pioneers of the coffee trade beginning to open this new frontier town. The very first cafe's were starting to appear and whilst the coffee was rough- beggars cannot be choosers and the pickings were very slim.
Still with me...
Now I've only mentioned about a third of the stuff I've put my wife through and to be honest it's far more than any person should have to take. I've put her through the highest high's and the lowest lows and still she stands by me. Got me stuffed 'why' too!! Now the reason I've shared all this is so that you can truly appreciate my quest... You see the one thing my wife loves, adores and enjoys above all else (as a personal indulgence) is "Good Coffee" and my lifelong quest now is to give my wife the very best brew I can!!
It's the least I can do... right?
Just a few weeks ago I wandered into Merlo Paddington, for a quick brew on the run. Something caught my eye and near took my breath away with it's stunning beauty... It was an 'Otto' and WOW- it stopped me in my tracks. Sitting just alongside was another pair of interesting coffee paraphernalia... It was the Portapresso- 'Rossco' Press and 'Rossa' Grinder. Now I'm a tradesman and I know something that has been made to the highest standards and I had it in my hand. I'm not gonna rave on- you can look it up yourself.
Suffice to say my journey to the higher form of the art has begun....
Baby Roaster FZR 700, Presso, Bellman Steamer, HC Rossa + PG, Pharos + Vd Mods, Otto Induction Plate