This is one of the greatest things about this country.
Now I know some of my readers may have spat out their home-ground, hand-crafted, warm delicious cups of the wonderful bean-juice at the thought.
Instantly a green symbol is in front of their eyes, and I’m not referring to Ryan Reynolds in a skin-tight green suit. No, I think of a far more horrifying beast: The Starbucks Siren.
Sure, now she is no longer circled by the words “Starbucks Coffee” but she is still the foul heathen goddess of terrible black sludge. Her damnable altars are everywhere. Her bleary eyed worshippers march in a trance toward the green aproned priests to procure their intercession. Then, the seemingly arbitrary fashion in which is two-tailed demon responds to the feeble cries of the seduced masses: One would think those who are served first would receive their beverage first.
Not so! This wicked trickster infuriates her feeble devotees by giving up her bounty with utterly no order whatsoever. She does this to infuriate those who bring the most generous offering, making them wait longer to take hold of their inheritance.
Surly there is no power which could be dredged up from the Styx more abominable than this putrid Siren. Yea, it is certain that she would sooner drown a soul in her dark waters than share the with anyone.
No, this is not the coffee of which I speak.
I speak of the humble percolator. So simple, so dependable. Just a flick of a switch and the warming red glow of the power light assures my soul that a hot cup of wonder is merely moments away.
Every true believer knows of what I write. Sometimes you are frustrated. I understand! You want the coffee to get into your cup faster. I share your annoyance. But the humble percolator will not be rushed. She does her work without complaining, merrily bubbling away and gurgling that water up. With one last sigh she tells us the coffee is ready. She does not demand the fruit of our wages. No, unlike the cursed Siren, she is happy to know she is loved.
The wonderful thing about America is that these humble percolators are everywhere. Every kitchen has one. Every restaurant. Every truck stop and petrol station. Percolators are everywhere, in all shapes and sizes for every budget and style.
Why am I so amazed by this?
Well my American friends, I suggest you sit comfortably for this next sentence. You won’t enjoy it.
In England, we drink instant coffee.
Now you’ve regained your composure, please understand my frustration.
A good cup of coffee is but a scoop, a pour and a button press away. But tragically this is a part of British culture which is unlikely to change any time soon. We are too programmed to drink tea. The process is simple: Boil water, add tea bag.
The trouble is, somewhere in the past we tried to apply this same technique to coffee.
Instant coffee is the result.
And it is NOT good.
Yes, I will miss this part of American culture. I will miss being able to expect a great cup of coffee (or at least a drinkable one) everywhere, all the time. And more often than not with free refills.
When I return to the other side of the pond I shall have to plod out my tragic, coffee-hermit existence. Misunderstood by my fellow countrymen who don’t understand. Who have never tasted…
But I will remember. I will remember the land of coffee, where a good cup of Joe was no crime. Where enjoying coffee was not a needless expense, but a daily norm. Where I could freely indulge myself in love for the brown beans without judgement.
Oh, England. Is it too much to ask for you change your ways?
As Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”
I shall take these words to heart. I promise you a fresh cup of percolated (or pressed) coffee should you ever come to visit me.
See you soon, England!