Quote: “A monkey ate a coffee bean, crapped it out, then someone made a drink of coffee out of it and Rick Stein drank it.”
Taken from a late night conversation with my Partner, a sober conversation…I think. Whether the content of this quote are true or not I have no idea, it probably holds some truth somewhere in the history of coffee making and TV viewing but don’t quote me on that.
Now it appears that, if this quote does have dabblings in the truth, that Rick will go some lengths to get a great coffee or someone, somewhere thought it would be an extreme, if not cruel, joke. This led me to think about the coffee that I consumed and the lengths that I go too to get a good one.
Extreme search attempt 1: I went to Italy.
My bar is set at a height of a one euro cappuccino that I had in Sienna a few years ago. I start on a high: It was perfection, one which is yet to be surpassed. Hot but drinkable, two thirds milk to one third foam and a great taste, not too sweet and not too bitter, maybe because it was not burnt or maybe they just have a better bean. Who knows? I am not coffee expert just an expert coffee drinker.
An eccellente begining.
Extreme search attempt 2: Ouch!
The Fat Deli, Balham: not quite Tuscany more nappy valley with the yummy mummy crowd and toppy but tasty food. This should do a good coffee I thought. Wrong! Lava in a cardboard disguise is one description. Still, in my desperation for caffeine I carried this coffee for fifteen minutes hoping it would cool quickly. I wasn’t sure whether the coffee would cool before my skin became part of the cup forever. The first part-human part-takeaway cup; like Robocop for the coffee world. I took a chance, I had too: there was caffeine in here. Persistent, stubborn or caffeine deficient… possibly even all three. I waited until finally my ‘drink’ was cool enough to drink. I could swallow. The desperation to drink my cappuccino gave me false hope. It was burnt and therefore bitter. In annoyance and in full swing of caffeine withdrawal after now a third of an hour clutching an unpalatable coffee, I ditched it. Is there a store that sells monkeys here?
Extreme search attempt 3: What does that button do again?
Continuing my quest for the ring, sorry, a good coffee; I bought a coffee machine, a midrange one. Should save me a bit of cash in the long run; maybe I will become so adept at coffee making people will flock from all over SW London to savour my aromatic flavours. I bought it two years ago. Still can’t use it. Oh well, money down the drain a little like where that burnt takeaway should have immediately gone.
Well my search continues, hence this blog. It’s not that I haven’t found any good coffees in London, I have: my favourite being a little coffee van in Balham. Once run by a Brazilian now by a Peruvian. Takeaways only though, which is not handy for a writer who would like to sit down to scribble. Girasole in Teddington does good ‘drink in’ coffee (Girasole will appear in a future blog, I imagine, as it is often frequented). But, like the intrepid Rick and his friend, the monkey feeder, I want perfection; I want it all, as always. I want the perfect coffee with super service in a suitably writerly setting. Maybe if I adhere to the teachings of my parents and say ‘I would like’ or ‘please may I’ I might be more successful. What do you think Monkeybaby?