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Ramadan musings: I miss coffee

Turkish CoffeeIt’s the 5th day of fasting and as I approach the lunch hour, I am not hungry but I do miss having coffee in the office. I spent the first 20 years of my life not liking coffee at all unless it was heavily sugared and milky a la wake-coffee (you know the huge vats of coffee they mix up for village wakes to go along with the piles of crix? that was the only time I drank coffee). My parents are coffee drinkers. They always had a pot of Hong Wing on the stove, and then later in the percolator. Even though it’s been years since it’s been used for that purpose, we still call that old pot the coffee pot never mind it’s been used for ginger tea, creole chocolate, dipping… But I digress.

As I said, the parents were avid coffee drinkers. And because of that, none of us four siblings intended to get hooked on coffee. See, my parents would drink coffee in the morning, have it during the day at work, then come back and have more in the evening. Probably no more than three cups a day…so not that bad. However, during Ramadan…that’s when we children noticed that this coffee drinking thing wasn’t all that great. Because the parents got the cravings during the day for coffee. Now, it wasn’t a full-blown having-the-shakes kind of addiction…three cups of coffee a day will not do that for everyone, but it affected them enough that  they decided to cut down the amount of coffee they have even outside of Ramadan to reduce the cravings during fasting. Smart as we were, us children decided that we would avoid that trap by not becoming coffee-drinkers in the first place. Right.

That lasted until my second year of undergrad. Caught up in the need to stay awake and uhm…cram… before exams, my roommate and I started brewing stronger and stronger tea, graduating to tea leaves and finally giving in to the lure of coffee as the primary caffeine source. That year it was mostly instant coffee (we were on a budget and new to the coffee game). By the next year, final year, we had friends who brewed coffee, and we even got requests to bring Hong Wing from Trinidad for the Jamaican neighbours. My siblings continued their avoidance of coffee though. And although I started out drinking the milkiest sweetest coffee to counteract the bitterness, I gradually grew to actually appreciate the taste of good coffee. Even to the point where I can and do drink it without milk. But you will never convince me that coffee isn’t meant to be enjoyed as a (lightly at least) sweetened drink.

And so we come to present-day, where I have bags of coffee beans from around the world in my freezer and a coffee grinder permanently on my counter, right next to the toaster. The brother is the only sibling who has a regular coffee drinking habit, although Lilandra seems to succumb to the need for caffeine when she’s on the road. My father was most upset by my coffee-drinking habit though when I started drinking their coffee during visits home. How was I to know that they carefully measure out exactly 3 cups of coffee for them to have one each in the morning and then split the remainder later in the day. I messed up their routine and I got pointed questions at night about whether I was planning on drinking coffee in the morning so they would know how to plan. And if I skipped coffee that day and they were forced to drink the extra! Horrors! ;-) Apparently, my delivering premium global coffee to them at periodic intervals in my travel has no connection to whether I should actually partake in the coffee at home…parents….

I am not a fan of the usual commercial coffee specialties…chock-full of flavoured syrups that all have an underlying vanilla-essencey taste. I generally order a regular brewed coffee until I determine if the caramel syrup and mocha ingredients warrant a special treat. I still try to limit my coffee intake though – to avoid developing habits. I used to not drink coffee at home and never on weekends (like a 2-day purge?). Only in the office and socially. That meant I needed to get proper coffee-making tools in the office or else I would be forced to drink the acidic, flavourless Nescafe instant. So in my office now, I have a lovely cafetiere and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.

But it’s Ramadan. And I am fasting. Fasting started on the weekend so I didn’t notice the absence of coffee until Monday. Argh. Nothing to help me cope with the schedule of meetings. No comforting hot mug to balance the air-conditioning. No pick-me-up in the early afternoon. No coffee-break excuse to socialise. Sigh.

And here it is Wednesday, and although I have no headache or symptoms, I have taken to the blog to ramble on about coffee. Because I miss it.

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6 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. Interesting post…………my father always had a pot of Hong Wing on the stove from early morning until night time……perhaps that is a middle eastern habit , he being Syrian.

    1. Nazira on July 25th, 2012 at 2:17 pm
  2. Ah, I feel your pain Chennette. My coffee habit has come down to a manageable 3-4 cups a day but go without, no eh. Because like the Bruce Banner, you wouldn’t like me when i’m caffeine free.

    5. coffeewallah on August 5th, 2012 at 6:37 pm
  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog to welcome me back. Awww I feel your pain as I have slowly over the years become addicted to the brew as well.

    6. Wizzy on August 13th, 2012 at 8:22 pm
  4. My mother is a coffee drinker, though doctor’s orders have slowed the habit to a cup a week and Dad is a black tea addict, Lipton’s Yellow Label at least twice a day. I have developed a love for both and usually have what is readily at hand, just so lone as I get my daily caffeine fix:)
    ~Melissa

    7. ~Belly in Hand on August 20th, 2012 at 1:28 am
  5. You have a great blog Chennette. So Kind of wondering what profession gives so much opportunity to travel around??

    8. Anna on August 24th, 2012 at 4:33 pm
  6. hi Anna and thanks! The organisation I work for has interests throughout the Caribbean hence some of the travel.

    9. Chennette on August 25th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

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