Jitter juice

It was not too long ago that I had pretty much never tasted coffee, especially not in its black variety. I remember sipping a suspicious mouthful and nearly gagging: ugh, it’s so bitter! How can you like it? (“Pair it with cheesecake!” was the reply, which I grudgingly acknowledged to be a rather good idea).

That changed one fateful morning when someone – on noticing my yawn during a meeting – kindly remarked that perhaps I was in need of a cup of coffee. I suspiciously decided to give the suggestion a shot. Its effect was revelatory: I feel like I haven’t yawned since.

Thus began my voyage of coffee consumption. I decided that I would learn to not discern (ever since I bought nicer headphones I’ve been trapped in a world of audiophilia – it won’t happen again! I told myself). I drank all kinds of coffee – from the machine at work, instant powder, from Starbucks (in a cup with my name misspelt, of course!), sometimes even drinks that were more sugar than coffee. I tried Singapore’s local favourites Kopi-O and its brethren, although those didn’t really stick.

Then I moved to Hamburg, Europe’s number one destination for coffee shipments from all over the world. Despite the city’s obvious love for coffee, evidenced by entire warehouses devoted to it and the many many wonderful cafes, I remained steadfast in maintaining my lack of coffee-consciousness.

But then the largest ever work from home experiment happened and suddenly my daily drowsiness-defusing dose disappeared. Sleep proved elusive but work did not – it was time for a Home Coffee Plan.

I weighed my options: there was the tried, tested, and tasteless instant coffee powder, the filter coffee machine that came and went with my previous apartment, the venerable French Press, the convenient but ecologically-hostile Nespresso machine, the moka pot…

Then I remembered a conversation with a colleague from years ago when I had just started at ThoughtWorks – there was a product he’d mentioned whose name had stuck in my head. That sounded like exactly what I needed! So after a few clicks and a couple of days, yours truly became the happy owner of a beautiful little AeroPress:

My all-new AeroPress
AeroPress, ahoy!

Nearly a hundred cups later I can say I’m very pleased with it, for many reasons:

  1. It’s easy to use: throw in coffee, add water, and press. From beginning to end it takes about 5-7 minutes to brew a tasty cup.

  2. The build is sturdy and light – it feels like it will last forever. Since it’s completely manually operated, there are no fragile tiny pieces and the only “moving part” is the plunger that is moved manually.

  3. Easy to clean: run it under the tap and you’re done.

  4. Cheap! At under 30 bucks I should be able to replace it quite easily if something were to happen to it

  5. Well known: there are tons of videos on YouTube about it, even a Reddit community!

Things are different now since the arrival of the AeroPress. I spend more time thinking about coffee. My YouTube home page is filled with videos of a guy with great hair and a calming voice who uses words like “body” and “blend”. I had a lengthy conversation with a barista in which I tried to explain my brewing style so that she could grind the beans to the right size. I researched home coffee grinders and nearly threw away my laptop in horror (two hundred and forty euros just so I can grind by hand?!).

It seems I’ve come a long way from the days when I wrinkled my nose at this suspicions dark liquid. What will tomorrow bring? Not coffee withdrawal, I hope!