So just last week, I discovered the hullabaloo that was bulletproof coffee..I had read about it on some blogs, and passed it over, thinking that is one thing I am not trying. As they say, never say never…
So today, since I have had a cup, and posted on FB about it (what with the boss being out and all that), I decide to pen a post about coffee. I had recently done a tea post, and could coffee be far behind?
Now I am both a coffee and tea lover, and drinker…and I happen to have phases in which I love and shun both the beverages. These phases are, at times mutually exclusive, but that is not always a rule..
I have loved coffee so much, that it has made me wonder about my Marathi roots..and that was much before I started learning Carnatic music from Tam-Brams. No Carnatic kutcheri I attended was ever complete without that filter kaapi cuppa, usually had during taniavarthanam…though of course, I would sneak out during the tedious RTP (ragam-tanam-pallavi) for my cup, so as to not miss the taniavarthanam. Interestingly, all Hindustani classical concerts were always associated with chai (and I attended plenty of those too).
And then I started my music lessons in earnest. During my third year or so of learning (for the first two years I would go by train from Ruparel, switching to Harbour line at Mahim), I would have to traverse the route from Ruia College to Kings’ Circle, and there somewhere along the way in the South Indian strongehold of Matunga, was this roadside coffee tapri (roadside shack). Now, given my upbringing where drinking tea or coffee was frowned upon, I would make do with just the wafting aroma of the filter coffee of the said tapri, taking deep breaths and inhaling the scent, as I passed it. That would be enough to refresh me for the upcoming lesson. Why I never tried that coffee even once, will always remain a mystery to my current self. Was I too shy to stand by the roadside and drink that coffee? (That’s hardly likely, for I have known to go to eat alone in hotels, and even to movies – I saw Munnabhai MBBS and Hum Tum alone!) Whatever it was, it made for a lovely coffee memory, without having tasted a drop!
The only exception I would make is the cold coffee to be had at a small nook, bang opposite Ruia. This small stall (where only the uncle could somehow manage to stand) would offer all sorts of juices and milkshakes. Nimbu pani for Rs.5 and cold coffee for Rs. 10, which in those days would be a luxury, and only indulged on certain occasions. And yes, whenever we indulged in pet pooja at Mani’s, all the idli, dosas, uttappas would be lastly washed down with filter kapi. When I left Ruia, and those coffee memories behind, I created a few more with the cold coffee at Churchgate station. This would happen along with the bhel bought in the subway stalls, once a month when I visited British Library or the CA Institute at Churchgate (yes, parental pressure forced me into starting that CA degree, which thankfully I never finished).
I became a regular coffee drinker, probably at work. What with free coffee, and a new found sense of financial independence, drinking a few cups was considered ‘cool’. Of course, I bonded with my girlies over those coffee breaks – sometimes in the break out area, or on the lawns of the office campus.
And of course I was in coffee heaven in London and Hong Kong. Oh, the amazing blends, and flavours to choose from. While I started with seemingly familiar Nescafe, I soon progressed to sample coffees from all over the world, enjoying some, discarding others. My favourite were the hazelnut and vanilla flavoured coffees I enjoyed in my Bristol office at promptly 4 pm each day – giving me a much needed break from some stupid colleagues, and a chance to catch the sun and terrific views of the Bristol harbour, which I never tired of (see below).
And in a typical Indian fashion, brought back the unfinished ones home to Hyderabad, and handed them over to mom and dad, who would savour these, and at times show off to visitors with cups of foreign coffee, which their London (or Hong Kong) returned daughter had got them..
Then, there were also these periods of shunning coffee and tea, interspersing with drinking them each morning. Those were the days when mom lauded me for my efforts to give up stimulating drinks along with the empty calories that came with all the sugar I poured into my cup. But I never could give it up completely. Along the way, I realised it is necessary to give in to some guilty pleasures in life – and that is what gives meaning to all nutritious diets, strict exercise regimens we subject ourselves to.
I never understood how to enjoy the black, kori coffee (and still don’t). I loved mine, sweet and strong, with sugar and milk. Brushing aside Indians-drink-sugar-with-some-coffee-innit taunts from my boss, I would proceed to empty 3-4 sachets of sugar in the big cup doled out in Bristol. That all changed after visiting Taipei. When I took two sugar sachets at one Cama Coffee outlet on the first visit here, the server looked askance. And when I proceeded to take another two, my husband all but ran from the shop, grabbing me along. He had learned to savour sugar less coffee, you see, along with all things Taipei.
It took me a while to get there. What helped of course, was a detox programme I inflicted on myself, cutting out all sugar, and coffee was 20 days straight. For the first 4 days of this detox programme, I ate only khichadi – for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My tastebuds had quite adjusted to Taipei standards by then, and this mono-diet made it extra sensitive. When I finally had my one cup of coffee after what seemed like ages, but was only a month, I hated the taste! And my stomach made weird noises, and I couldn’t sleep well with all that caffeine in the system. That’s when I realised I have broken free. Until of course, bullet proof coffee beckoned…
Here’s my favourite brew these days:
1 cup black coffee, 2 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tbsp unsalted butter, a dash of vanilla extract, a tsp of cream, 1 tbsp of sugar – blended for a few minutes, till frothy.