My life with coffee - OTTO entry number 12

Soccer coach and father of two, Sean Sweet loves the blues, jazz, funk, literature, red wine, single malt scotch, good coffee, and the Vancouver Canucks. All good things. Born in Northern Ontario, Sean has lived in Winnipeg, the NWT/Nunavut, Halifax, Osaka, Tokyo and Vancouver. His road trips have exposed him to all of Canada and virtually all the U.S. states. Sean Sweet's entry in the OTTO Event marks the beginning of the challenging writing contest.
My affair with coffee started in university - Amaretto Almond before first class.  

I started buying bulk beans from supermarkets and brewing at home. I enjoyed the wine-like experience of comparing different types. Then Starbucks, of all places, got me off flavoured beans and on the road to single origins. The first S'bucks I visited was in Chicago's Loop.
I was vacationing from the Canadian Arctic, where I was living and working, and started each morning with an exotic sounding cup from Starbucks while I sat on one of their tall, modern stools and watched the world go by the window of the heavy traffic location.

This was early 1992, and nothing like I knew "cafe experiences" to be. An array of beans visible in the counter displays, with data on country of origin and roast level - I was hooked (literally and figuratively). Remember they used La Marzocco semi-autos in those days? Espresso machines front and center in every location.

A few years later, Halifax's "Daily Grind" taught me about East African, Latin American and Indonesian beans. If Starbucks had candy store-like displays, the Daily Grind was a library - dozens of specialty beans on hand. Deciding on a 1/2 pound or two would usually take me 15 or 20 minutes! When I had the $ - I was back in school again - 100% Kona was my treat. I still remember it. Bodum cups with matching red spoons in my basement apartment near Tower and Inglis.

I have been in Greater Vancouver now for 7 years and have gone way off the deep end, if you listen to my wife. I order green beans to home- roast.
I brew with a french press, Aeropress, Chemex, and Yama, in addition to practicing the art of espresso extraction with a stainless steel single-boiler machine that I set on a timer in order to warm up for a full hour.
Some days life is tough, but I take both pride and satisfaction in preparing and serving one of the best cups of coffee around. I revel in it. In closing, I will share my 'quintessential coffee moment.'

Though it could be one of the many referenced above, it is not. It was during a camping trip with my father when I was in my early 20s. We were stocking up on groceries at a Safeway outside of Whitehorse and I selected a French Roast from the bulk section - options were limited, as you might imagine.
I put who-knows-how-many crude tablespoons of ground coffee into a ceramic coated aluminum camping peculator filled with water. It bubbled for 10 or 15 minutes, hissed and spread a gorgeous aroma around the campground. We drank it out of ceramic- aluminum cups (same material as the perc) and half burned our lips.

It was absolutely wonderful. I am sure the taste and experience is coloured by the location and company (my father has since passed), but it remains my ideal coffee.

Photo upper right: This is the percolator I now take with my young family camping - exactly like the one my dad and I used in the Yukon in May, 1991.
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