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‘I can’t imagine a world without coffee’

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arabica coffee fruit lib

REUTERS

Arabica cherries are seen during an early harvest on a coffee farm in Hua La village, at Vietnam's northwest Son La province.

Dublin - My children are weepy and fearful. My husband is bracing himself for the storm. Mommy has become a raging dinosaur at the prospect of the world running out of coffee.

I can get by without gas or coal or the Antarctic. I can survive, however spiritually diminished, the imminent extinction of the Jamaican iguana. I can even subsist without wine.

But I cannot live without coffee.

The Arabica bean – the best, the poshest one, as found in Illy and Lavazza Qualità Oro – is under threat due to rising global temperatures, which could render 99.7 percent of growing areas unsuitable by 2080.

The other sort of bean, Robusta, which is more bitter and used as a filler in cheaper blends, is also affected, but that matters less to me, because I love the good stuff.

Coffee is crucial to my sanity, my sense of self and, it must be said, my sense of humour. And it has to be perfect.

I was once dispatched to do a barista course, which was fascinating, but nearly ruined my life as too much information has proved a dangerous thing.

“Put your hand around that metal jug!” I now cry to bewildered coffee shop employees. “You need to gauge the temperature!”

“Tamp! For the love of God, tamp!”

Did you know that a stream of espresso, brimful of anti-ageing antioxidants trickling from the machine, is supposed to have approximately the same dimensions as a mouse’s tail? I do – and I wish I didn’t.

I can’t imagine a world without coffee.

At home, I keep it simple. I’ve tried the Nespresso machine with the gimmicky little coloured capsules, but the resulting drink is never hot enough. Lukewarm coffee makes me sad; scalding coffee makes me mad because it bespeaks ignorance, sloppiness and inattention to detail.

Instead, I variously use a cafetiere, a hand-operated Presso, a little Turkish pot with a handle and, far and away my favourite, a metal stove-top Italian Moka coffee maker.

For me, occasion is what it’s about. Taking tea, I always feel, is a communal event, open to all and sundry. Coffee, on the other hand, is a dark, rich, sensuous drink, which is possibly why a whispered invitation to “come back for coffee” reeks of intimacy.

To that end, I am quite fussy about my coffee compadres. I’ll knock back wine with anyone at the sniff of a cork, but going for coffee is reserved for people who understand its totemic significance, which possibly explains why I usually consume it alone.

I love those precious moments in the morning, when the day ahead is brimful of possibility and my taste buds are jolted awake by the aroma and taste of Arabica.

My only consolation in this crisis is that I’ll be dead by 2080.

Unless, of course, by some ironic and very cruel twist of fate, those antioxidants really do make me live forever. – Irish Independent

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