If you think wine drinkers can be crashing bores, wait until you meet a coffee bore.
At this stage, let me hasten to say I am not referring to instant coffee. Instant coffee is a different drink altogether and, frankly, bears no relation or resemblance to real coffee.
It’s almost impossible to become an instant coffee bore because nothing you say about it could be half as boring as the instant coffee itself. I was brought up in the simple days of moer coffee – the brew that sustained the Voortrekkers as they wound their way over the rugged Drakensberge to get away from the tyranny of the British.
To make moer coffee you placed a kettle of water on the fire, “moered” a handful of coffee grounds in and left it to boil.
Today there is more coffee technology on the supermarket shelves than there are buns in a bakery. The machines range from a simple funnel that takes paper filters all the way to a stainless steel monstrosity fitted with dials and computer screens and intriguing knobs and switches and costing 10 times what you paid for your kitchen stove.
Coffee bores will tell you never to boil the same water twice. Always use fresh water. I’m not sure why this is.
Maybe the water becomes more concentrated after it’s boiled a second time. Heaven forbid that we should sully our coffee with concentrated water. Of course a proper coffee bore uses only beans, not ground coffee.
A real coffee nut grinds his beans just before using them. The beans retain all their flavour, you see, and as soon an you grind them the aromas start leaking out all over the place.
Water temperature is always worth discussing, too. You don’t use boiling water: good gracious, no. You’ll hurt those precious beans. Some bores claim 96ºC is ideal. Others say 95ºC is better.
They will come to blows over that one degree of difference. You boil the kettle, whip out your stop-watch and wait exactly 90 seconds before pouring the water over the coffee.
But if you look at the coffee shelves in your supermarket you will notice a huge range of instant so-called coffees. Somebody must be buying the stuff and it’s not all particularly cheap.
Maybe it’s the simplicity that sells it. There will always be folk who just was to bung a spoon of instant in a mug and top it up with unfiltered, untimed and possibly thrice-boiled water. We can’t all be bothered to be coffee bores. It takes too much effort.
There are more important things in life, thank goodness. But if instant coffee floats your boat, go for it. At least you won’t be boring the pants off the guys in the pub.
A customer rushed into Harry’s hardware shop just after 5pm and said: “I need to buy a mouse-trap, but please hurry. I have to catch a bus.”
Harry shook his head sadly and said: “No, sir. For a bus I’m afraid you’ll need something much bigger than a mouse-trap.”
* "Tavern of the Seas" is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.