Image courtesy of JcOlivera @ Flickr.com
I’m not much of a hot drink person. I’m not sure exactly why, but I have an inkling. It may be the weather – which, for the most part, is quite warm and therefore doesn’t inspire within me a thirst for a drink whose primary ingredient is boiling water.
Given the choice of tea or coffee, I’ll take tea. There’s a coffee shop near my work that makes a nice spiced chai but every time I get one I feel a little pretentious. I don’t know why that is. What I do know is that I don’t drink coffee. As many psychologists often theorise, I think it stems back to my childhood. Seriously.
As a child I yearned to be popular and to fit in. The problem was that I also had a fiercely independent streak. It helped in that whenever I wasn’t busy doing whatever the other kids wanted me to do, I knew I could very easily entertain myself.
From a young age I had a bit of a problem with excess in numerous aspects of my personality (like being slightly hyperactive, hypersensitive and overeager to name just a few) and my sweet tooth was about as big as a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I was a huge fan of dinosaurs when I was younger; I still think they’re pretty great today to be quite honest but that doesn’t really have anything to do with today’s post.
Naturally, when it came to drinks I preferred the chocolatey ones. Particularly those you could mix yourself. To me, Quik was the ultimate. We rarely had that little luxury in the house though, given my propensity to eat it directly from the tin.
Far more likely was it that in the quest for a deliciously refreshing chocolate drink you would find yourself gazing upon the green, black and white label of a Milo tin. It really wasn’t that far a step down on the deliciousness scale though. And the fact that it has a low G.I. and always had a picture of a kid playing sport on the label no doubt sold my parents on it being the preferred choice.
We all reach an age where we want to take that step into adulthood. Many of us are so keen that we take it prematurely in one form or another – trying something “grown-up” (like smoking, drinking alcohol or share trading) a little earlier than we really should. For me, that premature step was drinking coffee.
The minor details escape my memory but the important details remain firmly intact. I stood at our kitchen counter, alone and decided that I would try coffee for the first time. I excitedly grabbed a mug and as the water boiled I added the ingredients. Once the water was ready I filled the mug and threw in a splash of milk for good measure. The whole thing smelled pretty good and I lifted the drink, sipping in a mouthful of my adulthood.
I can’t really describe the resulting flavour experience, but at least I can say I was man enough to swallow it. Remember how I mentioned that I enjoyed Milo and that I had a penchant for excess? I had made my coffee like I made my Milo – with at least four generously heaped teaspoonfuls. On that day I learned a very important lesson:
The fact that something looks like something you’ve already had experience with – doesn’t mean you can apply the same principles that work for one to the other.