Coffee reflections share specially curated, personal stories of what coffee means to an individual. It may be a morning ritual, falling in love moment, perhaps a travel coffee experience. Here, we talk about the things that make coffee unique and how it has become a part of our lives.
Have you got a coffee reflection to share? We would love to hear your stories no matter how big or small. Email us at [email protected] with the Subject: Reflections. We’d love to read about your experiences and share them if we can.
Starting our series is Angie, our resident-but-remote content creator. She is a blogger (vanillabeige.com), graphic designer and the domestic goddess she never wanted to be. She moved from Singapore to the wilds of New Jersey, previously spending her time eating out and living the city life. She now gardens and makes baked goodies for her family. While her coffee repertoire has changed a bit, she is still obsessed. Here is what coffee means to her on her birthday.
Coffee, my gifts of love
By Angela Manners – @vanilla.beige
People have often said that coffee defines me, and this could not be truer than on my birthday. For years, I have always received a coffee-related present for my birthday. It’s never been planned. It has just happened. (The people who love me obviously know what makes me happy.) So, every year, someone somewhere gives me or sends me a coffee-related surprise and each one is heartfelt, carefully selected and loved by me.
I have all my coffee things in one place. It’s a treasure trove of memories and sentimentality. Even if I never again receive a coffee-related present, I’ll have these… the things I adore because of who it came from (and not because of what it is).
Starting with a Gooseneck Kettle
There was that year when my brother gave me a gooseneck kettle, the Hario Buono Gooseneck Kettle. This happened to be right after I had poked fun at snobby baristas and their fancy kettles. Incidentally, I had also been schooled about why the gooseneck was important. It’s because it controls water flow onto coffee grounds – aesthetics and snobbery have nothing to do with it.
This was given at the very start of my coffee journey and many happy pour overs were done with this kettle. On another year, I was gifted the Hario Buono Copper Kettle. A stunning addition which not only controlled water flow but was exceptional in maintaining water temperature. I use them both while still collecting various gooseneck kettles for form and function.
Pour over drippers
On another birthday, a group of friends got together and presented me with the Hario V60 – the copper one. This was especially thoughtful because none of them knew anything about specialty coffee or the nuanced aspects of getting a good pour-over. One of them took the time to call Paul, founder of Perk, asking for a recommendation. He recommended the V60 in copper because it is universally known for its’ iconic tradition and again because the copper helps maintain water temperature for a good pour. It also looked stunning as a present and is one of my most treasured and loved possessions. Since then, I have collected perhaps half a dozen different types of pour-over drippers.
Then there is my Chemex which was a present from my husband (ok, so maybe I had shopped this for my own birthday present, but he was 100% for it, reaps the benefits to this day and, I believe, is grateful that I would prefer this over jewellery). I had my eyes on a Chemex for years because it is just so gorgeous, with its’ hand-blown glass and hourglass figure. It’s displayed in my glass-fronted cabinet as if it were a work of art.
Coffee Gadgets Galore
The last one I’ll share is perhaps the most significant of them all – a handheld, little espresso-making gadget, the Wacaco Minipresso. Given to me by my child, a quaranteen (meaning she turned into a teen whilst in quarantine during THAT year – the year our lives changed so drastically).
Such a year it had been for her and all of us. Moving countries and going straight into lockdown. But on my birthday, she thoughtfully selected for me the gorgeous little Minipresso so I could always enjoy my coffees wherever I was – whenever travel opened up again. If ever a parent had wanted a sign that their child truly thought of them, this was it for me. And this is why it will always hold a special place in my heart.
All these things, too many to be named – the bags of freshly ground coffee beans from different origins, packed in tissue paper and presented in a gift bag, the numerous drip devices, the kettles and carafes, stoneware cups and words of happy birthday… Those are, in effect, what defines my coffee experience. The ritual, the chats I’ve had over a cuppa, beyond the love of coffee as an actual drink, what defines me are the memories that I will always have when I’m brewing and sipping coffee using all the different lovely coffee things I’ve been given on my birthday.