My Life

Cats, Cars, Coffee & Cruises – Part 3: Coffee

I first started to drink coffee when I was young, taking a few sips from my Mom or Dad’s coffee. Maybe that’s why I’m so short? They always said it would stunt my growth. Shoot.

When I was in my early 20’s and working in the grocery business, I developed an affinity for the hot beverage, mostly because it was socially encouraged.

Back then I brewed plain old grocery store coffee from those big plastic containers or round tins that you can buy for less than $10. It was adequate but was made more tolerable when flavoured cream was added. Lots of it.

My taste in coffee was so simple back then.

This stuff was basically brown sawdust. It makes the water brown and sort of tastes like coffee, but if someone substituted the coffee grounds for dirt and added cream and sugar, would anyone notice?

I would soon become enlightened…

Back when Joy was in University, before we were married, she worked at the Coffee Lodge in Sarnia. During her training, she learned the proper way to make coffee. It’s more than just dumping some brown grounds into a coffee maker and hoping for the best.

Joy transferred her knowledge of coffee to me and I was intrigued. I started to drink the Coffee Lodge Dark Roast and over time, developed a taste for a great cup of coffee.

I learned so much.

I learned that coffee beans are an important part of making a good cup of coffee. Where the coffee beans come from geographically, the altitude that they’re grown at and how they’re roasted make a difference in what the coffee tastes like.

For the frugal folks out there, I have some bad news.

You’re just not going to get a great cup of coffee if you’re buying a $5/lb coffee from the grocery store. Triple that budget and you’re getting closer to being able to buy coffee beans that will give you a good coffee drinking experience.

But it doesn’t end there.

Once the beans are grown, harvested and roasted they have to be ground down so you can use them. But did you know that how they are ground makes a difference in what the coffee tastes like? A good grinder will produce a more uniform sized ground, which will result in a better tasting cup of coffee.

And then there’s the brewing. There are many ways to make a good cup of coffee but the best ones, in my opinion, are using a French Press, an AeroPress, a Pourover, a Moka Pot or an Espresso machine (Americano.)

Yes, we have a Keurig machine and use it often, but it’s used more when we’re in a hurry. If we have time to wait, we use the French Press and make a good cup of coffee.

Yes – I’ve become a Coffee Snob.

During our travels, finding a good cup of coffee has become part of the trip. We’ve been to some really cool coffee houses and cafe’s through Canada, the US…and Bermuda. We’ve had good coffee, bad coffee, mediocre coffee, and ridiculously expensive coffee.

By the way, if you see me hovering around your kitchen when you invite us over, it’s because I’m checking out what kind of coffee you’re serving. I’m sorry…don’t be too offended.

Hey Jonny – If you like coffee so much, why don’t you buy a cafe? Good idea…

Back in 2012, we started toying with the idea of buying or starting a cafe.

In 2013 we got our chance when a tiny cafe in an office building became available and some family members helped us get rolling.

For just over 2 years we operated the cafe with the help of some old friends and some new ones too.

I loved it because it gave me a chance to chat with people every day. I developed relationships with people over their morning coffee or lunch and as it turned out, I’m decent at using a cash register and counting money.

It was great…

Joy, on the other hand actually did most of the real work!

Actually, Joy and a few other gals did the real work of prepping food, day in and day out. A big shout out to Kezia, Carolyn, Jenny, and Meghan who were a tremendous amount of help and support. Without them, the place would not have been able to operate.

It was a good learning experience and a lot of hard work but at the end of the day, it just wasn’t for us. We wanted to travel a little and make more money, with less work! 🙂

I’ve still retained my love of coffee. Not a day goes by that I don’t try to get my hands on at least one GOOD cup of coffee. By GOOD I mean, I make it at home or go to a high-quality cafe or coffeehouse.

I risk offending a few people here, but you cannot obtain a good cup of coffee at Canada’s favourite national chain. Just in case someone actually reads this, I won’t risk mentioning the name, but you know who I’m talking about.

What they sell can barely be classified as coffee. It’s basically brown, burnt water made from coffee beans obtained for the lowest price possible, all the while knowing that the poor farmers that they bought the coffee from, cannot survive on the price they’re willing to pay for the beans.

Look – If you toss in 1/4 cup of 18% cream and 2 tablespoons of sugar, even toilet water would taste good. Sorry to offend. 🙂


Also published on Medium.

4 thoughts on “Cats, Cars, Coffee & Cruises – Part 3: Coffee

  1. Ah!! The good old days at Pause…miss you guys a lot! I love having friends that share my love for actual coffee…and I am so glad that when you skulled around in my kitchen you found that you could relax and know that in the morning you would be getting a decent cup of joe!

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