I have a very spotty history with the Magic Bean, something most people in America worship with a zeal that borders on fanaticism. Growing up, my mother always drank lots of coffee – black, no sugar. I remember when I was young, I would sneak sips of it. Of course, this was from the cup forgotten by her bedside, and left there all day. It was cold and disgusting. Perhaps that’s why I never grew to like the stuff.
Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE the way coffee smells. But it doesn’t taste like it smells, or at least, it rarely does. With a perfect alchemy of sugar and cream, I can get coffee to the point that I like it. But the fuss and memory required for this magic trick were always too much for me to deal with, so I usually passed.
Fast forward to living and working in Miami… well, I’d lived there since I was eight, but most eight-year-olds don’t drink coffee. Unless you live in Miami. See, Miami has this ambrosial concoction called Cuban Coffee. It’s thick, sweet, strong, and delicious. It can turbo-charge your day like Speedy Gonzalez on crack. It’s the real reason Meth never got bad in Miami. There was no need with Cuban Coffee. I got into this particular drug when I worked at Benihana’s National Headquarters, where the other employees made the Classic Error of teaching me how to make Cuban Coffee, including the trick to making the sugar foam on top. I proceeded to repay this favor by making them Cuban coffee. Now, Cuban Coffee is usually served in tiny cups, even smaller than an Espresso. Often larger doses are served (maybe a half of a Styrofoam cup) and given with 3-4 of the little serving containers. This larger dose is called a Colada, and I would make a full Colada for everyone four times a day. Needless to say, the office was like a pinball machine throughout the workday.
After leaving Benihana, my coffee love lagged. Regular coffee just doesn’t compare to Cuban Coffee. And Cuban Coffee wasn’t as readily available at other places – it’s easier to prepare it in a special Cuban Coffee machine. So I gave up on coffee. Occasionally I have a craving for the Cuban Crack… uh, I mean Coffee… and occasionally I would indulge in a sweet iced coffee so filled with sugar, caramel and whipped cream that there was precious little coffee in proportion.
Fast forward to Iceland.
Iceland serves good coffee. Everywhere. Each gas station and rest stop has machines that offer Espresso, Café latte, Swiss Mocha, etc., and their ‘regular’ coffee is strong and very tasty to me. I drank it every morning for the two weeks I was on vacation, and enjoyed it immensely. My husband, a regular coffee drinker, also said the Icelandic offering was very tasty and nicely strong. I wasn’t the only one who noticed the difference, evidently.
Now, back to the humdrum life of reality, I am occasionally craving that Icelandic coffee. It has made me start craving Cuban Coffee as well. I am afraid that my previous resistance to the Fanaticism has been eroded to a Swiss cheese of denial, and all it will take is one crack of the Coffee Hammer to shatter it to tiny pieces of crystalized coffee beans…