I just read about this community blogging exercise in which bloggers post about what they would do or say if they were actually sitting having coffee with their readers. This sounds a bit egotistical in a way, as if “my readers” are this huge audience and I’d be sitting there holding court, when in reality there’d be about three of us around a table. We’re all each other’s readers really so I imagine it’d be a fairly busy and fluid social situation. I don’t actually follow that many blogs as such, I only read individual blog posts that come my way through social media, so I would probably just sit down with whoever seemed interesting, or rather with people who found me interesting enough to sit with.
As for what I’d do… firstly I’d just be grateful to be sitting in a cafe drinking proper coffee, as it’s something I hardly do anymore. I live on the outskirts of quite a small and not very exciting town in the Midlands, and although there is a cafe near my flat I’ve never gone in there. It’s an independent cafe and I’m always slightly scared that the coffee will be bad, and I’ll have to sit there and drink it out of politeness. A couple of miles away in the town centre we have a couple of branches of Costa and a Caffe Nero as well as some more independent places including a street vendor in the marketplace. The street guy looks like his coffee might be excellent but he charges a small fortune, and there’s nowhere to sit unless you want to be intoxicated by cigarettes of the electronic and traditional kind, so I usually end up at Caffe Nero. I like Costa too but Caffe Nero is in a more lively spot than Costa – “lively” around here meaning five or more people might walk by while I drink my latte.
I work from home and have a home-brewed coffee every day. The following is the most pretentious thing I’ve ever written but I’ll write it anyway. Very occasionally I’ll make some proper coffee with a moka pot, usually with 7-8 teaspoons of a medium strength coffee from the Cafe Direct range. Most of the time though I drink instant, albeit decent instant, carefully prepared. First I dissolve two heaped teaspoons of Carte Noire or Douwe Egberts or a new brand I’ve just found called Percol (which sounds like a washing powder, but is very good) in a small amount of off-the-boil water, then microwave a mug two-thirds full with milk for 90 seconds. Then I froth up the milk with a hand-held frother I got for a couple of quid at Range, then pour the coffee into the milk. I take two sugars in coffee and usually I dissolve the sugar with the coffee so that stirring at the end doesn’t dissolve the milk froth, but sometimes it’s good to sprinkle the sugar on top of the froth and watch it melt in and then spoon off the froth-sugar mix and chew it. My recipe is never going to be as flavoursome or luxurious as proper coffee, but for a quick home brew it’s cheap and very cheering.
Thus, a proper coffee in a cafe is a real treat for me. The prices are ridiculous if you consider them in isolation, but as an occasional treat it’s a bargain really when you factor in the pleasure of the coffee and being able to gaze out the window at the world, or even just at the baristas doing their job. I love the smell of coffee and the sound of beans grinding and the knocking of a portafilter being emptied.
So having bored on to you, my audient, about my love of coffee and the different types and techniques, I’d then move onto other topics such as our dreadful government, social media and creative writing. I suspect most of my blog’s audience are people who follow me on Twitter, so we’d already have a lot in common and would chat about the same stuff we do on there. We’d probably end up looking at our phones and swapping silly tweets and YouTube videos or something. Speaking of the latter, here to round off is an appropriate Stewart Lee routine…