Over the years, I’ve had a weird relationship with coffee.
In college, I was practically addicted to caramel macchiatos — I’d drink one or two to help me get through chem work with my lab partners — until I quite cold-turkey for Lent one year. After that, I didn’t touch the stuff for ages, but just the smell of it was enough to make me happy. There’s a coffee shop in Market Square back home in Pittsburgh that I just love to walk into, because as soon as you open the front door you’re surrounded by the aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans. Heaven.
These days I mostly drink hot tea, but lately I’ve been occasionally drinking iced coffee to help me navigate particularly trying days at work, and on Thursdays I detour past Starbucks on my way to the game shop where my Dungeons and Dragons group meets. But I’m the first to admit that I have no interest in the stuff if it’s not sweet and creamy — I can’t drink it black.
Last weekend, the Mister and I were in Stamford, CT for ConnCon, a gathering of like-minded nerds who hung out and played tabletop games all weekend. We had a blast, but by Sunday evening the late nights and early mornings had caught up with me. (Sure, participating in a mass battle with eight other tables of adventurers is a great idea, but why does it have to start at 8am Sunday morning?!) On our way home we stopped for dinner at our favorite local phở restaurant, and on an impulse I ordered a Vietnamese coffee.
Imagine my delight when, instead of a plain ceramic mug, I was served a clear glass with a layer of cream topped by a layer of freshly brewed coffee. On top of the glass was a metal brewing chamber, and a metal teapot of hot water accompanied this setup.
I was pretty thoroughly entranced by the brewing process, and entertained myself fairly well by refilling the brewing filter with water, watching the coffee drip into the glass, and stirring the cream into the coffee until our meals came.
And from my first sips, I was in love. The coffee was strong and creamy and hot and sweet, and practically perfect. I enjoyed it so much that I even convinced the Mister, who usually loathes even the smell off coffee, to try it. He was, understandably, not a fan, but did admit that it was less awful than other coffee he’s tried. (A ringing endorsement, right?)
Now I’m torn between attempting how to make my own Vietnamese-style coffee at home (because when you can buy the metal filter on Amazon for $6, how can you not be tempted?) or saving it as a special treat on nights we go out. Either way, it has me thinking that maybe I need to broaden my coffee horizons and try something new a little more frequently.