Coffee: the rare friend

“Brewed from beans freshly roasted and ground, good coffee is as transient and enchanting as its own steam or the company of an elderly friend, all the more brilliant and wise because he or she is aware of mortal limits. A perfect cup is much less if it has to stand five minutes during an unexpected telephone call. Like a good joke or love-making, coffee easily loses its momentum and its character in the face of delay or interruption.

So much a pleasure of the moment, coffee is very slow to arrive. Before reaching our kitchen, it has travelled great distances, through jungles, tropical cities, port towns and on slow ocean voyages. Even after being unloaded in our country, it may linger around piers and warehouses, sometimes for months, before settling in with an understanding roaster.

This is good coffee we’re thinking about, the rare friend.” 

Tim Castle, Taking a Chance on Coffee, The Journal of Gastronomy, 1:3 (1985)

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