Thursday, 11 November 2010
The 10th Level of Hell
What vexes me is not their dominance on the high street where one can purchase 17 different flavours in 13 different sizes (starting at large - there is no regular), frozen, whipped or sprinkled in fairy dust. It is not the pretentious nature of coffee snobbery which dictates that said large coffee must in fact be called a "grande". It's not even their honking breath. No, the combination of all that is wrong with them manifests itself in their preparation of a cup of coffee at a communal kitchen.
Why, oh why is it necessary to fill the sugar bowl/tin/shoe/receptacle with instant coffee grounds to create a coffee/sugar mix of a ratio of roughly 1:1?
When I make a cup of tea, I pour hot water into a mug into which I have placed a tea bag (we shall assume I have no friends and therefore have no need to make a pot - sad but true). I let it brew for a time, perhaps pass the time of day with a colleague or nearby indoor plant. I then add some milk and some sugar. Sometimes I take the tea bag out first, sometimes between the two additions, sometimes after both. Often I sugar before I milk. There are many ways to skin this particular cat - variety, after all, is the spice of life. Every now and again, to really put the cat amongst the pigeons, I shall pre-milk and then add the tea bag, hot water and sugar after.
Not once, though, have I lifted my spoon from the cup (or mug), and whilst retrieving sugar, thrown my tea bag into the sugar bowl. It never crossed my mind as something I might like to do. It certainly never seemed sensible, practical or polite. Yet day in, day out, my coffee drinking comrade (for we are all in this together) does exactly that with his coffee. He lifts the spoon out. A cursory glance confirms that the hot water has not removed all of the coffee grounds from the spoon. He (or she) then plunges the spoon into the sugar as a handy way of getting rid of those pesky coffee grounds. Sometimes the abandoned gounds are dry, sometimes moist, but always, they are left in the sugar.
I don't want coffee in my tea. I wouldn't expect a coffee drinker would want tea in his coffee. That's one of the many reasons why I don't throw random crap in the sugar bowl. Is it too much to expect coffee drinkers to act the same?
Dante was wrong. Below the wrathful and the violent, below heretics and fraudsters, below even traitors is a special 10th level of hell. It's for coffee drinkers.