I had my first espresso more than ten years ago when I waiting at a train station in Rome before making a long journey to Vienna. Little did I know then that it would turn into a lifelong love of coffee.
To some extent, my coffee history reflects certain stages or progress in my life.
My first cup of coffee was a black one from dai pai dong. Back then I was a primary school pupil, and near my home there were a few dai pai dongs at Cheung Sha Street in Mongkok.
Whenever I had a little money I would normally order a toast with condensed milk and a hot Ovaltine.
But a waiter once brought me black coffee by mistake. I knew it was not my order. However, since the waiter had moved away and was busy with other customers, I naughtily stole a quick sip before he came back for it.
Wow, the liquid was so horribly bitter! I couldn’t help pondering how people can like it in the first place.
In hindsight, I knew that I should have added sugar, and it also dawned on me that bitterness is not quite a big deal at all.
My first tasty coffee was from a sophisticated coffee shop in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It was also my first time visiting a specialty coffee shop.
The way the owner brewed the drink was very professional and impressive. Accompanied by my girlfriend, I found everything wondrously perfect.
In the past few years, I have slowly evolved from being a customer of entities such as Starbucks and Pacific Coffee to becoming a home-brewer using the illy capsule coffee machine.
I have become strongly addicted to the drink and the art of brewing.
During another trip to Shinjuku, I was drawn to a coffee cookware shop and picked up a traditional Italian aluminum-made coffee pot, some premium charcoal roasted beans and blue mountain coffee beans.
I carefully ground the beans and cooked them so well that capsule coffee is no longer my top favorite. It was my first homemade coffee made with a pot from renowned Italian brand Bialetti.
I used to think such “evolution” from a beginner to a self-acclaimed professor would help me show off. But now I feel that it is all about treating myself nicer and better.
Recently I went to Sicily and found a mini-coffee pot at a Bialetti store at Sicilia Outlet Village. The pot is so small that it can only handle a cup of espresso. Since it was priced at just 14 euros, I bought one as my newfound toy.
Compared to the traditional coffee pots, this mini-pot cannot make foamy coffee. But the advantage is that it is convenient. A delicate process is all that I am seeking.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 2.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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