Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Coffee Talk

I'm not a coffee drinker. When I was growing up, my sister and I always had to do the dishes after dinner. We hated to clean out the old-fashioned coffee percolator, with its basket of coffee grounds in the top that had been sitting there all day long. Unlike many folks, the aroma of coffee never enticed me—it just reminded me of a daily chore that I didn't enjoy.

Having avowed never to become a coffee drinker, I've saved a lot of money over the years—especially after Starbucks came along, bringing with it the era of expensive coffee. It isn't that I purposely avoid caffeine. It is just that I would typically drink tea or a Diet Mountain Dew instead of hot coffee if I need a “pick-me-up” in the morning.

However, I was intrigued when one of my students showed me an actual coffee tree in my village. There are several in our area, but one in particular (pictured above) is easily accessed along the road near the spring. The appearance of the coffee beans reminded me of cherries.
If you want a “pick-me-up,” you can eat the fruit from the tree. There is a large green seed inside (see below), which is what produces the coffee most of you drink. But there is a thin layer of “meat” around the seed. The meat tastes to me a bit like a hard, thin, grape, but with a wood-like flavor.
I was told that at one time, a lot of coffee was grown on this island. Some folks will still pick and fix it the old-fashioned way, letting the seeds dry in the sun, roasting them, and then grinding them up. If I'm offered a cup of labor-intensive, locally grown, harvested, and processed coffee, I will gladly give it a try.
Just don't expect me to make it a habit.

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