Posts Tagged ‘Coffee’

Curmudgeon re-visited.

May 31, 2014

croissants

croissants

The latest fad seems to be people ordering take-away lattes. Can you believe it? Surely a sign of a society in deep trouble or decay. I remember decades ago when the freshly brewed coffee started to make inroads in Australia. New grounds had to be fought over, tooth and nail. Eyebrows were raised and there were vehement protests from the African Violet Society and the Cricket Board. Sign were paraded in front of Parliament house. “No European Habits here, please!” The coffee lounge was born. I think the first one was near the brothel area around Crown Street in Surrey Hills called ‘Reggio’s. Lonely swarthy European men were seen quietly sipping an espresso contemplating their next move around the corner. Was it 1957/58?. It was frowned upon by many Sydney siders, especially its proximity to a large maternity hospital.

I do remember a Balmain woman some years later when coffee drinking had taken to the footpaths, bitterly complaining, “Look at those people, sitting around, not DOING anything”. ‘Doing things’ was seen as obligatory to a successful life. The fact that all good art is derived from deep and insightful espresso sipping was a total anathema to a fruitful life in the suburbs. Own deposits for own block of land had to be saved for or payments on the B/W telly had to be met. The brick veneer was beckoning. That’s what life was about then.

It was an uphill battle and we know now that since its reluctant acceptance it now has overtaken all in its paths especially footpaths. A cultural tsunami indeed. But going back to the ‘take away latte’ I feel it is taking a dangerous turn. Why would one join those crowds of sipping on the go. It seems now impossible to cross a road for many without risking total dehydration. I saw a man sipping enthusiastically from a bottle of Fanta drink almost walking in front of a fully laden cement truck. I looked up, but the driver was also sipping from a bottle. What is going on?

It is sacrilege to drink coffee while walking. Surely sitting down with friends in great excitement, animation, even exultation or in reflective contemplation is what coffee is about. Coffee demands that of us. What would the Brazilians make of it, or indeed the Colombians?

You are nothing but a Latte Sipper.

October 20, 2012

You are nothing but a Latte Sipper

March 4, 2011

 

Coffee

The world even in its normal state and without dire future climate changes is on a roll: floods, earthquakes, fires, airports are frozen, planes can’t take off, cars are bobbing about in raging torrents, people clinging to trees and revolutions are toppling tyrants. All this is happening almost as a daily event. No sooner do we climb out of our bed, switch on the telly, and it starts again. Some sparkling ABC journalist is interviewing either a bearded climate expert or a shiny faced business expert, both telling us the world is getting better or getting far worse. The weather girl isn’t all that optimistic either: storms in the Illawarrah, hurricanes are reforming and there is a map where there are little zig zags or windy signals flashing ominously. Nervously we search for weather warnings on the net. El Nina is going berserk.

Politically, we are divided not just by poor or rich, the left or right, the moderately accepting or the fanatically opposing: No the criteria for the good or bad for any of us now depends totally on our preferred beverage. The battle lines are now drawn on what might be found at the bottom of our beloved Wedgewood beaker or the Royal Leerdam wine glass.

The masked shaman poring over the bleached and knuckled bones of our coffee dregs or corks, the veiled future teller at her tea leaves. All now are studiously peering into the remaining dregs of our daily imbibement.  This latest has now turned us into a divided nation, not based on just political leanings as in the past. All of a sudden we are judged by our liquid habits.

How did this ever come about? When did it all start? Can’t we just carry on without the lament of; “you are nothing but a latte sipper?”  Or, the war cry from the others, the tea drinking brigade, shouting from roof tops, “if it aint broke don’t fix it.” Only as little as two years ago it was ‘chardonnay’ drinking that carried the wrath of the right. This issue has become blurred where now both sides, including even Queenslanders, accuse each other of belonging to the Chardonnay set, irrespective of left or right..One would not want to stand in the shoes of the sommelier trying to predict future trends in wine consumption.

Does this coffee drinking somehow point to a form of unruly benevolence bordering on socialism that the knee sock wearers& tea drinkers are so suspicious of? Does latte sipping encourage riotous behavior?

Years ago, someone remarked rather disdainfully,” Who are all those people sitting around drinking espresso?” “Haven’t they got something better to do?” This coincided when more and more shopkeepers started to display their wares spilling out on the footpaths. They were truly revolutionary times. Local councils were at their wits end trying to figure out the laws governing the public use of footpaths versus shopkeepers trying to make a quid. At first, only moderate and narrow bits of footpaths were allowed to occupy merchant’s wares. When this did not cause any breakdown of society or rioting pedestrians, more of the footpaths were given over to boxes of tomatoes, buckets of flowers and even hardware, including stepladders, wheel barrows. And so, the coffee drinking on the footpath was born.

These were also the times when dogs were still allowed to generously deposit their wares on the footpaths as well. It wasn’t uncommon to see brown foot-marks leading to the news agency on a Saturday morning.

Ah, they were such easy going times. Tolerance and community sharing and caring were still the norm.

Those walks to the news agency combined with the Vietnamese croissant shop are becoming a thing of the past. The piles of papers spilling out from News agency are becoming thinner. Instead, the tapping on our laptops in the solitary confinement of our home office are becoming the norm, and sadly without those flakey croissants.

But, the one thing that is not getting less and much to the chagrin of many still, is our relentless latte sipping. History tells us that this humble bean’s first entry into Australia were with those brave Afghans that helped Australia establish its first overland telegraphy between Adelaide and Darwin back in 1870’s. Ah, how they coped with heat and dust, the dark brew giving sustenance in the void of the outback desert.

It remains for historian to fill in the puzzle how this beverage got lost and how tea sipping became the norm. Alright, I concede that the vile habit of ‘Instant Coffee’ ingratiated itself just after the war. Real coffee was lost and when it reappeared it would be seen as something related to sub-ordinance or the opposite, subservience.  Communism was hinted at during the Menzies period, and to be feared. But soon after, the Reffos from the Balkans and Hungary were, reintroducing it, disturbing the peace of afternoons with tea and the munching of lovely 1916 invention of the SAOs during Bingo.

Here and there in Sydney’s underworld regions of inner-west and Palmer Street the coffee drinking became more and more brazen. Now, some sixty years later, coffee has become mainstream. Yet, pockets of resistance are still around. We must remain vigilant.

Resist the shout; stand up ever proud; “we are the Latte sippers.”

You are nothing but a Latte Sipper

March 4, 2011

 

Coffee

The world even in its normal state and without dire future climate changes is on a roll: floods, earthquakes, fires, airports are frozen, planes can’t take off, cars are bobbing about in raging torrents, people clinging to trees and revolutions are toppling tyrants. All this is happening almost as a daily event. No sooner do we climb out of our bed, switch on the telly, and it starts again. Some sparkling ABC journalist is interviewing either a bearded climate expert or a shiny faced business expert, both telling us the world is getting better or getting far worse. The weather girl isn’t all that optimistic either: storms in the Illawarrah, hurricanes are reforming and there is a map where there are little zig zags or windy signals flashing ominously. Nervously we search for weather warnings on the net. El Nina is going berserk.

Politically, we are divided not just by poor or rich, the left or right, the moderately accepting or the fanatically opposing: No the criteria for the good or bad for any of us now depends totally on our preferred beverage. The battle lines are now drawn on what might be found at the bottom of our beloved Wedgewood beaker or the Royal Leerdam wine glass.

The masked shaman poring over the bleached and knuckled bones of our coffee dregs or corks, the veiled future teller at her tea leaves. All now are studiously peering into the remaining dregs of our daily imbibement.  This latest has now turned us into a divided nation, not based on just political leanings as in the past. All of a sudden we are judged by our liquid habits.

How did this ever come about? When did it all start? Can’t we just carry on without the lament of; “you are nothing but a latte sipper?”  Or, the war cry from the others, the tea drinking brigade, shouting from roof tops, “if it aint broke don’t fix it.” Only as little as two years ago it was ‘chardonnay’ drinking that carried the wrath of the right. This issue has become blurred where now both sides, including even Queenslanders, accuse each other of belonging to the Chardonnay set, irrespective of left or right..One would not want to stand in the shoes of the sommelier trying to predict future trends in wine consumption.

Does this coffee drinking somehow point to a form of unruly benevolence bordering on socialism that the knee sock wearers& tea drinkers are so suspicious of? Does latte sipping encourage riotous behavior?

 Years ago, someone remarked rather disdainfully,” Who are all those people sitting around drinking espresso?” “Haven’t they got something better to do?” This coincided when more and more shopkeepers started to display their wares spilling out on the footpaths. They were truly revolutionary times. Local councils were at their wits end trying to figure out the laws governing the public use of footpaths versus shopkeepers trying to make a quid. At first, only moderate and narrow bits of footpaths were allowed to occupy merchant’s wares. When this did not cause any breakdown of society or rioting pedestrians, more of the footpaths were given over to boxes of tomatoes, buckets of flowers and even hardware, including stepladders, wheel barrows. And so, the coffee drinking on the footpath was born.

These were also the times when dogs were still allowed to generously deposit their wares on the footpaths as well. It wasn’t uncommon to see brown foot-marks leading to the news agency on a Saturday morning.

Ah, they were such easy going times. Tolerance and community sharing and caring were still the norm.

Those walks to the news agency combined with the Vietnamese croissant shop are becoming a thing of the past. The piles of papers spilling out from News agency are becoming thinner. Instead, the tapping on our laptops in the solitary confinement of our home office are becoming the norm, and sadly without those flakey croissants.

But, the one thing that is not getting less and much to the chagrin of many still, is our relentless latte sipping. History tells us that this humble bean’s first entry into Australia were with those brave Afghans that helped Australia establish its first overland telegraphy between Adelaide and Darwin back in 1870’s. Ah, how they coped with heat and dust, the dark brew giving sustenance in the void of the outback desert.

It remains for historian to fill in the puzzle how this beverage got lost and how tea sipping became the norm. Alright, I concede that the vile habit of ‘Instant Coffee’ ingratiated itself just after the war. Real coffee was lost and when it reappeared it would be seen as something related to sub-ordinance or the opposite, subservience.  Communism was hinted at during the Menzies period, and to be feared. But soon after, the Reffos from the Balkans and Hungary were, reintroducing it, disturbing the peace of afternoons with tea and the munching of lovely 1916 invention of the SAOs during Bingo.

 Here and there in Sydney’s underworld regions of inner-west and Palmer Street the coffee drinking became more and more brazen. Now, some sixty years later, coffee has become mainstream. Yet, pockets of resistance are still around. We must remain vigilant.

Resist the shout; stand up ever proud; “we are the Latte sippers.”

Coffee Grinder and Washing Machine

September 23, 2010

Coffee Grinder and Washing MachinePosted on September 23, 2010 by gerard oosterman

My mum’s only consession to modernity prior to our arrival here in 1956 was a coffee bean grinder and one of the earliest washing machines imaginable. The coffee grinder was bolted onto the wall and was operated by turning a small handle. The ground coffee ended up in square glass container which needed to be pulled away from the grinder when full. Instant coffee was unheard off. Even if it had been available, no normal Dutchman would be seen dead drinking it. Forty three beans per cup! Yuk

The washing machine was far more complicated. It had a large electric motor which would drive the propeller inside the wooden oak barrel which was the heart of the machine. Backwards and forwards it would grunt and rumble, for hours on end in Revesby. My parents had shipped the washing machine over! A good move, most people were still using boilers and mangles. The barrel was made of oak slats and held together with steel bands. Very much like the wine barrels. Above this oak barrel was the wringer. It was also operated electrically and belt driven. You still had to feed in the items but the rollers would do the rolling and wringing. A release mechanism  was on top in case your tie would get picked up by the wringer strangling you to death. The water could only be put into this machine by bucket and emptying was in the same manner. 

All the above reminiscing after yet  another trip to Aldi. They have a never-ending stream of electric gadgets, week in week out. The sort of gadgets that are not hand-held but in need of bench space and electrical power points. Where do people find the space for; mixers, water coolers, food processors, milk shakers, pop-corn poppers, toasters, chainsaw sharpeners,waffle irons,electric knives, pancake makers,salami slicers, yoghurt makers, bread makers?

It is a far cry from just a coffee grinder.