I’ve already discussed cassoulet, for the “cassoulet” component of Cassoulet Café. But we really haven’t discussed the café part of it, have we? Be it the drink or the place. I mean, I’ve touched upon it, put in plugs for French and Italian coffee brands, talked about going to cafes, but I think I’ve really hidden how much coffee rules my life. Oh, it started out innocent enough. Trying to drink coffee at home, as an adolescent trying to feel like an adult, ending up with a disproportionate amount of creamer to coffee, to disguise the coffee-ness so it would be acceptable to a youth’s palate. Then ditching it for a Dr. Pepper.
Then Coffee-Mate came out with Hazelnut creamer. That is when my true coffee addiction began. It camouflaged the Folgers oh-so-well!
Then, as I started getting weary of all that non-dairy sweetness, we started to drink it black and a bit stronger. We moved on up to a metal can of...Yuban! But soon, we declared a ban on Yuban in our house, because we were finding ourselves in the midst of the Starbucks revolution and we adjusted accordingly. We thought that if we slurped down the burnt-tasting brew (and bonus points if we actually liked it), then we were true coffee connoisseurs. And certainly buying the beans and grinding them ourselves confirmed it! No more canned grounds for us, we said.
But then when we moved to France we suddenly felt like Coffee Pre-Schoolers. The coffee there was so strong that it shocked our palates (and guts) the first few mornings and we soon realized we only needed one cup to get going, as opposed to our normal three. After moving back to the States, we continued to make strong puts-hair-on-your-chest java, much to the dismay of our occasional guests. And when friends or family came to visit from France, we’d make requests for loads of Lavazza and Carte Noire to be brought to us.
Then my coffee maker sizzled out. Being the Google Queen that I am (and really, who isn't nowadays?), I had to Google "coffeemakers" and read reviews on oodles of brands and models. As I pored over brewing devices, I came across a site about home roasting coffee beans. Roasting my own coffee? Why would I want to complicate my life more than it already is by adding another step to my coffee drinking regimen?
When FedEx came the next week to deliver my new coffee roaster, I was ecstatic but intimidated. Could someone like little ol’ me really take these green beans resembling lentils and actually come out with a product even close to Starbucks or Tully’s? I wasn’t so sure.
Fast-forward two years. We are officially coffee snobs. After taking that first sip of home roasted brew, Hubby and I looked at each other and could only say “WOW.” No after taste, no burnt flavor, and do we detect…chocolate notes? As home roasters often do, we now refer to that chain as Charbucks. Because, my dear friends, charred coffee water is not a sign of quality, nor does consuming it make one the ultimate coffee connoisseur.
I’ve also added a French Press (ok, I have three of them) to my coffeemaker collection.
We serve up the best coffee in town, heck, in the state! and friends come from far and wide to enjoy a cuppa Chez Nous (at our house).
When my Best Expat Friend was packing to come visit from France, she called to tell me she received my shopping list, but said I forgot to include my normal order for the usual 10 bricks of Carte Noire coffee. “Oh no,” I told her. “We don’t drink that stuff anymore. From now on, you’ll be taking my coffee back to France!”
And she does.
Stay tuned, as I have some exciting things concerning coffee coming up!