How it all started..

November 07, 2011

This is my first blog entry and I have always been meaning to have a blog of my own but am just too lazy to write it. Thanks to Ebean and ROASTe for being my motivation to do this.  I am really looking forward to share my experiences and thoughts in pursuing the coffee nirvana.

I believe that everyone has a unique start in his or her coffee journey. Some used to be Starbuck lovers until they discovered what, as I call it, real coffee is and then starts making exceptional coffee at home. For some people, coffee is a nostalgic memory where their parents/grandparents would brew a cup every Sunday morning and the aromas reminded them of those times. Some were already a coffee drinker but just stumbled upon coffee enthusiasts forum and begin to explore and getting more serious about their coffee. Some people just like coffee since forever and they don’t even recall how it even begins.

A short intro about myself : I come from a faraway country named Malaysia but am currently a college student in the Penn State University, majoring in Biotechnology. I bet most of you will probably be scratching your head "What?Where's Malaysia?" ...and start looking for a map. Don't worry, you're not alone. =P  It’s probably not as glamour than saying you’re an Italian or French, but Malaysia is still a lovely place where I grew up with my fondest memories. As a side note, Malaysia really does have one of the best various ethnic foods so far in my experience. I took that for granted until I came here. Though I must admit, the coffee in the States is much better than in my hometown, where fresh beans were never even in sight. Haha.

Where Malaysia is on the map 

Above Picture: Where Malaysia is on the world map

Back in my country, coffee culture is pretty ubiquitous and in fact, it is a drink most people would have before they start their day. In our country, coffee is called “Kopi” and it’s actually a different drink altogether than what we have in the States. A typical Kopi consists of 1-2 big teaspoonful of sweet condensed milk, with brewed coffee filtered by something looks very similar to a stocking. The coffee, as you might guess, are actually preground coffee and very stale. But when paired with the condensed milk and sugars, it's a pretty palateable drink. I wouldn't call it the real coffee, but Kopi. Suffice to say, that also explains why I was never a coffee lover before this.

 

  

Above Picture: That's how a typical Kopi looks like, thick layer of sweet condensed milk hidden underneath, waiting to be stirred

So, fast forward to one year ago, I discovered "Latte art" on the youtube videos and have been mesmerized by how beautiful the coffee pouring arts are. I must find out how to go about creating those beautiful art that I saw. There, I spent days of reading, just to get closer to the elusive Latte. Little did I know, I unravel a Pandora box that is so powerful that it literally sucked me in.  My love for coffee has only been growing since then. My first 'coffee setup' was actually a $3 frother and instant coffee. Well, you probably know how it all ended. Frothy milk with bitter coffee, but never art. "Why my coffee is tar black but those on videos are chocolate brown?Why their foamed milk is so creamy but mine's fluffy?" 

Above Picture: 'cappuccino' starbuck style? missing art ;-(

From Mr Coffee & starbucks

Above Picture: My early days production of 'art' from Mr Coffee 

Then I started stretching my budget slightly to a Walmart Mr. Coffee and Starbucks preground coffee. Still weak, I know. But at that time, I was pretty satisfied with the coffee foam “art” that I created, and thought that was the end of it. Thinking back, those preground Starbucks coffee was really awfully awful. And of course, the Mr. Coffee was something that I purchased just to see if latte is before I dump more pocket money into it. Then, I did more researches; only found out that the cheapest decent espresso machines starts from about $100 and you need a grinder to go with it. "Why can't preground coffe works?Aren't they the same??Just coffee anyway" As a poor student and a beginner in espresso journey, I looked at used Gaggias (as they were the recommended machine within my budget) and hunted in Ebay for weeks. In the end, I managed to snap a used Gaggia Carezza in a pretty good shape. Along with a new Capresso Infinity grinder and accessories, it all cost me about $200. And mind you, that started from a budget a little as $5.  I don’t even know how I ended up with the current setup of vintage Olympia Cremina and Mazzer Major. That’s really scary, isn’t it? But to tell the truth, I am still very enjoying it and did not regret a bit.

Well, that’s where I am now. How did yours start?



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