In Strasbourg, on the border with France, there is a café that has existed since 1884. High on the wall above all the baristas is the inscription: “My Grandfather was a roaster”.
My grandfather was a roaster.
It was at the beginning of my coffee obsession, and I was a bit overwhelmed with jealousy. Why wasn’t it my grandpa a coffee roaster instead of an avocado farmer (sorry Grandpa) or a coffee roaster instead of a dairy farmer (sorry Pa). I kind of wanted a reason for my late addiction, or the feeling that there was a glamorous family business in my blood – having no desire to be a mechanic (sorry Dad).
I put the photo of this coffee wall on Facebook, because that’s what I did with everything 10 years ago, then my uncle in Australia wrote under it: “Actually you can do better than that. Your great-great-grandfather ran a café in London long before it was fashionable.
I forgot the decade, or the century, or the specifics, but I haven’t forgotten the spring it put in my step – or the way I used it to mostly justify the purchase of an extremely extravagant espresso machine in Germany. It’s worth it.
I won’t claim that’s what got me into latte art (I was already immersed in it) but I liked to think that was why the coffee was completely soothing to me, a bit of caffeine-induced zen. And back when I was a cybersecurity reporter, on deadline afternoons, I’d stop at Loyal to buy my third coffee to treat my second headache, and my youngest child would say, “You can do that ! You could stop being a journalist and become a COFFEE MAKER!”
He was more impressed with his visions of free croissants than my free-pouring skills, of course, but on days when 18 things go wrong and newspaper work seems very stressful, the two-second fantasy still crosses my mind. ‘mind : You could stop being a journalist and become a COFFEE MAN!
After all, it’s a family affair.
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