Sunday, August 1
Cappuccino with Nutmeg
I love coffee. I love French roast, Italian espresso, Portuguese cafe pingado, and most of all a simple cappuccino with a few shakes of nutmeg. The only coffees I don't like are Arabica and Sumatran - too acidic. I initially thought I was going to write about the fact that coffee originated in Brazil and that thanks to Vasco da Gama, many around the world now enjoy that smell of the freshly roasted bean. I was wrong. It actually originated from the hills of Ethiopia and Arabian kings and noblemen were the ones who established it as a social drink. Arab traders then brought it to Italy, and the rest is history.
Coffee formed an integral part of our daily structure in Singapore. At 4pm everyday, our cook, Solai, would come round checking for coffee orders. Coffee was fresh milk, boiled, frothed using the old teh-tarek method of pouring from one cup into another a few times, with a good dose of Bru coffee powder. My readers will be shocked to find that our family in Singapore drank (and still drink...) instant coffee. BUT, Bru coffee was no ordinary instant coffee! It had chicory in it. According to Google, chicory was historically a cheap substitute for coffee in the olden times... Great, not only did we drink instant coffee, we drank cheap instant coffee! Anyway, my school friends didn't seem to notice, and many an evening would find a group of us gathered around our dining table drinking Bru coffee, known as Solai's coffee those days.
I left Singapore for the UK when I was 18. I came back home most holidays and one of my favorite past times was hanging out at Suzuki Coffee House in Centre Point with my best friend, Beans. This was back in the day before Starbucks, before it was cool to drink coffee, and when Takashimaya was only a green plot of land next to the Mandarin. We would lounge around Suzuki Coffee for hours on end, each drinking three cups at least, and analyzing the intricacies of our love lives....or, in my case, the severe lack of it! Beans was always more adventurous but I would order the same thing every time - Cafe Mexicana, which was essentially a cuppuccino with nutmeg.
Beans and I were classmates together at RJC. We were so similar, yet so different. We were both Indian girls who had always been the minority at school, both tall, and both had an affinity for maths. She had mad curly hair, mine was straight, and she was light skinned and I was dark. We were like yin and yang and were always together. Our friendship was filled with fun - secret giggles about the guys we liked and catty eye rolls toward the girls we didn't. Our relationship was never competitive but always supportive. It was through my friendship with Beans that I learned how friendships can be true, loyal and actually enlightening. I have made many wonderful friendships with women since then, and all have been based on the Beans model of true friendship.
Beans, miss you! Looking forward to our next cup of coffee together, whenever or wherever that may be.