Musings on Lockdown and coffee

Funny what lockdown reveals you really miss isn’t it?

Turns out coffee in cafes is my number 1. Not that I went all that often; perhaps once or twice a month. I’d enjoy it chatting with a friend and I’m happy on my own too.

I learned (as I supposed JK Rowling did) that I can work really well in a cafe, surrounded by the gentle hubub, while sipping cappuccino and eating a handful of nuts. I don’t need to know anyone. I might smile, say hello or connect over a few shared pleasantries – or not.

People need people and there’s something comforting about their very presence.

So, missing the coffee, in the end I got out my (30 year old) espresso machine. It takes ground coffee not the environmentally unfriendly pods. So far, so good. But as I’m reminded every time I use it, when it comes to mountains of frothed milk, sadly, I lack the knack.

Then this month, my excitement was huge when I noticed a cafe open in town. I went in, had a coffee and thanked them for being there and being open. I sat reading and watching the world go by outside.

Why is it so insanely relaxing??? The tricky part came afterwards when I wanted to pay – they were doing cash only! Now I love to use cash most of the time but with almost everywhere asking for contactless these last weeks, I’ve stopped carrying my purse and I didn’t have a single penny with me! I was mortified as I walked down the street to the cashpoint to bring back some cash.

The following week I met a friend in department store rooftop cafe – a lovely spacious, airy place. It was the highlight of my week and top news point when I spoke to family. A huge, exciting happening in a restricted shadow-life.

Anyway I still haven’t had a really great coffee because the place I most like to go for that still isn’t open. I could go somewhere with a push-button machine but, to misquote Douglas Adams, they invariably produce something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee. I won’t use disposable cups – they’re not sustainable and it’s impossible to get a decent cappuccino in one because of the size and shape. Back at home my attempts to foam milk continue to be dismal. But in any case, the coffee isn’t really the point. It’s the whole experience – it’s having coffee with people around. And that’s what life is all about.

Top tip: Hurray for Cafes – support your local