We at hunter’s bohemia have been on an extended and much needed post-holiday hiatus. Living as nomads in order to refurbish our home and workspace while preparing for the arrival of a new hunter’s tribe member, we felt it essential to take some time to rest and momentarily slow things down.
But we’re back to pick up where we left off and are excited to re-connect with each of you. The last post saw us celebrating our – now eldest – son’s first birthday and you can catch up here.
On the day I prepared Lucas’ favourite treat of Cuban sandwiches and smoothies, his penchant for mustard and pickles most definitely inherited from me. Alongside this, as an adult addition to the festivities and a final adieu to the warmer weather, I wanted to prepare a batch of cold-brew coffee.
Ordinarily I prefer a robust roast with a fragrance that floods the senses and a pour that makes the sleepless nights of motherhood a mere memory. With cold brew coffee, a much lighter roast is required to eliminate any bitterness from the end product. With an ever-increasing number of variations I was looking for a hands-on, nose-in selection process to source the perfect flavour.
Purchasing from an independent specialist is an unparalleled experience. Our local purveyor has nearly 130 years of knowledge behind them and a firm reputation within the tea and coffee trade. Tangible echoes of their legacy are everywhere from the sepia memories that adorn the walls to the beans rattling through hammered brass, antique funnels.
The incredibly well-informed Lisa shook the oversized tins that house the beans before opening each one and allowing the scent to waft over me. Immersing yourself nose-first in unmistakably different scents is an invigorating and gratifying process.
Leaving with the promise to let her know how the brew turned out, I was struck by a deep sense of fulfilment. What would normally have been a simple but silent, supermarket transaction had become a uplifting and social experience. A face to face human interaction that is so often forgotten amidst the convenience of fast, time-greedy living.
That’s the interesting thing about coffee. Just as tea in its wake, the preparation of coffee has adopted a ceremonial approach and with it a sense of community. As the grounds bloom so too does the conversation. It divides and unites, sparks debate and encourages evolution and development.
Drift magazine – currently on its fourth edition – is a stunning tribute to this very thing. Each instalment is a visual exploration of one chosen destination, a beautiful travel guide with a penchant for coffee. It transcends the present day, exploring the heritage of coffee culture within a city – its arrival and evolution – seeking out connections with the people who are its driving force, initiating conversation and telling their stories. The featured imagery is breath-taking; limited runs of prints are available for purchase, cementing the feeling that this is not just a magazine, it’s not just coffee … it’s art.
It speaks volumes that a publication about coffee retailing at around $24 is sold out consistently across the globe. There is a feeling of union when you pore over its pages. Of belonging. A connection with strangers on the other side of the world, a cross-continental community. The mutual execution of such a simple, everyday routine and the passion behind it binds us. Drift and the multitude of online coffee musings appearing all over the blogosphere fuel the notion that you could walk into any city, any time, anywhere and find somewhere that feels like home.
So I delved into that community, gleaning tips from dozens of online sources as well as suggestions from several of my favourite local baristas. Each one a passionate advocate of their own method and delighted to pass on their knowledge to an amateur like me.
I soaked, stirred, stewed and stared impatiently as the entire kitchen slowly filled with that enticing aroma. Twenty-four impatient hours later, with no specialist equipment I grabbed whatever was on hand to drain the thickly-scented grounds, namely a Chemex and a clean muslin. A therapeutically messy exercise that served to build my anticipation and left me with the most amazing golden, ombre-stained cloth.
Coffee, art. Art, coffee. An increasingly subtle merging.
On a sunny, mid-Autumn afternoon in my own little pocket of the globe I smiled to myself as I ladled out my first successful batch of cold brew. Knowing that I was serving a careful concoction of the finest, locally sourced ingredients mixed with advice from the worldwide community and put together by own hands made it feel all that more soulful. And what is coffee without a little soul or ceremony?