I’m now nine months into my Year in Coffee, my caffeine-fuelled photo diary started for my own amusement, but fast-becoming a source of entertainment for anyone sipping in the vicinity of the crazy redhead pointing her phone at her coffee.
The rules, my rules, made up after a particularly potent double espresso with thick crema, were very simple. During 2010 I would photograph coffee wherever I drank it, using only my camera phone. Then, at the end of the year, they’d be brought together in a photo mosaic to adorn the newly-decorated walls of the hallway and stairs – I knew it would take that long to get around to thinking about it, let alone pick up a paintbrush.
Since I last blogged about this three months ago, the coffee trail has crossed the North Sea, navigated the Netherlands and Germany to arrive in Italy, where I was not disappointed with expectations that it would be the home of good coffee. Then back via France and forgettable M1 service stations where my expectations were low, so I wasn’t disappointed.
I’ve drunk coffee on my own, with friends and family and with strangers. tasting the good, bad and undrinkable. In Germany the waitress spotted me taking a photo. ‘You’re photographing my cappuccino?’. “Yes, it’s the best coffee I’ve had in Germany’ I replied in as much German as I could muster.’ I didn’t tell her it was the only coffee I’d had in Germany.
Italy didn’t disappoint, except for the Pocket Espresso to Go, which really was an abomination and an insult to coffee. Aimed at motorists who don’t have time to queue at the coffee stall, Pocket Espresso sits next to the chewing gum and weirdly-flavoured artichoke mints near the petrol station checkouts. Sold in packs of three so you can try one and throw the rest away, it’s coffee-coloured liquid in a small capsule drunk through a tiny straw. My taste buds are still recovering.
It’s not always about the coffee, often it’s about the places where it’s enjoyed, or at least endured. Sadly at the end of this nine months I drank my last coffee with colleagues at NHS East Midlands as my contract there finished.
So with three months to go, I’m not sure where I’ll be drinking coffee and who, but one thing’s for sure, I’ll be knocking back the espressos, flat whites, lattes and occasional instant coffee and recording them with my handy phone.
Mosaic produced with Andrea Mosaic