During a rigorous semester (Spring 2002) that comprised over seventy two submissions over three and a half months strong black coffee seemed (and later proved )to be the only element that could rob me from my necessary pastime. I was in Hawaii. Hawaii is the home of KONA coffee. Since my earnings were limited, I had to learn to brew on a nine-dollar Procter Silex drip coffee maker. And because of the same reason I bought the economical brands: Yuban, MJB, Don Frisco and Hill Brothers. The day of paycheck receipt was different though. Specialty coffee from Peet’s, Starbucks, Seattle’s best all founds its way to the never say die shopping cart.
During those days, I was deeply moved by two basic forms of innovations in the disk drive industry. They are component-based innovations and architectural based innovations. The former was immensely experimented in terms of brewing coffee. Arabica VS Robusta, Indonesian VS South American, Dark Roasted VS Mild Roasted…there was no end to it. Buying an espresso maker or a Bodum French Press (for architectural innovations) was out of question for someone like me who was then living out of a twenty hour per week job as a library assistant.
I came back to Indian in March 2004. I wanted to bring some specialty coffee from Hawaii but my luggage was getting heavier so I had to return them to the stores. After coming back, I found brewing coffee was a real challenge. Ground coffee sold in Café Cofee Day (Dark Foret, Arabica) was grinded like talcum powder and the roast was not dark enough. The same held true for Barista. The shopping malls sold drip coffee maker but paper coffee filters were not available. The salesmen insisted on me using tissue papers but that imparts its smell on the coffee. After getting a decent job, I bought an Indian Coffee Press from Café Cofee Day and a French Press from Barista. While the small pores in the Indian Press was jamming the flow of the liquid, with French Press the sediments came straight to the cup. So I had to increase the size of the pores in one and use a second sieve in the other. So now when I need a clear cup of coffee I use the Indian Press (which takes longer) and when I need a very strong coffee I use the French Press.
Although the coffee never tasted like the ones I had in Hawaii, I started enjoying my efforts and moreover the company I had to coffee. The discussions ranging from Politics to game theory, from personal choices to diffusions of IT innovations and sometimes the sheer silence added flavor to the cups in Calcutta. Whether brewed by Barista, CCD or simply by me, coffee in Calcutta attained sweetness on its own.
My friends and acquaintances when travel keep sending me Startbucks on occasions and so I don’t miss the dark roasted full bodies coffee. Sadly, now my bags are getting packed and I will leave once again to pursue my ambition leaving my dreams and life back to the city of Joy. But one thing I know for sure I won’t quest for the sweetness of coffee in Calcutta. For I know, that will be a quest in vain.