My wall clock switched to 10:00 and I waited eagerly for someone to swing by my office, cup in hand and a big grin. We walked down the corridor, tapped lightly on each door and were greeted with a nod and a smile. We made our way upstairs, selected what drinks we wanted and waited on the couch as the friendly staff made our coffee. It was a great little ritual and it was often a welcome break (and as a bonus we didn’t pay a thing).
Wanting to be a grown up, I upgraded my hot chocolate to a mocha then later discovered hazelnut lattes. That’s all I drank for two years, super sweet and super milky coffee. But in October 2009, I went home mid morning, collapsed on the couch and couldn’t move. I had a throbbing migraine and felt completely exhausted. I ended up in hospital. The result was dehydration. I went home that night and rested for a week. After that I came to the conclusion that coffee was to blame. So I stopped drinking coffee because I decided it was making me feel sick (instead of the fact I would have a cup on an empty stomach, work until mid morning and simply forget to eat).
Around the same time Decaf Sucks was born and I was determined to be the top girl contributor so I started drinking decaf and chai lattes. Fast forward to 2012 when we walked into an awesome Hong Kong cafe filled with all sorts of coffee contraptions and brimming with delicious smelling beans. I caved and tried a real coffee. I was so happy that it didn’t make me sick.
I then traded one cup of tea a day to a cup of coffee (because Bacolod, our home then in the Philippines, does in fact have decent cafes). I was excited to come home in July and drink coffee but when I did, I would end up feeling sick. Was coffee stronger in Australia? That couldn’t be it because I still felt sick when I had chai. Then it clicked. The milk! So I switched to soy and braved a shorter, stronger piccolo (which I quickly grew to love). It was pretty funny ordering a piccolo next to my 2 year old nephew’s babycino.
So I started reviewing again, and noticed quickly that I lost my place in Decaf Sucks. Luckily, I was working in the city and one of my projects is to check out small cafes (a challenge I willingly accepted). I have a one coffee tolerance so I slowly made my way around the place, plus I had to regain my top girl contributor spot again (I’ve now moved from fifth to second with fifty reviews ooh yeah).
However, I hit a little snag. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a regular coffee drinker, but coffee here is expensive! Add that with soy milk and only actually drinking half a cup then everyone else I felt like I was being massively ripped off. One place cost $4.60 for a soy piccolo?! No thanks! I also realised that not everyone knew what a piccolo (half a latte) was so I would get a half foamy cup or a latte not quite filled to the top. The other thing I didn’t know was there are different kinds of soy milk (some were more soy-y then others).
I almost gave up when I thought I’d go a little hard-core. I like Tim’s Aeropress-or Icelab-made coffee, so I thought I could probably do long blacks. I tried it and for the most part had really good coffees, but every now and again I ended up bouncing off the walls. It was too much caffeine for me so I almost closed the door on coffee again.
But yesterday, I tried a straight-up shot of espresso on ice. And oh my, that is so my poison. It was beautiful. It was in a super cute cup filled with ice and the tastiest coffee ever. Perhaps it’s the ice or the novelty of it but my favourite coffee in Hong Kong was definitely a cold drip. Maybe I just like coffee cold?
To emphasise my new love of ice coffee, yesterday, we had lunch at Fork on the Road (a gathering of all kinds of food vans/bikes/carts) and shared a divine cup of cold drip coffee. Then after dinner we split a decaf affogato with addictively delicious ice cream. Mmm. For the love of coffee I think I found my drink.