Full Of Beans

Like most other caring mothers, I also endevoured to teach my daughters the basic A,B,C’s of Life; the usual how to buckle their shoes, master a knife and fork with dexterity, how to safely cross a busy road, to the more significant things such as respecting one’s elders and being mindful of others, and so on. Of course, included in this exhaustive list was also an exhortation to eat and drink healthily.

An adult indulgence such as drinking coffee was not going to be permitted until the girls were MUCH older. Caffeine was bad for them. Ha! Who was I kidding? The saying ‘Do what I say and not what I do’ was never going to work! Children imitate that which is modelled to them by their parents. I just didn’t know it at the time!

I come from a long lineage of coffee connoiseurs. First thing in the morning, if my Oupa’s (grandfather’s) boeretroos was too hot, he would pour it into a saucer to cool quickly. (That’s how keen he was to savour his morning ‘koffietjie’). He would laughingly say, ‘Dis goed dat ek lief is vir koffie en nie brandewyn nie!’ (It’s a good job that I love coffee and not brandy). When greeting my own father (one of Oupa’s two sons) one could even taste coffee on his lips! Enough said! And, as for me and my household…well, I have to confess that the continuous coffee cycle ceasingly continues… coffee is virtually served on the hour.

I managed to keep our older daughter estranged from the influences of caffeine until she was a teenager but our younger daughter, who spent a lot more time at home because of poor health, succumbed to the influences of coffee far earlier. Why is it that one is much stricter with the firtborn? Cayly loved nothing more than popping to Mastertons (our local coffee roastery) with her dad.

Ever inquisitive, she would peep into the ubiquitous bags of coffee and run her fingers through the beans. Curious by nature, she would enquire about the origin of each bag, why the beans were different in colour, how the coffee roaster worked and a myriad of other questions. She knew just how to charm the loving but sometimes curmudgeounly James Masterton around her little finger, and would leave each time with a sucker in her hand and a head full of stories about coffee and far away lands.

Back at homebase, our little missy saw herself as the office manager cum coffee barista, and she would regularly pop through to our at home-offices carrying a tray. This was a clever way of getting our attention without being in trouble for disturbing us while we were working! She and Theodore (her adorable teddy rucksack) also regularly accompanied us when we visited coffee shops. (Sickly children need reward outings every so often, as do their parents).
We permitted her to have a small cup of coffee (yes, we were soft on her) and she delighted in trying out the blend of the day. It’s no wonder she preferred being at home then at school!

Fast forward, and our missy not only loves a cuppa but is immersed in the world of coffee She even makes documentaries about it. It is now she who is teaching me. When I recently asked her what constitutes a good cuppa? She replied, “There are many factors that have an impact on how your cup of cofffee will taste, from the freshness of the beans, to the roasting process, to when they were harvested, to the quality of water used to make the brew”, to mention only a few of the factors she knew!. To this I craftily replied, “Okay, well then best you show me how, right now!” Before being allowed to consume said cuppa, I had to first identify the aromas. I kid you not! I identified the smell of red meat haha I really did, which had her waxing lyrically about the fact that it meant, “A good bean from…(I forget where, now)…”. Oh, how the roles have reversed!

And, while Missy Travel Pants is on an adventure in Asia, I have been tasked with looking after her new baby… a coffee plant.
My ‘grandplant’ is full of beans (pun unintentional). I know that one plant does not a plantation make, but I am silently wondering…I know where it all started, but where is this is going to end…