“Did you even watch that documentary about Chagos that I sent you?” “Sorry, no.” I say, while Andrew scuttles away to avoid the question. Pete groans, releasing the depth of his disappointment like a belch from a sulfuric volcano. “I can’t think about that business, Pete. I’m on a yo
“…until you see this place!” Pete exclaims as we sip cups of Post-Soggy-Passage-Celebratory-Coffees in Sonrisa’s cockpit. Having nestled our anchor into a patch of soft, white sand and greeted our three resident sharks encircling Sonrisa’s hull, Andrew and I had just begun cleaning Sonrisa from th
“I (*insert another phrase not fit to print here*) hate this! I hate this!” I ball my fists and tuck myself into a corner beneath the dodger, just like Katherine Hepburn tucks herself beneath the coffee table. Andrew says nothing. He blinks at me. “God damn it! I hate this.” I gro
If I could describe my favorite type of passage, it is one with consistent trade winds not directly behind us, but about 30 degrees over our shoulder, calm seas, under a full moon or a clear sky full of stars. And if there were a passage the complete opposite of that…. Our anchor was up by 9:
Obviously, the dive boat did arrive, and it wasn’t long before I found myself flying through the Addu Atoll Canyons inside the entry pass. I adjust my buoyancy to counteract the drafts in the current and settle myself facing forward to maximize the view. Andrew is flying next to me, eyes alight with
I place my hand over my mask and press it securely to my face as I step my right foot forward and fall into the abyss. Like a stone dropped into the sea, instead of bobbing to the surface I fall, slowly at first, then faster as the weight of the depth above me presses down on my back. “Phhhhuuuu
See that liquid in the cup pictured above? That’s actual coffee, made the way I like it. Many people today think that they like coffee, and in fact spend fifty bucks a week or more on what they think of as coffee, but in fact, they hate the stuff. How can I know that? Because they don’t buy the stuff pictured above. The least un-coffee like thing most people buy at Starbucks or similar places is what they call a Latte. Latte, if you didn’t know, is the Italian name for milk. If you order a cup of latte in Italy, that’s what you’ll get. For the privilege of drinking a latte with some coffee in it, they pay four or five bucks for their hot milk. *
Besides paying five bucks for a cup of warm milk, they get to wait while a barrista concocts their order, after, of course, concocting six other orders that take a long time to make. Why so long? Good question. In Italy, when I ordered caffelatte, it took about twenty seconds for me to be served. At an American coffee shop, it takes several minutes for each order at a minimum. Coffee shops in Italy get really busy, too. It’s not the volume of customers that slows the process. Maybe it’s all the variations Starbucks offers, with several kinds of milk, at least two kinds of coffee, five or six sizes of cup (yes, not all are on the menu.) The net effect is that one waits five minutes or more for a cup of warm milk mixed with what is, in the case of Starbucks at least, terrible coffee.
Okay, nice complaint, but what else is there to do?
Well, I’ll tell you.
Pictured just above is a bag of the Good Stuff. 100% pure Kona coffee. From Hawaii. Whoever raised, picked, and processed it was paid at least the minimum wage in Hawaii. The growers are subject to all of the regulations provided by the FDA and other agencies to ensure safe, wholesome product is delivered. It’s about forty bucks a pound.
FORTY BUCKS A POUND?????
Well, all together, that mug of coffee pictured at the top of this page cost me about half a buck to make, maybe a tad less. A bag of that stuff lasts me about a month, at two or three mugs a day. Since I like the taste of coffee, and since Kona is arguably the best tasting coffee available (even I can’t make it taste bitter or otherwise bad,) I drink it black. But, if you don’t like that, you can get it roasted dark and ground into powder with which to make espresso. A small espresso maker can be had for as little as sixty bucks ($60) on Amazon. That’s less than two weeks worth of Starbucks swill.** Of course, if you like standing around waiting for some barrista to mix up an inferior cup, well go right ahead and spend your money foolishly. But, before doing that, maybe you would enjoy trying some pure Kona, which (honest to goodness) is never, ever bitter. You’d be surprised how much better good coffee tastes when compared to whatever that stuff is that Starbucks uses. And you get automatic Fair Trade status, and you’re even buying American. If you just gotta have those “lattes,” drop sixty bucks on an espresso maker. Or try it plain and black. Who knows, you might actually get to like coffee.
*In Italy, these drinks are called “caffelatte”, or coffee with milk. In France it’s Cafe au lait. The proper name in English is “coffee with steamed milk.”
**Based upon $5 drinks, one per day, or seven per week.
In the days after Jen’s birthday, I kept busy laying down roots like a Mangrove System. I thought I had permission. With all the other sailors having borne off to either the Seychelles or Tanzania long ago, we were the remaining few who thought we would wait until something Eastward opens up (i.e.