Opa the Coffee King

How do you know you’re a coffee wimp (like me) instead of an afficionado? When you drink it for various reasons other than enjoyment of the coffee taste. And perhaps can’t stand it black.

As a teenager I thought it smelled so gross I made a bet with a true afficianado, my Dutch step-dad Rob, that I wouldn’t drink any coffee until after graduation. Coffee is a sacred morning ritual for him…perfect preparation of the perfect cup…and the ongoing quest for the best bean..despite all this I held out and won my $100!

But now I drink coffee for three reasons: cream, sugar and caffeine. And kids! Helps me keep up with the little monkeys…my kids have told me in the past, “Mom, maybe you need a coffee to feel better.” You said it honey!

One of my daughters likes to share a sip of my afternoon coffee, with plenty of milk of course.


I like to call it “cheerfulness in a cup.” That little boost to get your day started when you feel like you’re wading through the morning fog in your head, or to pick you up after the afternoon slump, when you have fallen asleep reading the kids stories on the couch, or on some days, when you need your caffeinated buddy to cook dinner with you and make it to bed time. For many parents, as my dear friends say, “Coffee is purely medicinal.”

Because of this, I’m willing to drink it pretty much any way, except black, which makes for interesting experiences when I’ve run out of milk. I’ve had coffee:

With strawberry soy milk (barf!)
With Reece Pieces ice cream (yum, in a strange, ice cream float way…)
With powdered milk (meh!)
With canned coconut milk (ick!)

And all this for someone who used to be a barista!! I can see your heads shaking in dismay…

Although I admit I have found one coffee I like for it’s taste, Starbucks medium Kenya blend. And any coffee that Rob makes tastes good, because he has that magic touch.

The thing is, that the way my step-dad makes coffee–heating the thick cups so they’ll keep the coffee warm, measuring carefully, pouring slowly, lovingly cleaning his espresso machine every day–reflect the artistry and patience of a true craftsman, and the sincere belief that if you’re going to do something, you should do it right.

This attitude imbues his whole life, and as a result he has done many things very, very well, and created a lot of beauty. The same hands that make the perfect cup of coffee have made beautiful houses, films, clothing and most remarkably, miniature steam trains that really work.

I admire him a lot, and as today is his birthday, want to wish him, my children’s wonderful Opa, “Haartelijk Gefelicteerd!” And may you make many more beautiful cups of coffee before you run out of steam! 🙂

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