CFS throws interesting things into your life. Apart from really poor sleep patterns the last few months, another symptom that's popped up has been the moveable arthritis. That is, arthritic pain that comes and goes, whilst also moving from one part of the body to another. It's been mild, but there were a couple of weeks I couldn't get my wedding rings on. And, oh woe, I could no longer whack the portafilter into position on Miss Silvia.
Now, for a serious coffee-head, who has had to reduce herself to one cup a day (and apparently I shouldn't be having that, but heck, life's too short and I don't have many vices), this amounts to a tragedy of epic proportions. Silvia and Rocky, the grinders, both Rancilio machines, were my indulgences in our mortgage. Best Beloved got surround sound for the television. A bit of play and a couple of ordinary cups, then fairly consistently good coffees. The hardest thing was getting the milk steamed correctly so that it was slightly sweetened and had a dense micro-foam. That was always a bit hit or miss, mostly if I got distracted.
I love making coffee with a fully manual machine. I love the whole routine, the almost ceremony, and it is an opportunity to reflect on luck. That we have coffee, the tools, the opportunities. To be grateful for the gift of coffee, for all the hard work and long planning that goes into producing the beans, and the process that takes them from the growers, through the roasters, and into my greedy little mitts. Because it takes several years for the coffee tree (or shrub, depending on locale and variety) to grow, to be able to produce a harvestable crop. This on top of all the usual variables a farmer has to deal with - weather, sale prices, labour costs, ongoing maintenance, political unrest in some areas, and debts.
But dodgy, unpredictable wrists have put a stop to that. Miss Silvia is now living with a friend in Victoria, who is over the moon, because she's just started a week of night shifts. And I'm stalking possible replacements on eBay. They'll have to be a super-automatic. I can make an okay cup just using a jug and fine tea strainer, but I miss my crema!