I reconnected with an old squash foe on Tuesday – Colin Eye. Colin and I have had innumerable court-based battles over the years, and he has often emerged victorious, being younger, fitter and faster.
After a long squash-playing hiatus for both of us, however, the disparity in athleticism is less marked, middle-aged portliness being a great leveller, and movement around the court could best be described as lumbering. I found myself wistfully recalling the days when I was able to change direction swiftly and without the assistance of the momentum gained from having crashed heavily into a wall immediately prior.
The result of the contest shall remain forever shrouded in mystery, as it would be churlish and graceless of me to be anything other than magnanimous in victory. Even a victory so crushing as that one.
Afterwards, between gasps and gulps of water, we wondered aloud when the pain would kick in properly. The next day, or the day after that?
The next day, it turned out. My body, impatiently, decided it couldn’t wait for the day after tomorrow to arrive, and protested loudly regarding my reckless attempts at athleticism every time I tried to stand up, or perform any other routine function.
Wiseman got in touch on Wednesday. Sent me a link to an article he thought I’d appreciate. The article was entitled The Humble Brilliance of Italy’s Moka Coffee Pot. In it the writer regales us with not only the history of Bialetti’s stovetop coffee pot, but the history of coffee, and in particular its brew methods, from the dawn of time. Or the dawn of coffee being discovered, at least.
It was a wonderful and fascinating read, and I did appreciate it. I love my moka pot. I’ve made coffee that way every morning for more years than I can now remember, even taking it with me on my travels, excepting those mornings when I was staying somewhere with an induction hob. Although I note that Bialetti now make an induction hob-compatible version, which I am considering purchasing purely for the five days in every four years or so that I spend in an induction-hob-equipped house.
I’ve found the moka pot provides a more consistently good, strong cup of coffee than any other home brewing method I’ve used. I have recently become a fan of the Kompresso espresso maker too, especially while travelling, but at home the moka pot remains my default coffee brewing device.
The article, splendid as it was, was irredeemably spoiled by the news, right at the beginning, that Bialetti – the company that invented the moka pot, and still make the best version – is in serious financial trouble and struggling to compete due to the proliferation of pod machines. Globally, but even in Italy.
*&!!%# pod machines. *&!!%# George Clooney.
Learning that Italians are choosing to make coffee at home from artificial capsules rather than their trusty moka pots is a hammer blow akin to discovering that Starbucks had successfully opened stores in Paris. And, only last year, in Milan.
Oh Milano, Milano, how could you let this happen?
Is nowhere and nothing sacred anymore? I am grieved, dear reader, grieved. I feel sure that these events are referenced in the book of Revelation as signs of the end of days.
I could tolerate pod machines while they remained in their place, their place being in the kitchen of the undiscerning coffee drinker who values speed and convenience over taste and quality. But now that they’ve successfully wormed their way into the homes of even discerning coffee aficionados, my own dear sister and the whole of Italy included, I am most grievously vexed. The urge to panic-buy 3-cup Moka Express stovetops is strong.
It’s time to take to the streets. Or at least start an online petition.
Hold tight, Bialetti. I’ll be over here drinking proper coffee and listening to records, while the real world gradually digitises itself and becomes available only through a Virtual Reality headset on a streaming subscription basis.
The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think I’ve maybe skipped denial and gone straight to anger. Bear with me, dear reader, while I work through this…