When you have achieved everything you set out to do in life—eat spaghetti with a spoon, teach zen and the art of lawn mower maintenance, and prance like Mick Jagger in front of a roaring crowd — there’s nothing left except to become a barista.
The barista wields enormous power over the lives of powerful people. The right coffee at the start of the day can make a person content with the world and deliver just enough pizazz to make the right decisions.
For instance, if Donald Trump started his days with the right coffee I don’t think he would conduct his foreign policy via Twitter or send comedians and lexicographers into a wormhole by tweeting things like ‘‘covfefe’’ late at night.
Real coffee can make a real difference.
I have written to the International Coffee Council for a retirement fund payment for writing that.
Anyway, to celebrate the chief gardener’s birthday we lashed out and bought a coffee-making machine.
I don’t mean a bland coffee-pod insertion thing where all your flavours are ready made like canned soup.
I mean a real full-blown, bad-ass turbo V8 barista model with shiny knobs and switches and a bloodcurdling steam funnel that could melt a misplaced metal milk jug into a boiling pool of lava with the wrong twist.
We chose a red one because to me it said ‘‘Ferrari’’ and to the chief gardener it said ‘‘red’’.
It came with plastic bags packed with extra bits that had to be washed, dried, polished, screwed on or inserted.
There were also some bits that looked like they fell off the international space station.
If you think a coffee machine is just about water, milk and coffee—please go back to school.
This was the Panzerfaust Bavarian Barista Express with sawn-off double-barrel coffee launcher.
Before I assembled anything, I read the instructions three times.
Then I read them again in English.
I Googled Messerschmitt aircraft technician manuals just to be on the safe side.
I didn’t want to fire up the Bavarian Barista Express and trigger a terror alert in my neighbourhood.
I nervously placed two loads of Brazilian blend-V2 rocket beans into the grinder and switched it on at arm’s length.
It sounded like an Apocalypse Now chopper coming into land while being strafed with VC sniper fire.
It was terrifying, but there was worse to come.
I placed the ground beans into the polished filter holder and arm-wrestled the thing into place under the Panzer jet stream outlets.
I pressed the start button and stood back in awe.
There was a low rumbling, which grew to a bowelshaking roar and I actually thought the Bavarian Barista Express might lift off and head towards Mars.
Then it exploded and showered me with steaming hot black ground coffee beans.
I ran away like a little puppy then I recovered myself and laughed like a shell-shocked veteran.
Later, my know-it-all topnotch barista daughter told me I’d forgotten the filter — so of course it would explode. Of course.
It’s the fourth law of coffee thermodynamics — beans under pressure make a mess when not contained in an isolated system.
I must have missed that in the instruction book.
For now, I’m changing my look.
I’m getting a sleeve tattoo with Brazilian poetry, hipster saggy pants and wristbands made from Bolivian beads.
It’s a start — but I think the man-bun