MAN’S WORLD: Smelling the coffee...

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THERE are several things I regret in life. Angela Miller. Not taking enough exercise. And coffee.

But that is about to change.

Well the last one at any rate.

Goodness knows what became of Ms Not-Tonight-I’m-Washing-My-Hair and it’s too late for number two...

Let me explain. I’ve drunk coffee all my life. And a large portion of that has been wasted on instant.

I’m ashamed to confess it: there was even a time when I liked Gold Blend.

You remember the ad – a supposedly intelligent woman seduced by a lounge lizard with a jar of coffee.

Anyway, all that is behind me. I’ve seen the light. And as I always do, I’ve gone completely over the top in the opposite direction.

I’m now receiving regular deliveries of esoteric coffee: sustainable, politically correct and ground in exactly the way I dictate. A new cafetiere has arrived.

And Sunday breakfast has become the most technical meal of the week.

“What do you think? Four scoops and fill it half full?”

“No, Tom’s up. And you always have two cups. Eight scoops and fill it to the top. What is it anyway?”

“Assui Craik? God knows how you pronounce it.

“Apple, cherry and cranberry acidity it says here. And apparently it feels juicy in your mouth.”

My wife appears doubtful. But not as doubtful as my eldest son.

“What is it this morning, Dad? No, let me guess. This one was hand-ground by Guatemalan virgins at sunrise on midsummer’s day and has a lingering after- taste of bananas and armadillo droppings.”

“There’s no need for sarcasm, Tom. Besides, you’re wrong. They were East Timor virgins.”

I take a sip. And not from an everyday mug either. No sir, we have special Sunday morning mugs.

Mugs that you can linger over, while you have an intelligent conversation. Mugs that instantly transport you to an outdoor café on the banks of the Loire. Well, mine has “boire” written on it...

“This is rather good. I can definitely taste the apples and cherries.”

“It tastes like mud.”

“Well at least it’s mud from East Timor, not mud from the corner shop.”

Teenagers. What joy. But let’s see if I can wind him up some more.

“Did you know, Tom, the most expensive coffee in the world is made from the droppings of the Asian palm civet?”

My son sighs. “Careful, Dad. They won’t stand for that nonsense in the old peoples’ home.”

I can’t be bothered to call in Wiki to prove my point. Tom will find out one day. It’ll be another slice of humble pie: another tick in the “Dad was right after all” column.

And was Dad ever right about Sunday breakfast?

We’ve re-introduced it as a family meal. It’s brilliant. Brilliant but – sadly – expensive.

This is largely due to my new found clinical dependence on chocolate twists.

In the same way that Tom is now incapable of watching a football match without sinking five of my beers – “We’ve run out, Dad. Could you nip to the shop at half time?” – so I’m suddenly incapable of contemplating a coffee without a large chocolate twist floating into my imagination. And very often landing on my plate.

Back at the breakfast table my wife has resumed her doubtful expression.

“Tom might be right. This one does taste a little... strange.

“What did we have last week?”

I’m so ashamed I can barely speak the words. “Rich Italian,” I mumble.

“From the corner shop.”

“It was much nicer. Actually tasted like coffee.”

Tom nods in agreement. “She’s right, Dad.” Then he looks at my plate.

“Can’t you finish your chocolate twist, Dad?

“Pass it over...”