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The early days

My earliest coffee memory is making an instant coffee for my mum as a child in South Africa. The brand was Frisco and mum liked it with three quarters boiling water and a splash of milk. No sugar. I couldn’t drink anything that hot (and still can’t) nor something so bitter. My dad also drank coffee (half water, half milk, 3 teaspoons of sugar). This was much more to my taste – the right temperature and sugar highs.

A cousin then introduced me to milky coffee. This was how Wimpy (the hamburger restaurant of my childhood) made it. It was simply hot milk, a teaspoon of instant coffee and some sugar. Very creamy and oh so good.

My parents moved from South Africa to New Zealand when I was 13 and in the land of the flat white, I discovered espresso coffee. Here, we regularly went out for a coffee to cafes. I don’t seem to remember cafes and going for a coffee from the years in South Africa. The cafe culture had not yet developed. I asked mum what she drank when she went out for a coffee. I still remember her answer – a cappuccino.

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Mother & daughter cappuccinos at The Sum of Us, Dubai 2016

At high school, I met the person who changed my coffee outlook, taste, preference and life. Her name is Sandra and she still is a major influence in my world. There will be many posts in the future which will include Sandy and our dramas!

Anyway, what you need to know is that she drank a trim mocha latte. Coffee lesson 1: The difference between a mocha and mocha latte is that a mocha has 1 shot of coffee and a mocha latte has 2. Many a barista asked her this question. Sandra disliked instant coffee, coffee that was too milky and pink marshmallows (which where always served on the side in New Zealand). She preferred her mocha latte more on the coffee side, I preferred mine more on the chocolate side. On a trip to Australia in 2008, a barista in Surfers Paradise, actually asked us how we liked our mochas and then tailor made each one.

I still like the occasional mocha with full fat milk – I have moved away from mocha lattes after I left New Zealand as baristas in the UK and Dubai didn’t have an idea what it was and were not interested in finding out.

My coffee story continues in the next post where coffee and blogging come together.

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Sandra, Knickerbocker and I (plus our mocha lattes) at Takapuna Beach Cafe, Auckland 2013.

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