Coffee & Surfing | A Cynic’s Guide To The Two Worst Best Things in The World
You got a purty mouth, but yellow teeth
Coffee was invented in 1773 in Boston, by American terrorists dressed as the Village People. After throwing the Brits’ tea into the harbour in a frenzy of tax-dodging bravado, they later met up in a backstreet speakeasy.
‘Woohoo! Yeah!’ said a fat one, ‘USA kicks butt!’
‘Get in the hole!’ almost certainly shouted another.
Then, when the adrenalin wore off, caffeine withdrawal began to kick in. “Like, what are we gonna drink now?"
And thus, coffee was born.
Alternative lore exists, of course. Some say an 8th century Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi first chanced upon the restorative powers of coffee on the Arabian Peninsula after his goats chewed some, and, having been formerly fatigued, then went bat shit.
This, like other Middle East-based creation myths you may be familiar with, probably isn’t true. After all, the stuff is poisonous until roasted.
But what neither Kaldi, nor the Boston tea partiers knew was just how much coffee and surfing have much in common.
Both come from the tropics. Both make you pee. And poo.
The best coffee is grown in the shade. The best surfing (tuberiding) is performed in the shade.
But regrettably, both seem to encourage wankiness of the highest order.
There's a reasonable chance you enjoyed the taste of coffee before the serving of it required an Edwardian child catcher's beard, denim apron, squiggly tatts and most importantly, small, matt black milk jug.
But there's a very slim chance you took admiring photos of it before you drunk. So you see, this has touched us all in some way.
Let's discuss how you take it, and what that tells us about you as a surfer, as a human.
Bucket of Latte (e.g from Starbucks, etc)
If you like to drink/walk/drive around with a pint of warm, sugary milk (be that cow, soy, almond, spelt, Cambodian breast) with only a tiny bit of actual coffee in, you should still be allowed to live, pretty much.
But you shouldn’t really be allowed to hark on about how much you like coffee, you clearly don’t. You like warm milk. Like a baby.
You probably surf pretty much a regular board but make tiny, insignificant adjustments like an inch shorter and an 1/8th wider and then call it your ‘fish’.
Somehow, you’ve managed to combine safe with untrustworthy.
Filter coffee is so out it's almost in. If you still make coffee this way in 2016, you probably surf a 6’10" x 18" pintail with banana rocker in 5ft tubes, right? Experts say the percolator is inferior to pour over, due to not being able to control the flow rate, and thus the resulting acidity, body, etc. Perhaps.
But the main difference is likes. I mean, nobody's really Instagraming their programmable Morphy Richards Accents 162003, right?
Not so long ago, you could buy plastic versions of these that sat atop your cup, at the supermarket for about 2 bucks.
Now they're glass, with cool wooden and leathery bits, Japanese design influence, but basically the principal is the same as the plastic ones. You can pour it in slower or faster to like, totally control the brew.
If you went and bought one of those kettles with the spout to complete the aesthetic, well, I'm not going to say you're a victim. I'll just say this: Getting a single fin is one thing. A good thing. Then getting a retro wetsuit top to go with it is a whole 'nother matter entirely.
Cold press will separate a lifer from one who merely dabbles, it'll also sort your low latitude from your temperate hipster. Because a high latitude hipster wants cold coffee about as much as a New Era hat with the massive shiny sticker thingy on the peak.
If you’re a photographer, and made cold press it in a bath last year on the North Shore, well then you’re fucken triple black belt hipster grandwizard ali'i.
Nespresso / Evil Plastic Pellet type machine
Seriously? Here's Captain Paul Watson, getting rammed by the Japanese to save the whales in the Weddell Sea.
Here's Di Caprio, spending time and money making Before The Flood.
Here's Fergal Smith refusing to fly on planes in order to keep his carbon footprint down.
And all you can do in return is create your own plastic garbage mountain every time you drink a stupid cup of Clooney. See that Midway Atoll video of seabirds with bellies full of plastic?
That's on you.
Aeropress (from the inventor of the Aerobie) involves generating the pressure required to make coffee with your own bicep.
You’re embracing relative low-tech practical solutions, with respectable results. They're super light, pretty much unbreakable, small, easy to carry.
You rode Surf Techs didn't you?
They actually have aeropress world championships, every year. I shit you not. So actually, forget the Surf Tech remark. You ride Firewire high performance longboards in longboard competitions.
Moka pots have slight hipster leanings just by vague analog-ness but their use pre-dates the movement considerably. If you use a moka pot you probably have been for a long time.
You are probably a traditionalist. You probably had Hugh Grant style curtains, grandad shirts and desert boots in the 90's. And to this very day.
You probably still think G-Land is Indo's premier surf trip.
Maybe you practised surfing and camping, combined, before it was sexy. When surfing camping trips meant fingering in a field of 250 tents just outside Newquay, next to a pile of cider sick, rather than a Norwegian pointbreak and 7 grand's worth of Gore-Tex.
Moka pots tend to burns the coffee a bit, that’s not the point. Let's not get sidetracked.
Cafitiere / French Press
You get the benefits of a communal pot, like tea. You get more acidity notes, and some sludge. Dead easy, dead good, but a bit of a pain in the ass to clean. Especially if you want to put the grinds in the composter, which is all of us, right?
You ride a thicker board and very rarely change the wax. Well, never.
Grind your own (with a Burr Grinder, Never Blade FFS)
Grinding your own is kind the opposite of shaping your own. It's hard to fuck up, and makes better coffee.
Shaping your own board is easy to fuck up, and almost always makes inferior surf craft.