I have a long and bumpy relationship with coffee. It all began in the mid-70’s after my parents’ trip to France. When they got back to Montreal, there was a subtle shift in the workings of the Casey household: salad was served after dinner, lots of strong chevre appeared on the cheese plate and the coffee started getting stronger and stronger and was served with warned milk, usually “en bolle”. Oh, yeah, and lots and lots and lots of red wine was consumed together with the DuMauriers, though the latter were present long before the trip across the pond. So, at the tender age of 8 I developed a taste for the bean, insisting on the warm milk and passing on the sugar (still can’t stand sweet drinks).

When I was away at boarding school, the “cool kids” hung out at the local Howard Johnsons and smoked cigarettes and drank cup after cup after cup of bad coffee. Funny thing — we were terribly restricted in our activities at school, like we couldn’t go off campus after 7 p.m. or get in to cars without very specific instructions or go to the movies during the week or even watch television during the week, but we were allowed to smoke, on campus, off campus, in the butt room, on the front porch of the dorms. At a buck a pack in those days (I am severely dating myself) why not?? Weird. Anyway, I couldn’t tolerate the weak crap they passed off as coffee, so I started drinking espresso with lots of milk, this in the day waaaaay before Starbucks and other establishments of its ilk. This got me some flack, but whatever.

When I first moved to Vancouver I got a job as a “barrista” at Starbucks — good hours, great benefits and all the coffee I could handle. Got all my friends hooked, too, and they blame for their addiction to this day. Sometime in my mid-20’s I developed a stress induced ulcer and the doctor advised that I give up, among other things, drinking coffee. I did my level best, switched to herbal teas (YUCK!!!!!), drank lots of water, etc. Got the ulcer under control and chucked the flowers. I have managed to successfully quit smoking and stop drinking diet coke, but a girl’s gotta have a vice, right?

Anyway, the reason for this little tale of my relationship with the bean? My friend Jocelyn is here visiting from Calgary (more on that another time). When she told me she was coming out, I informed her that the new rate at Casa Casey was a pound or two of Oso Negro Coffee, available at select locations, namely Nelson, Golden and Field, British Columbia. I made my first pot of Oso Negro this morning. Pure and utter HEAVEN!!! Super strong and not the least bit bitter. Yummy. I have even brought some of the precious beans to my regular Starbucks guy (he often shoots me freebies) and will hear his verdict demain.

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