Travels 2015: The Coffee Saga

Travels 2015 is a series of updates I originally posted on Facebook while on vacation. What started as a quick update and a couple photos transformed into a series of mini-essays that I would have posted on this website had it been up and running at the time. This one was written on July 28th, 2015.


As a lover of delicately brewed coffee, I bought an Areopress and two bags of favourite roasts to the island. The night I arrived I realized halfway through making the first cup that I was missing the Areopress's filter cap, which locks the pressure in place during the brewing (essential to the procedure, as my messy improvising soon proved.)

I spent far too much time that night anxiously Googling "Areopress filter cap substitutions," "using Areopress without filter cap," and "Areopress filter cap replacement shipping times", as well as scouring the pantry for possible substitutions. No dice. I went to bed concocting replacement coffee brewing schemes and reminding myself that worry over the small things betrayed a lack of trust in Him who rules even those details.

The next day I headed to the one store on the island, a locally run CO-OP. In the basement, next to the hardware and plumbing aisles and Tupperware shelf was a bare coffee appliance section. The French Press was too expensive and too large to transport home, but the stovetop espresso machine looked familiar. I almost bought it in the moment, but decided researching its merits might justify its cost.

I texted my friend and local coffee advisor, Jesse Graham, having remembered seeing one in his kitchen. He gave it his hearty approval and I began to grow excited about the purchase. "All is right with the world again" I told myself. Coffee and personal equanimity would be restored.
A small voice asked if this consolation of all material goods was where my happiness was rooted. "It looks like all is well, but would you still be happy if your plans of purchasing were thwarted? Which could happen, although only if that one item were sold to someone else." I took note of that thought, but felt confident that my plan would work just fine.

It's a bit of a trip to the CO-OP so I planned a visit when I was near the area, which ended up towards the end of a busy day (filled cycling, reading, sun, and splashing). I finally made the long walk to the store, headed down into the basement, found the shelf and stood there in shock. The shelf was empty. Sold out.

"If we look to created things to us the meaning, hope & happiness that only God himself can give, it will eventually break our hearts" says Tim Keller and my happiness that evening was ruptured. And as I reflected on my day, I realized that so much of this entire vacation's planned happiness was built around my plans of ordered happiness - having the perfect books, music, clothes, and coffee equipment purchased in time. This attitude needed to be confessed to the Lord, who orders all things, even that one other islander who purchases that one other espresso pot before I did.

"For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep.
But God shoots his arrow at them;
they are wounded suddenly.” 

~Psalm 64:6-7

So, I had to continue to improvise the coffee making process. Pictured is the cloth-napkin-pour-over. It brings out some great coffee flavour, I'm happy to report, but it also adds some pretty nasty old cloth napkin subtleties. Still, it's better than the 20-year old drip machine.

P.S. Oyster update: Grampie announced that although he very much enjoyed our feast yesterday, it did not agree with his stomach during the night. So now I have the task of single-handedly finishing the just over 24 oysters sitting on melting ice in the fridge.