Coffee is something I discovered when I travelled overseas.
I volunteered work for a short while in a country devastated by earthquakes, and while I was there I discovered the overwhelming hospitality that is possible in that part of the world. This tradition includes the drinking of coffee, in the Greek/Turkish style. Thick and rich and sweet.
It has left a lasting impression and since that time I have not tasted any coffee that quite compares. Perhaps this is because of the experiences that accompanied the drinking of the coffee.
It was certainly unique to be in that place and in that time and to sit with people whose language I did not speak, whose culture I did not understand, but to be made to feel welcome, and at home.
The eastern coffee tradition is something that has been used in marketing coffee in Australia, but I somehow see it as very false. There is not the depth of tradition nor the overwhelming sense of hospitality that accompanies the coffee traditions of middle eastern and southern European countries and the feeble attempts of advertisers to portray coffee as the great icon of hospitality lack the essential quality of authenticity.
Coffee will always hold important memories for me and at least in my own home I like people to really enjoy their coffee - it means a bit of work for me, even down to roasting green beans when I run out of the Papua New Guinea fair trade coffee I buy.
I often wish though that traditions grew faster to enrich a culture - I believe Australia is on its way to something unique but its taking its bloody time.