The World of Coffee and this Englishman’s journey with it began when I was a little boy. It was not a successful launch of a beverage product for me.
The strong acidic taste was a complete turn off for this little fella.
Camp Coffee’s concentrated coffee flavoured syrup first passed my lips back in the early 1960s. I thought “Hell No!” never again. You, the reader have to understand I was ten years old and submerged in the English culture of Tea.
My mother became my number one enemy. Every time she felt the need to poison me, out would come the bottle of poison. Camp Coffee came within a small narrow shaped bottle. Its Glasgow roots went back to 1876.
Its clean exterior hid its core of evil brown looking liquid. This consisted of water, sugar, caffeine-free coffee essence, and chicory essence. The later was the substitute for real coffee. Many years later, I still believe the chicory aftertaste destroyed my palate.
I have always wondered down the years how many others suffered as this Englishman with his journey with coffee.
Years later I prised myself away from my childhood home and enlisted into the Royal Air Force. I discovered Camp Coffee had missed me and followed me into the Mess Hall.
Later, I discovered the military was to blame for its success as it was looked upon as the quickest way to serve to its troops. Look at the label above; I admit they do look happy. But, I would love to know what their real thoughts were when of “camera” as we would say today.
Even the company slogan “Ready Always Ready” written as “Ready Aye Ready” sends shocks waves through my soul over fifty years later. I can still see the bottle at times in Supermarkets. Each was waiting for the next Home Baker to pick it up for directions in making coffee-flavoured cakes.
The missing Years Before Enlightenment.
Images of various brands of coffees from the 1960s.
Many of the Instand Coffee Brands above, I suspect I have tried. For many, I drank under duress with no real enjoyment. Tea for me at that time of my life always won the day.
Everyone including my Mother would serve me with the biggest mug they could find with piping hot liquid drowned in lashings of Milk and sugar.
I tried to savour and hid my discomfort but usually failed. Everyone could see by the amount I left in the dreaded mug on each occasion gave the game away. The excuses I would have to find got more feeble as time passed. I can honestly say I thought I would never love coffee.
Then came The High Street Giants of Coffee!
Image of Cafe Nero, Costa Coffee & Starbucks Brands in the 2000s,
Now fast forward to the 1990s, a time when I was working long hours at Heathrow Airport. Some of those shifts could last 18 hours or more. So coffee for me was the medication of choice each day that enable me to function.
Well, I did warn you that coffee has never been up to then my favourite tipple.
I tried the lattes and the cappuccinos, eventually realising coffee and milk does make me feel incredibly ill. Drastic action had to be taken, and so I switched to Americano.
Now I was getting somewhere; those first few mouthfuls were delicious. The taste was finally telling me coffee could be a beverage to enjoy. But, my original feelings of dread returned, once I had drunk a tenth of the contents.
After that, the Englishman’s world of coffee was back to square one.
The portions were just far too big; I was destined to continue my struggle with drinking what millions of others found perfectly tasteful and pleasing.
Then came Cafe Mujer Colombian coffee to my Salvation!
In 2013 I decided to move to Santiago de Cali in Colombia and believe it or not I trained with my native Colombiana wife Cristina to become Baristas! We opened a cafe in the heart of the Coffee world.
The Englishman’s world of coffee had turned into an adventure and a business.
I soon discovered what a cup of Tinto was and I can assure you it should be called Nectar.
I fell in love with the Beautiful uniqueness of Tinto, and now I have to have a fix every couple of hours, teabags are but a distant memory for this Englishman.
All those wasted years not knowing Tinto existed. Then, one sunny afternoon we ventured on a day trip to a fantastic place called Cordoba.
There we discovered a tremendous community of ladies who had decided to go into business together and do battle with the Hombres by creating their brand of coffee.
Literally called Cafe Mujer, meaning Ladies Coffee.
We discovered men were not on their payroll, this coffee farm was a centre of ladies excellence, and after drinking just one small cup of their finest Expresso, I was hooked. We purchased 100 kilos and had it shipped straight to our new Euro-styled Cafe in the city.
Instantly we knew, we had discovered the jewel in the crown, we invited the local hotel’s squadron of Baristas to visit and savour the Sauve and gentleness of Cafe Mujer coffee, and the Baristas loved it.
The Baristas could not wait to show their magical skills. Both Cristina, and I had fun learning all the new ways of making, and enjoying coffee.
I have to say here on record give me a shot of espresso with one shot of brandy and topped up with one shot of Baileys, and I believe I am in heaven.
The evenings sharing ideas and stories with those beautiful Barista’s minds will always have a special place in my heart.
There was one minor detail that needed to meet, and that was for both Cristina and this Englishman to complete his journey with the world of coffee: –
The decision to become trained Baristas themselves.
So, Cristina arranged for us both to spend a day at a fantastic fun park called Parque de Cafe in Quindio. Our guide was full of information and his second language is English made everything on the day well worth it.
Not finished with their learning there, the next day they both enrolled as campersinos and had lessons in all the stages of growing and processing coffee.
Cristina and Mike in traditional Colombian coffee growers outfits. Checkout the machete on his hip.
To ensure they could stand up in the middle of the coffee world and serve a decent latte or cappuccino they headed the day after to Bogota and enrolled in a Barista School.
Finally, the Englishman’s world of coffee had reached Utopia for him. Now he was as one with all coffee connoisseurs around the globe.
In the last ten years, there has been an enormous explosion of coffee drinking in the UK and coffee comes from all over the world creating a massive industry.
What the industry does lack is the introduction of Cafe Mujer, and we wish to invite all Lady owned Artisanal Cafe Owners to tell us their unique stories and order just one bag or two and test what I know to be the most exceptional coffee in the world.
If you enjoyed reading this updated blog on the CEOs relationship with coffee over the years, click on the next blog. This one is his take on the future of Intelligent personal Assistants in 20 years when he is 83!
Mike Bowley is an Indoor Coffee Houseplant & Colombian Giftware Importer, SEO Content Writer, Baby Boomer, and published Author. He thrives on creating alliances with UK based Artisanal Cafe Owners and Garden Centers with artisanal product makers in Colombia.
He enjoys helping “Newbie” website owners. Plus, fellow Baby Boomer Online Entrepreneurs in getting organic content onto web pages and mobiles.
Mike has spent over 50 years in sales/marketing and shares his life and work between the UK and Colombia. He is a regular writer on both Viviamaridi and WattPad.
Visit his author’s website here: mikebowley.com.