Coffee (+ bonus pregnancy factors)

>Being only a very short time out from taking maternity leave, my thoughts on coffee are necessarily ambivalent. Pregnancy and caffeine fixes just don’t mesh well, and one is made to feel very irresponsible and evil for lamenting giving it up (cos you are automatically a Bad Parent if you don’t sacrifice all for your children, and how dare you even contemplate eating that sashimi or ricotta…but that’s a rant for another time. Lucky you).

Pre-pregnancy (this time around), my coffee habit wasn’t that chronic. Perhaps one ‘regular’ latte that would sit beside my work PC for hours as I drip-fed caffeine through the day. The ‘regular’ size is one I would call large, but I realise that we’ve lost all sense of proportion (literally) since the advent of mega-sizing and those ‘grand grandes’. I like my coffee strong and with milk, and have taken to ordering lattes rather than flat whites because some cafes seem not to comprehend what a ‘flat white’ is. The drink that often turns up irks me with its stupendously expensive 40% hard milk foam ration. It’s so wrong.

The problem, as all milky coffee-drinkers would know, is that whether you order a cappuccino, flat white, or latte, many places will just give you a stupidly frothy coffee that bears no resemblance to any of those styles. Just in case any budding baristas are reading this, this is the coffee gospel according to Wiki:

a latte is typically prepared with approximately one third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk, with a layer of foamed milk approximately 5 mm (¼ inch) thick on the top. The drink is similar to a cappuccino, the difference being that a cappuccino consists of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foam. A variant on the latte is the flat white, which is served in a smaller ceramic cup with the creamy steamed milk poured over a single-shot of espresso, holding back the lighter froth at the top.

A flat white is FLAT. That’s the whole point. No foam, you silly buggers!

I’ve taken to having mostly decaf lattes (less regularly, but still at least once a week) because of Sprog 2 and, while I know a bad coffee when I meet it, I’m by no means a connoisseur. So, decaf doesn’t really bother me. I figure a badly made decaf latte in a particular place would probably have also been a badly made full-caffeine latte. When I was first pregnant (with E.), I was hardcore about not having coffee. I think I might’ve had half a dozen those entire nine months (and half of those were decafs). When I was off coffee, and trying not to have sugary drinks (being borderline gestational diabetic as I was [my litany of health woes, let me show you it…]), I found it really hard to find things I’d enjoy as hot drink substitutes. The thing with lattes is the creamy, robust flavour. So, while I don’t mind tea, it doesn’t quite cut it on either score. I went herbal (peppermint) for a bit and found it very unsatisfactory. Hot chocolates were way too sweet (sickeningly so) and I’ve never been a fan of chai. It was a tragic time, especially on chilly autumn/winter days.

I’ve had very few bad coffees since I moved to Melbourne, over 5 years ago now. The bad ones have been expectedly dire (e.g. I foolishly ordered one in a shopping centre food court), and even my blasted heath of a campus has halfway decent coffee at various sites (there remains a distinct dearth of funky and interesting cafes, but I’m resigned to this). 

Getting back to my full-blown caffeine habit after I stopped breastfeeding (1.5 years later…sigh) was liberating. Having been mostly off caffeine all that time, I’ve come back to it a bit less rabid (I think my daily fix, pre-E., was at least 2, and often 3, lattes a day).

Also, having felt rather deprived and pathetic all the time I couldn’t have it, I now approach my coffees with more respect and appreciation. It always takes being without those you love, eh?


5 thoughts on “Coffee (+ bonus pregnancy factors)

  1. Oanh 17/04/2009 / 9:47 am

    >oh grr. I just posted a comment and tried to use open ID and I’m told I don’t own grr grr grrI think I’ll distil my comment to only two points:Congrats on sprog # 2!England’s coffee making was so bad that the opening of Starbucks lifted the standard of coffee making here.

  2. tseen 22/04/2009 / 6:41 am

    >Thanks, O.! Am getting rather whale-like now, so will be happy to be own person (sort of, kind of) again after late June…I’ve always really disliked Starbucks coffee – was exposed to it a lot when I was in Canada and, yes, I thought it was better than the other stuff floating around…(and this, as we know, says less about Starbucks and more about the abysmal state of coffee in surrounding outlets!!). I’ve heard v. similar laments to yours re the state of UK coffee places. The colleague in question is now back in Oz – unfortunately for his coffee-loving self, in Syd rather than Melb… 😉

  3. scp 27/04/2009 / 7:42 am

    >Ahh coffee! I was told one a day is ok. I always tried to ask for a “very weak flat white”. L always did a few tumbles if it was always stronger than a v. weak one. Prob. why he ended up in breech position ;)He’s turned out ok. Oh god and avoiding sashimi was so difficult. I had my first sashimi meal whilst pregnant the evening before I went in for the birth. I figured it was close enough to the end and he was full term enough. Do Japanese mum’s continue eating sashimi?? I also drank a lot of raspberry tea (uterine toning?) only to find out that you shouldn’t tone the uterus until near the end. And a lot of fennel tea towards the end to bring in the milk. The best coffee I’ve had is a local one (that you can now get in melbourne). it’s called Five Senses. hmmmmGod…it was so difficult during those breastfeeding days when I stopped drinking coffee altogether. 15 months.

  4. scp 27/04/2009 / 7:45 am

    >Qantas inflight magazine this month has a feature on cool cafes in LA. Some of those places look tres funky.

  5. tseen 29/04/2009 / 11:52 pm

    >SCP – Yes, my sis declared that women in Japan must still eat sashimi and those in Italy must still eat salami so what’s all the fuss about?! (she’s a bit of a sceptic, you might say) I also take the listeria hysteria (heh) with a big grain of salt. It’s one of those things that you get bludgeoned with during pregnancy, along with myriad other guilt-inducing factors, yet every person I’ve talked to and many doctors say they’ve never had (or heard of) a case in recent decades in Australia. AND the ‘soft cheeses’ thing in terms of Australian cheeses is mostly bogus because Oz cheeses are almost all made from pasteurised milk (therefore, listeria wouldn’t survive). You’d only need to be careful if you were eating exotic imports that were made from untreated milk. I think coffee is ok to have during pregnancies. I decided to cut back because I knew if I didn’t get into better habits during the pregnancy, going cold turkey once I was bfding would be a great challenge…

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