>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.
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?