Inspiration comes in many forms. It could be the birth of a child, a near death experience, illness, maybe just seeing someone else do something, and thinking “I want to do that!“
Since Christmas, something I have positively lacked, is inspiration. I barely touched my camera, the few photos I did take were of my equipment, much of which I had to sell to fund a new gearbox on my car.
Things were getting me down, my favourite lenses were gone, the weather is horrible and I just didn’t have the “get up and go“ to go shoot anything… I lacked inspiration.
That is, until I found coffee!
I’ve always loved coffee, I used to drink silly amounts, but always instant, and nothing fancy. When I first met my wife, some 12 years ago, I fell out of love with coffee for a brief spell. Her family were tea drinkers, and I picked up the habit, very rarely did I have coffee.
The following years, I started getting back into drinking coffee, again just instant, or if we were out somewhere, just a “white coffee, no sugar“. It must have been about 2 years ago, that I was watching TV, and a commercial for a large electrical retailer came on, and announced a discount on a Gaggia espresso machine, reduced by some 40%. On a whim, I went onto the website and ordered one.
I’d never drank espresso before, in fact if truth be told, I still haven’t had a “proper“ espresso made by someone who actually knows what they are doing, but I digress. Why I wanted an espresso machine, I have no idea, but there it was, on the worktop, looking all shiny and somewhat intimidating.
It was a Gaggia Cubika Plus, a budget model espresso machine, but to me, It was like I had joined the ranks of some exquisite London coffee bar.. This machine put me back in love with coffee, and everyday, Id make myself an Americano, using shop bought preground coffee.. To me it tasted fine, but something was missing.
For reasons unknown to me, I started researching on the internet about coffee and how to make my drinks better. This opened up a whole new can of worms.
If you thought photography was expensive, then think again.. There are some hardcore coffee people out there, who will spend upwards of £1000 just on a coffee bean grinder, yet alone the actual machine to make the stuff!
However something was drawing me into this bizarre new world.. Before, coffee was coffee, but now it was becoming more. I started to realise, much like photography, the more you put into it, the more you get out in return. No longer could I be satisfied with a cup of instant brown gloop.. I wanted real coffee, and I wanted it now!
That’s when things went wrong. I was all set to upgrade my coffee machine which had served me well for 2 years. I wanted a bigger and better model, which offered me greater flexability, and room to upgrade.. Then one Saturday just after Xmas, my car went bang, and my gearbox had decided to leave this world..
The following weeks saw my bank account drained, and most of my photo gear sold. Coffee had to take a backseat, and it seemed it would for sometime.
That was until February 14th. I came home from work, opened the front door and went into the kitchen, where on the counter was a big box with a ribbon around it.. It was a Gaggia Classic espresso machine. The very machine I had been looking to buy weeks before. I hadn’t told anyone, so how was this possible?
It turns out my wife is somewhat the sleuth. I had mentioned I’d like to upgrade the Cubika, but I’d never said to what. She had been online and searched out the recommended machine for someone like me, just getting into the serious side of coffee.
So this was it, I had the machine I wanted, and I had done the research to try to learn how to make a great coffee. I’d also invested in some other bits and pieces, essential to coffee making.
As I usually do, when I start a new hobby, I find a good source of information. For this venture it was the UK Coffee Forums (http://coffeeforums.co.uk)
Here is a vast array of info, some which is far beyond my skills, but one section which instantly drew my attention was the “show your setup“ section. In here, people post photos of their machines and grinders, photos of them making shots and preparing the drinks.. This was something that I had never conceived before, people actually take photos of themselves making coffee??
Well, it would be rude not to try myself, wouldn’t it?
So, I had found inspiration in the most unlikely place.. The journey took years in the making, but here I am, in 2013 taking photos of myself making coffee.. I think up until this time, I had only taken about 30 photographs since New Year, now I cant wait to get home, turn on the machine and set up some more photographs. Its given me something to plan, and to look forward to. Who knows how long it will last, or where it will lead, but for the first time in quite a while, I’m really enjoying photography again, and have a new energy and passion..
All thanks to a humble drink.