On my departure for the UK Gwilym passed on to me his Starbucks and Costa loyalty cards.
Now I like coffee, but I do generally try to avoid the coffee store chains if I can. Easy in Bordeaux because we only have 'The French Coffee Shop' where the coffee is REALLY EXPENSIVE and comes in paper cups.
Anyway what did happen is that some friends took me to Colonna and Small, a coffee temple in Bath, where there are three types of coffee on offer any given day and they are prepared with scientific care, not to say fastidiously, and I have to be honest - the first cup I had there was life-changing.
It had character. That's what I'd say. It was like the difference between a really good baker's loaf of bread - say a caraway and poppy seed half rye half wheat bread and sliced Mother's Pride.
I was furious ! All subsequent cups of coffee would henceforth be "ok". What a disaster !
Subsequent thought produced a plan of action.
1) purchase a coffee grinder
2) find a coffee roaster in Bordeaux
3) keep a small supply of beans in the freezer and grind and prepare from time to time a really good cup of coffee.
Well I identified a grinder and ordered it from Amazon at a reasonable price. (it is a low-end, budget coffee mill ! these things get EXPENSIVE !)
Then came problem 2. I knew the name of one roaster in Pessac, whose beans are available in supermarkets, but how freshly roasted and what to choose ? I really wanted to talk to someone who could recommend beans. Google is my friend, so I searched and found a couple of places in Bordeaux.
Then serendipity struck. On our way back from enthralling Miss Woolley with the delights of Bordeaux Pat and I stumbled across an outlet for 'La Grange' just near the Hotel de Ville. I got talking to the lady. It seems JUST the kind of place I was looking for.
So the coffee geek is launched.