Heroes aren’t always found on sporting fields- or comic books. Sometimes they are hidden in the shadows, preferring not to steal the spotlight. My nonna is such a person. Many who know her will attest to the truth of this statement. I often reflect upon my love for coffee, and recall the countless times I’ve heard nonna say she can’t end the day unless she’s had a coffee. If you visit her home, chances are the kettle will be already on in anticipation of a visitor, and a plate of homemade biscuits are always ready for the taking. People often tell me how generous I am with coffee- yes, I share beans when they are gifted to me. I learnt the joy of giving from nonna. She’s mastered the art of giving.
I spent many a Sunday morning in this kitchen during my childhood. The aroma that would permeate the house when nonna was cooking, was nothing short of exquisite. Sheer culinary delight, made with love. The Calabrese way. From her famous golden grispelli, right through to the staple at just about every meal – Pasta asciutta, with her red rich sugo. Not to forget the ample batches of pastries and biscotti- usually filled with homemade plum jam. Nonna learnt to live off the land, growing everything she nourished her family with. This generation has a strength and resilience modern society sadly lacks. Not only did she teach me the magic food could possess, but nonna taught me vital life lessons. This gentle natured doll has patience beyond belief, and courage to match. Like many who migrated to this land in hope of a better future, she faced her fair share of trials and tribulations. Yet, shes never become bitter, and always embraces you with a tender hug. No matter what time of day it is (and yes – I’m known to arrive at 7am ‘per un caffe’), Nonna always has a smile on her face, and does anything for her family. Even if it means brewing filter coffee.
Today she took to the iconic Chemex brewer like a pro- and what resulted was an experience beyond which the five senses could conceive. For the record- she loved the fragrance of the freshly ground Ethiopian Guji, and raised her cup to my social media world when I told her I would share this image via Tess Presso.
Life is a journey of discovery, and today we discovered she still has it in her, to brew a stellar cup. Two years ago I taught her how to use the v60 Hario. Today she nailed the Chemex. It brought tears to my eyes, knowing this lady I admire so much, can appreciate the beauty of a Natural Ethiopian coffee. Her resounding words, “you’re never too old to learn”, echoed through my mind all day.
Yet again, I’ve learnt more from being in her presence, than she’ll ever realise. I’m a better person for having her in my life.