I didn’t exactly fall off the wagon, instead I gently climbed down the side to take a hit after 17 years. When I started my first full time job at 19 years of age I was pleased to discover the office drinks vending machine which dispensed various teas and coffees, hot chocolate and tomato soup, all through the same nozzle. I consoled myself with the hard reality of full time work with early morning cappuccinos from said machine.
At the same time I began to get frequent migraines. After a few head-splitting weeks I realised that my new coffee habit was the cause. I immediately stopped drinking coffee and remained abstinent until arriving in the laid back town of Salento (aged 36 and 3/4s) which is hidden in the countryside hills of middle Colombia.
We had heard of the legend that was Don Elias – a small time coffee farmer but big time personality and local legend. We took a serene country lane walk to his farm to take a tour. Don lived up to the hype: he wore a well worn cowboy hat, an ingrained smile and he greeted us warmly with handshakes and lots of chat.
We then took the tour with Don’s son, who had learnt his Dad’s charm but was also a bit left field. I’m pretty sure he was stoned judging by the many references to weed. At the end of the tour of their small but beautiful farm and a go at grinding sun dried beans Don’s seemingly pissed off wife brewed up some coffee. We drank it black with no sugar and it went down easily.
My 17 year abstinence was rewarded by a complete lack of migraine so we had time to explore more of the countryside, the good looking town square and the array of boutiques which didn’t stock the usual tourist tat. Despite being caffeine fuelled the town is a chilled out cowboy sorta place with beers being drunk slowly in the town square. We spent 2 days here and wished we could have stayed longer.