Christmas in the company of three special friends…

During these lockdowns, I have noticed many more people wandering around with a hot drink carton in their hands. Last week a man passed me. He appeared deep in thought, holding the carton to his cheek, almost affectionately I thought. As if it were a necessary friend, or companion. I accept that you will call me fanciful, and I admit it was a cold morning, but as I see more people with either coffee or tea on the go, it strikes me that for them it has become more than just a drink. More like a necessary companion, almost like a friend. That going out for a coffee has given them a focus that will help to make some sense of their day.

This Christmas and New Year is going to be very different for us all. Like many of you, I won’t physically be with my family because of the circumstances we all know about. (Plans are afoot for us to have a Christmas meal via Zoom!)  I am sure, like you, I will miss the physical contact so much. But having seen people with their “coffee on the go” and how necessary and how important it is to them,  I wonder, perhaps I should think about my coffee and tea in a new way. More like “friends”, companions to be enjoyed,  who will be there come what may?

Admittedly two of my friends, coffee and tea, have historically, had an uneasy relationship with each other. Though both were sold in the same Coffee Houses that first introduced them. Over the years, they have achieved their own following and enthusiasts. Sometimes this has become something of a heated rivalry. Of course, when our American cousins threw the tea overboard in Boston Harbour and then wholeheartedly embraced coffee as their first love, while we in Great Britain looked to India and tea, it didn’t foster the relationships

Personally, I love them both. Both are good friends. But, of course, as with some of my human friends, they need to be appreciated and enjoyed, separately.

But there is a third friend, Chocolate. Chocolate, to be enjoyed just for itself, or with either of my other friends. Chocolate when experienced with coffee or tea, neither overwhelms or is overwhelmed by its companion, but can lead us into another world of taste experience. Together they can produce sheer delight.

This year my friend Chocolate will not simply be a fine Chocolate, but acknowledged World Class Chocolate from the craftmanship of Iain Burnett, the multi-award-winning Highland Chocolatier. His Velvet Truffles have won over 40 awards including twice winning World Gold at the International Chocolate awards.

For a very strong coffee after a Christmas lunch or dinner, to sit back and enjoy the experience of our Creole Blend with Iain’s Dark Velvet Truffle, a version of which was awarded The World’s Best Dark Truffle, will be a moment to savour.

My afternoon enjoyment of our Ceylon Dimbula takes on a new meaning when accompanied by Iain’s White Lime and Hint of Chilli Velvet Truffle.

I am spoilt for choice, but I shall definitely be enjoying our very own Mocha Velvet Truffle that Ian has crafted using our signature Kibo Chagga. My father would have loved his discovery of Chagga coffee being used in the creation of this deliciously indulgent way to end a meal. He loved chocolate. I remember him pretending to take two chocolates when a box was passed around. I think of his hands, large workman’s hands, kindly hands, and him winking at me as my mother and sister exploded with indignation. He loved winding them up and getting my mother laughing.

As I write this at the beginning of December, everyone at H. R. Higgins (Coffee-man) Ltd., is working all hours to fulfil your orders and we all send our thanks for your orders and support during the year. I will just remind you that Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate make great thank you gifts after Christmas, and into the New Year.

I will try not to eat all the chocolates myself, but save some for those in my “bubble”.  I will try very hard!  I wonder, how would my Father have coped with that challenge?

With my very best wises

Tony Higgins