Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Krakatoa coffee

Coffee filter image from fantes

A couple of weeks ago my daughter brought home a ceramic Japanese coffee filter cone and trained me to use it properly.

"Don't rush, Mom," she cautioned. "Just pour the water slowly, like this, so you keep the bloom." She indicated the sea of shiny whitish bubbles that rose when she poured the water slowly into the middle.

"That releases the oils and gives a good flavour," she told me.

Recently, I've been listening to Simon Winchester in the car. His luminous prose has carried me around our volcanic earth, beginning with his days as a student geologist in northern Greenland.

Now we're back in Java and Sumatra, near the Wallace Line that divides the flora and fauna of the archipelago. We've been spending time in Batava, now known as Jakarta.

The story is building to the explosion of Krakatoa in 1883, when the volcanic island blew itself out of the water. The cataclysm spewed a mighty volume of ash that blurred earth's atmosphere, changed weather worldwide and made sunsets glow red for a year.

I gazed down into the coffee filter and time slowed down. The bubbles began to rise, and I witnessed something astonishing. The inside of the cone seemed to come alive as the rising foam boiled and swirled.

For a moment, I felt I was gazing down into an erupting Krakatoa.

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