I take my cafetières for granted – I have one at home and another at work – so it has taken a Korean guest to make me see them in a new light.
As you might expect, both cafetières are simply part of my everyday life. I use one before I set off on my commute to work each morning and then a second one when I get there. By mid-morning, I am meeting deadlines with a caffeine-fuelled energy.
For other people – such as our new lodger, Seungwan – the cafetière is something of a novelty, however.
He arrived late on Sunday evening following a delayed flight from Seoul. When we explained his breakfast options, he looked at us wide-eyed when we showed him the cafetière. They don’t have them in South Korea, apparently. (Or North Korea, I would imagine.)
It hadn’t occurred to me that this would be foreign to him. Here, they seem to have been around forever. Well, since the 1970s at any rate.
In France, they first appeared in the 1850s, and further refinements were made over the years, until 1958 when the design we know today was patented.
By the early 1960s, every house in France had one. In Britain, they became fashionable about a decade later.
Now machines such as the Nespresso appear to be taking over. I can’t help wondering whether, if we had one of those, Seungwan’s introduction to British breakfast culture might have involved less – or more – comic miming on my part.