on leaving school at the end of sixth year, i took a summer job with the catering company that serviced the terminal buildings at prestwick airport. my employers had staff placed in the so-called aerogrill, the kitchens that supplied food to the very same restaurant and the bar that welcomed prospective diners. there were also employees populating the nattily monikered tartan kitchen, offering snacks, teas, coffees and surprisingly expensive breakfasts. there were also staff busy in the international departure lounge, an area referred to throughout the airport as airside for fairly obvious reasons.
with great good fortune i was offered a position in the central stores, a department hidden away in the depths of the terminal building featuring largish rooms filled with biscuits, cakes, beer, spirits, cleaning products, freezers, walk-in chills and everything you'd figure would be needed to keep a catering franchise running twenty-four hours a day. one of the principal benefits of working for a catering company was the almost endless supply of food on tap at all times of the day. though there were naturally enough, descriptive break times to which we were required to adhere, any peckishness that inflicted itself at other times could almost always be satisfied, even if surreptitiously.
not being in the public eye, per se, presented major benefits both by way of designer scruff and how we, or more likely, the storeman scheduled the day's list of jobs that required to be done. however, the very nature of the stores' location, meant that there was no defined means of entry; via the back stairs from the rooftop cafeteria, similarly from the main kitchen, or by front and rear entrances. though such a panoply of access routes offered many an emergency exit on lazy weekends, should a member of management feel the need for an unannounced visit, we were remarkably vulnerable.
though the daily travail was somewhat different from a previously sheltered life at school, those unannounced management visits were obviously an addendum to murphy's law. on more occasions than i can truthfully recount, after taking in a string of deliveries and stowing them in their appropropriate resting places while simultaneously delivering goods to impatient airport outlets, we'd sit down for a cup of tea and perchance an ill-gotten biscuit only for a smartly dressed manager to appear from nowhere and point out the iniquity of our unscheduled break.
the latter is scarcely an unusual happenstance. in offices, factories and warehouses all across the world, hard-working (or otherwise) employees are defying the man and indulging in tea or coffee and a biscuit when they really ought to be working. some may even have the option of dropping in at their local cafeteria or artisan roastery while an intensive board meeting takes place along the hall. in the chance that the latter is not an option open to most of us and assuming the majority do not work for catering establishments, there is a defined requirement for vittles and sustenance of which to partake during even a break that you're supposed to have.
as members of the pelotonese, even during those sneaky cuppas, standards have to be maintained. i'm figuring that if a small cubby-hole such as that inhabited by my colleagues and i can afford to have even a domestic sized espresso machine in the kitchen, then the bulk of the nation is in a similar position. but the question still remains what to put in it?
with such endless, repetitive mentions of the word break, it seems quite incredible that it's taken this long for some genius to translate that to the very java we all have need of to perk up the day. yet packets of freshly ground coffee, cleverly labelled break fluid have only just reached our visibility spectrum. their mission, as evinced on the break fluid website, is to deliver to our doorsteps, the best tasting, highest quality easy to brew coffee.
oddly enough, the intervening years since that first summer job have seen me find less of a need to take a break during working hours. apparently time flies when you're having fun, and lately the latter aspect seems to have doubled in size, to the extent that lunch is really the only time when i move from behind the imac. however, those quiet hours between the evening meal and bedtime demand a break all of their own, one that i have been most grateful to fill with a cup of break fluid espresso grind (a blend of brazil's fazenda ponte funda natural, tanzanian tweega aa washed and buena vista from el salvador) concocted in the trusty moka pot over one of the cooker's smaller rings.
as with every coffee grind, it takes a cup or two to determine the ideal ratio of water to coffee, a ratio that has been speedily achieved with my pack of break fluid. it may not offer the deep brown crema that can be fostered by the brasilia industrial machine at debbie's, but it does provide a more than satisfying cup to accompany a club orange biscuit (is it just me, or do they simply not taste the same any more?) or a dark chocolate kit kat.
break fluid coffee blends start at £7.50 for a 250g packet, providing approximately 15 cups of coffee, or single origin and decaff can be ordered from £8.50. prices include postage and packing. the coffees are despatched in foil envelopes which easily fit through a regular letterbox and they don't take long to arrive. the folks at break fluid will be happy to set up a subscription based on how much coffee you drink at each break, or you can order at random from the coffees on offer. as if to prove just how enthusiastic they are about the product, allow me to quote from the tasting notes for rocko mountain reserve - natural yirgacheffe ethiopia: strawberry laces and chocolate! "we love ethiopian naturals but this one is crazy! a total fruit bomb!" (their exclamation marks, not mine.)
everybody needs a break at sometime or other. it's nice to have some break fluid to match.
saturday 12 december 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................