The Inimitable Coffee?
I boiled some water on a portable gas stove. Since water drawn from the town well was better tasting than even ‘Delicious Water’ brand bottled water,1 I was using that.
Then I measured out four level spoonfuls of medium-grind powder.
I tried to pour the hot water exactly the way I had seen on YouTube.
Incidentally, mere seconds before quitting my job, I had hurled my smartphone at the ground and smashed it, so I had been going to a manga cafe on the other side to watch YouTube. Incidentally, all of my Amazon and Rakuten orders were also placed from the manga cafe.
As I poured out a thin trickle of hot water, a pleasant aroma began to waft upwards.
“What’s thaaat? What’s thaaat?”
As planned, the idiot elf bounced her way over to me, drawn in by the scent.
And, eyes glittering with anticipation, she made the exact expression a dog makes when it’s hoping to get a treat.
“That smells kind of fragrant. Fragrant. Fragrant.”
The idiot elf pressed up against me and observed my hands closely.
Argh. So annoying.
I’m about to start the all-important second pour. So get your supple body off of me! You’re ruining my concentration!
“Is it a drink? A drink? A drink?”
Why was she repeating herself three times?
“I’m repeating things three times if they’re important.”
And why was she answering my thoughts?
“Master. Master. Master. What’s that? A drink? A drink from the other world?”
“Heh heh heh. This? This is only one of the most popular drinks in the world I’m from,” I said.
I was making coffee.
I had been taken with a sudden craving for coffee, so I had picked up the makings along with the day’s purchasing.
If all I had wanted was a simple drink, canned or instant coffee would have been easiest, but I figured it would be better to bring over the real deal.
So I had brought over a set of equipment: a coffee mill, a measuring spoon, a dripper, paper filters, and so on. And, of course, most important of all: coffee beans.
It was more for myself than to sell.
Maybe I could offer a coffee service, though.
I had never made real coffee before, so I had needed to research how on YouTube.
And now, my studies were compete.
But maybe smashing my smartphone had been going overboard? Oh, well. It’s not like I could have gotten reception over here. Could I? Was that really the case? Maybe I should test that soon.
I poured the hot water in a circle. Round and round in a circle was how to do it. I had seen that on YouTube.
“Hey, Master? Which is this? Brown or pitch black?”
“That’s the question all right. That’s coffee for you.”
“Oh, really? Hmm. Hmm. Hmm.”
The elf girl was fascinated.
She kept herself pressed against me and stared at my hands.
Actually, the back of her head was in my way. I couldn’t see my hands.
As the smell of her hair wafted up from her blonde head, I was reminded of the fact that she was a girl.
“I splurged a bit on the beans. They’re the most expensive kind,” I said, looking pleased with myself.
It felt really good, the way the elf girl acted when intrigued.
Well, I had expected this.
She would get fascinated by anything having to do with food. Because she was an idiot. An idiot elf.
“Hmm, hmm, hmm. So these are beans that are roasted and made into powder? What kind of beans?”
“What kind was it? ‘Ha–’ something. ‘Hawaiian Kona’. Wait…? ‘Hawaii Kona’? Anyway, it was the most expensive kind,” I said.
A luxury costing 2679 yen (tax included) for 200 grams.
“In other words, the best kind.”
“I can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait to try it.”
That was something important? She had repeated it three times.
“Aah!!” the elf girl cried as if she had suddenly realized something, and she pushed away from me.
“Master. Tell me! You weren’t planning to do something nasty like drink this ‘kah-fee’ stuff all by yourself and not give me any? Were you?”
The elf girl moved a ways away.
She turned a damp-eyed gaze on me.
How low is your opinion of me?
Surely you don’t think me that much of a fiend, do you?
“Don’t worry. I’m the generous type. If you spin around three times and say ‘woof’, I’ll think about maybe giving—”
That was fast!
She had spun around and barked without a moment’s thought.
“Woof! Woof! Woo-oof!”
And even barked three times!
Was it that important to her!?
“OK, OK, OK. I’ll give you some. And anyway, I made enough for two from the start. Go get two cups.”
“Woof! Woof! Woo-oof!”
The puppy-elf brought two of the mugs we offered for sale.
I poured out the black, hot passion liquid into them.
Huh? Did the patterns on the cups match?
Making me the same as the idiot elf!? Well, whatever.
The elf girl took her cup carefully with two hands.
She drew the cup to herself with both hands, seeming to gaze into her own face reflected in the liquid.
“Some people also serve coffee with milk and sugar. But connoisseurs drink it just as it is. People call that drinking it ‘black’.”
“Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Master, you’re amazing. Amazing. Amazing.”
“Wahahaha. Praise me more. Worship the ground I walk on.”
“So. Can I drink this now? Can I? Can I? Can I?”
She had said that four times. Was it that important? Holy shit.
“Go on,” I told her.
I felt like letting the begging puppy go on and have its treat.
The puppy may have been an idiot, but on vanishingly rare occasions, I thought she was an adorable idiot.
“Here I go. Go. Go… Ow-ow-ow—hot!”
“Calm down. It’s hot. You go ‘phoo phoo’ to cool it before drinking.”
A total idiot.
“Phoo. Phoo. Phoo. Phoo.”
The elf girl was blowing just like I had shown her.
A totally adorable idiot.
After cooling it enough, she took a sip.
Shock instantly spread across her face.
I chuckled to myself. I had enchanted the residents of this world with my otherworldly goods so many times already. And now the lovely elf girl would be impressed with the deliciousness of my cof—
The lovely elf girl had coffee streaming from her mouth. It dribbled right out.
“Waaah! Th—that’s disgusting! Wrong direction, you fool!”
“It—it’s bitter. Master. What is this? What iiiis this drink?”
“Huh? It’s bitter?”
I took a sip of my own coffee.
“Ah, yeah. It is bitter. But don’t you think it’s good?”
“It’s…just bitter. Is this a kind of medicine or something? I don’t have anything wrong with me.”
“Something’s wrong with your brain,” I said, drinking my coffee.
This is so delicious, though.
The idiot elf never developed a taste for coffee. Even when I put sugar in it for her.
But when I threw in a mountain of sugar for her and diluted the coffee by half with milk—
Was it a coffee milk?2
Actually, I had never checked whether the animal the milk came from was a cow.
Anyway, when I diluted her coffee by half with the milk of some kind of farm animal and made an other-world-style coffee milk for her…
…she happily pronounced it “sweet!” and was able to enjoy it at last.
Later, I took some coffee to Auntie, the dwarven blacksmith and a few others, but they all grimaced like it was too bitter.
There wasn’t a single one of them who called it “delicious.”
Coffee was not an inimitable success.
So, for that day, C-Mart was filled with grimaces rather than smiles.