23.12.08

Snobbery: A Discourse on Proper Preparation as well as Physiological and Sociological Ramifications of Coffee

Arthur in Morrocco
Yeats once said that the pub is the poor mans university. I think there should be some equally clever epigram for cafes, probably uttered by Oscar Wilde. But I do not know of any. Anyway.

If you are better than everyone else, like myself, you know everything there is to know about the best and most esoteric ways to brew coffee. You might even have a big old book filled with black and white pictures that you keep on your coffee table. If you are not better than everyone else, you are in luck, because I am at my core a populist.

There are exactly three types of coffee worth drinking: Espresso, Turkish Coffee, and Joe. Each has proper venues for imbibement, and proper methods of imbibery. In lieu of a more intelligent method, I have created a chart listing important information regarding each for your benefit.

Espresso
Where - The bar in Rome
Local Appellation - Cafè, Gran Cafè
What - Good espresso is almost indistinguishable from extremely rich chocolate, the sugar is dissolved in the copious foam created on the top, and there should be no acrid aftertaste. It should be warm on the side of tepid. An accompanying spoon and glass of water will be necessary.
How - Sample the foam with a spoon, then drink half the liquid in one gulp, chase it with water. Slosh the remainder around to get any stubborn remaining foam centered over the espresso and finish it off, then down the water. Repeat as necessary.
Various Bastardizations - Anything attempted in the States. Anything attempted with locally roasted beans. Anything attempted without an Italian espresso machine.

Turkish Coffee
Where - Most Arab League countries
Local Appellation - Qahwa Turki
What - Turkish coffee has a very strong spicy tea flavor resulting from the fineness of the grounds and the cardemom that is added to the beans. There should be a thick cake of grounds at the bottom of the pot used for brewing and serving, and a pile of dirty foam on top.
How - Fill each finjan halfway with the coffee, then top them off with the remaining foam. Wait until palatable, it should start very hot.
Fun Fact - Muslim jurists decided not to outlaw Qahwa after it was proven that the Quran could be recited while one was under the influence. This may be an urban legend propagated by Turkish infidels to lead the faithful astray.

Joe
Where - Waffle house, Waffle steak, Steak and Shake, any nasty 24 hour diners really
Local Appellation - Coffee, Joe (antiquated)
What - Joe should be watery, but always surprisingly potent. Flavor prior to cream and sugar can range from virtually none to early morning rainforest mixed with charcaol.
How - Quantity more than compensates for quality in American coffee. All self respecting diners have free refills, and as they never close, one might in theory drink coffee until death for a buck fifty. It is by far the best form of caffeine for long, intellectual discussions.

Now you know. This treatise raises a number of dilemmas for a logical person. I will leave you to work them out yourself.

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