Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Another Coffee Mystery

'A small dry cappuccino,' the chap after me at the coffee stand on Victoria station said. Just like that, as if he was in a pub asking for a dry white wine. The barista didn't turn a hair (though she'd given a look of startled incomprehension, eyes darting from side to side, when I'd asked for my single espresso - I think I have a problem with articulate speech before 10 in the morning). A 'dry cappuccino', eh? What the hey would that be? Cappuccino in powder form? Cappuccino with a shot of angostura bitters? I've written before about the mysteries of the White Americano - now here was a new one. Tragically I have since done an online search and discovered the sorry truth - it's a cappuccino with more foamed milk than steamed milk, whereas the reverse is a 'wet cappuccino', and a cappuccino with all foamed milk is a 'bone-dry cappuccino'. Can coffee possibly get any more complicated? 
By way of contrast, things are still straightforward in some quarters. Lunching in a Buckinghamshire pub at the weekend, with my brother and mother, coffee was ordered - and what turned up was three cups of  milky, barely dissolved, dishwater-grey instant. I didn't drink it, of course, but it took me back to those simpler times before Britain discovered real coffee, in all its ever expanding, ever more complicated variety.

10 comments:

  1. My wife recently reintroduced me to coffee with something called a flat white. Flat? If ever there were a contradiction in terms, it's this. I've been buzzing for days.

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  2. Apparently, it's an Australian/New Zealand invention. I don't know what I think about that.

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  3. large cup strong black coffee (sweetened to.taste), liberal splash of dark rum (2 units), 1/4" of double cream (drizzled, you know how)...it's called "rocket fuel", guaranteed to launch you out of your hammock!

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  4. Joey Joe Joe Jr.14 March 2013 at 00:06

    There's a difference between steamed milk and foamed milk? Both sound pretty grim to me, but then again I've a bit of dairy-phobia. Steam it, heat it, foam it, shake it, it still smells like it's been extracted from a cow to me.

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  5. Quite agree, Joey - best avoided!

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  6. Spending as I do, quite a lot of time in Spain and Italy, it is the obsession with volume that rather gets on my tits in Blighty these days. In Londinium even the smallest waxed-paper cup seems like a small bucket - compared with the delightful china cup + biccy + sugar sachet that I have just downed in Cancelada (pop: 685) near Estepona, Andalucia. Do we really need all that fluid? And the price? Euro 1.25 - at today's exchange rate about a quid. Discuss.

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  7. The 25,000 varieties of coffee-and-milk remind me of the scene in "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" where Myrna Loy describes to the painters in exquisite detail the subtle nuances of the very special blue, green, and yellow she wants her room painted. And when she leaves, one painter turns to the other and says, "You got that?" "Yeah. Blue, green, yellow."

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