A love of coffee.
I have always liked coffee and was always fascinated by speciality coffee.
That said, the term speciality coffee has changed its meaning repeatedly over the years. For decades, speciality coffee meant splashing out on a jar of Gold Blend. Posh, or what?
It was then decided, probably at a fancy marketing meeting, that adding the name of the country of origin to the label would make it sound even more special. With a choice of Brazil, Costa Rica and Kenya to choose from, we all became award winning baristas as we poured the boiling water onto the dehydrated granules.
Fancy a coffee?
Today, our love affair with the black gold is stronger than ever, and with the backing of serious science we all have more reason than ever to drink it.
As everyone knows, the term ‘Are you coming in for coffee?’ actually means ‘Since we are both pissed, do you fancy a shag?’ But, it turns out that coffee could be more beneficial to your bedtime routine than you thought. As well as the fact that the caffeine will help you avoid nodding off during foreplay, there is also evidence of it reducing erectile dysfunction and increasing semen volume. But, it is not just our sex lives that can benefit from this wonder drug. It can also ward off Alzheimer’s, reduce tinnitus (in women), ward off Alzheimer’s, stimulate hair growth (in men and women) and ward off Alzheimer’s.
These factors may go some of the way to explain the exponential growth of coffee houses around the world, but what exactly does the modern speciality coffee seller offer? Essentially, you have an endless combination of the same thing dressed up to look like an exotic Italian cocktail. Cappuccino, Frappuccino, Frothaccino, Foamaccino, Crappoccino, the list is endless. The product however is far from endless and is either coffee with frothy milk or… no, hang on, that’s it. Just endless variations of coffee with frothy milk.
Black coffee without milk!
If drinking speciality coffee is so contemporary, trendy and cool, why do I say drinking black coffee makes you look stupid?
The answer is a combination of three things. The lack of a universal naming convention, the lack of staff training, and the employment of fuckwits. As someone who does not ‘do dairy’ I drink my coffee black, but it is nigh on impossible to order a black coffee. My usual choice is an Americano, which, according to every source I can possibly find, is a shot of espresso topped up with hot water. By its very definition it should be a black coffee, and you would think that this was quite a simple recipe to follow, but no. For some reason, the coffee shop world has taken it upon itself to make me feel stupid.
Black coffee doesn’t have milk!
In one coffee shop I ask for an Americano, and the chap taking the order asks if I want milk, as if I am too stupid to complete my order. No. Americano is black, so I don’t want milk, cheese or fucking fries with it!
On another day, in another coffee shop, I decide to pander to their stupidity. Working on the premise that the chap will undoubtedly be an imbecile I ask for a black Americano. “Americano is black,” says the chap with a smug grin of superiority. I clearly can’t win. Until the world decides on a globally recognised name for a black coffee, I am destined to be the idiot who doesn’t know what he is asking for.
The one thing that many of these speciality coffee shops has in common is the fact that they sell nothing approaching speciality coffee. It is like calling a burger joint a speciality steak house because they offer burgers with cheese, bacon or au naturel. Speciality coffee is about fincas, varieties and processing techniques. If your coffee shop staff think pacamara is the yellow Teletubby and pulped natural is a John Travolta sequel, then you are not in a specialist coffee shop.
I often find the best coffee is to be found on my doormat. Many years ago I discovered a subscription service from a company called Hasbean and each week I get a packet of freshly roasted beans delivered by post. The downside is that having drunk really good coffee, anything else tastes revolting. The upside is that I can drink it as black as I like, and no one is there to make me feel stupid.