I’ve long held that coffee is an essential writing fuel. Of course, it’s not what it used to be. Luckily.
When I was a kid in 1970s New Zealand, ‘bought coffee’ came in pyrex containers that had been left on the edge of restaurant buffet tables to stew through the day and turn into a kind of funny brown liquid that looked like, but wasn’t, mud.
Today? Smorgasbords with drip-filter coffee bars are long gone and instead we’ve got a bewildering array of Italianate names for different ways of mixing hot water and ground coffee beans at high pressure but only 68 degrees C in a machine that looks like a mutant Dalek and sounds like a K4 class steam locomotive. Of course, really they all lead to the same thing. Viz:
- Cup of coffee. What it says.
- Espresso. As (1), but less water and more ground coffee beans.
- Americano. As (2), but more water and less ground coffee beans (this makes it exactly the same as (1), but for some reason it has a different name).
- Ristretto. As (1), but less water and less ground coffee beans, making it a miniature (1), which probably explains why it’s served in a demi-tasse cup, so it looks exactly the same as (1) anyway, only smaller.
- Mocchacino. As (1), but with chocolate powder and foamed milk poured into it. I have no idea why anybody would want to ruin great coffee by adding instant migrane starter to it, but there you are.
- Capuccino. As (1), but with foamed milk poured into it, thus creating a kind of warm foamy milkshake, and if I wanted to have one of those I’d have gone to a soda siphon, thank you.
See what I mean?
As for me? I drink Journalist Coffee, which is the same as (1) only with a lot more ground coffee beans in it. I would add Hemingway-style Traditional Scottish Amber Coloured Writing Additive (single malt variety) to the mix, but I hardly ever touch that stuff, and if I did, I wouldn’t ruin it with coffee.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015