Test Your Coffee Knowledge - How to Make and Enjoy the Top Coffee Drinks
Cup of Joe - American Coffee
When in Rome...
Did you know that it is a big no-no to drink a cup of coffee with milk after lunch? Italians cringe when they hear foreigners ask for cappuccino, or any coffee drinks made with milk like macciatto. After lunch, only a short black cup of espresso is considered acceptable. Nothing else makes sense to them on a full stomach of food.
How it all began
- How Coffee Began - a History of Coffee and its Devel...
Coffee has been in fashion for at least five hundred years. First discovered in Ethiopia it made its way to Turkey and the East then to Europe. By the 1700s coffee was making its debut in the New World, first in the Caribbean then to Brazil by way of
Espresso - Some Like It Strong
The morning coffee ritual is an international one, thanks to the widespread acceptance of the coffee bean as a light, but effective drug. Caffeine enables students, workers, housewives and executives the pick up and go they need to get started in the morning, usually after not enough sleep or a stressful work week. Coffee quickens the pulse, getting the body in a mode to face a new day. If one cup is not enough, by all means, have another!
European Coffee Drinking Culture
A big coffee drinking culture evolved from the economic reality that a meal out was simply out of reach. Instead of "let's do lunch" it became "let's go have coffee". Coffee is not something to gulp down in traffic, hurried and distracted. NOOOE. Instead, coffee is savored. It requires sitting in a lovely spot, preferably with a friend or colleague, savored slowly and partaken with tiny, tantalizing sips. The sugar, if added, is stirred slowly and thoroughly in the coffee drink. It is a matter of taste whether you prefer "warmed milk" or "cold milk". Many coffee lovers prefer cold milk in the summer, not just because of the temperature, but to avoid the likelihood of getting food poisoning, depending upon the practices of the coffee establishment.
White sugar? Brown sugar? One or two? These are important matters of consideration. Some coffee drinkers take great pride in having their own special combination.
A Few Places Known for Good Coffee
- Wellington, New Zealand
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Paris, France
- Vienna, Austria
- Trieste, Italy
The Professional Approach
Middle Eastern Specialty
When you think about the sweet middle eastern pastries like baklava, drinks like Turkish coffee really pair up well with them. Dark as hell and sweet as love, Turkish coffee is brewed up in a tiny, metal pot on the stove. It doesn't require a filter. Also known as "cowboy coffee" it is brewed up quickly and simply and will wake you up in a jiffy.
How to Make Turkish Coffee!
And For Dessert...
- How to Make Middle Eastern / Turkish / Dalmatian Bak...
This classic middle eastern dessert has become a Dalmatian specialty. Made of fine pita dough, freshly ground walnuts, lemon and vanilla flavored syrup, it is an easy to make dessert recipe for guests and for special occasions. Best when served with
My Impressions of American Coffee Culture
Americans love newfangled, Europeans love tried and true.
Mocha coffee is a chocolate hint in the strong brewed coffee combined with milk and preferrably, milk foam. Containing more calories than a normal cup of coffee, it can serve as an afternoon boredom breaker at the office when blood sugar level is low. One of the easiest ways to make this is mix half a package of instant cocoa into a fresh brewed cup of coffee, add cold milk and stir so that no lumps are formed from the cocoa.
Americans love good old fashioned watered down coffee, which I honestly don't care for - but that's OK - coffee keeps the working world alive and well. The coffee drinking scene on Twin Peaks is a classic "Damned Good Coffee"!
White Coffee with Mocha
Popular Coffee Toppings
What to sprinkle on top of the foamed milk? Here are some favorites:
- shaved chocolate
- powdered vanilla
- nutmeg (sparingly)
Most Americans use a coffee maker like Mr. Coffee. It uses cold water, and with the help of electricity, boils the water and brews it through a coffee filter which sits in the upper compartment. The result is a great brew, but you will need more than one cup. Americans tend to gulp their coffee, dumping what they don't drink or watering their plants with it. Resembling brown water, it is less effective than Turkish coffee or espresso which is much more concentrated.
Taking It With You
Automatic Coffee Maker
Macciato, the stained, or marked, espresso
Calorie Tip: For those who drink a lot of milky coffee drinks, consider using Non Fat or Low Fat milk. Coffee drinks with high milk fat can add up. A sneaky source of calories, most coffee houses automatically serve whole milk unless you tell them otherwise.
Easier on the Stomach
The short black and Turkish coffee versions are great after a long night or for those who have a pretty strong, ironed clad stomach. Depending on how sensitive the person, a little bit of bread, biscotti or similar can be eaten before the first black coffee - especially when taken first thing in the morning. There are those who have a short black with a cigarette at 6 am, which is too much a shock for me, at least.
Clouds in My Coffee
If you need a little cushion first thing in the morning, there are levels of milk cushioning. The macchiato contains the least amount of milk - just a dab to mark the espresso. It's great for the afternoon wake up call, too.
The cafe au lait is half warmed milk and half brewed coffee, which is still kind of a lightweight coffee drink. It's a good choice for an exec that has to meet with clients all day with the obligatory cup of coffee. You won't get wired on this baby, and because it's larger, it can be leisurely enjoyed and savored.
Even more milk? Well the cappuccino uses 2/3 milk BUT the drink is made with dark and strong espresso beans. So technically, it's about a tie with the Cafe Au Lait.
The Cappuccino especially lends itself to an optional spice or chocolate topping, adding to the flavor combinations.
Popular Coffee Drinks
Short black espresso
Brew ground espresso in an Italian coffee machine and serve, with or without sugar
Good anytime of day. It may cause sleeplessness, however and may be limited to daytime
Coffee with milk - steamed
Brew ground coffee in a similar machine. In a separate pot using a long nozzle, bob the pot up and down to create foam and serve.
Acceptable to drink any time of day, only not immediately after a meal. (Milk after meals is not reccommended.)
Coffee with milk - cold
Same as the above, simply add cold milk from the carton and gently stir.
This is a good choice in the summer when it is hot, and milk may go bad when reheated more than once in a commercial coffee shop.
White Coffee / Cafe Au lait
Consisting of Brewed coffee with heated milk, at a 50-50% ratio.
Commercial whiteners may be substituted.
Consisting of a shot of brewed espresso, it's "marked" with a teasponful of milk foam.
Macchiato means "marked" in Italian.
Prepared in three layers, first is brewed espresso, then latte (warm milk) and finally, milk foam.
The top of the foam can be dusted with cinnamon, chocolate powder, etc.
Brewed in a pot with boiling hot water and plenty of sugar. Once the coffee grounds fall to the bottom, the contents are carefully poured into tiny cups.
The bubbly coffee foam (the "best part") is individually spooned out to each guest.
Three Toned Cappuccino
Allergic to Milk?
Many lactose sensitive or intolerant coffee lovers have turned to the surprisingly tasty substitute of soy milk. Some soy milks are even flavored - vanilla, chocolate and low fat varieties, so have a ball. In Europe they cost a small fortune but in the US the prices are much more price competitive. Best of all, it foams up like a dream!.
(Health Note: It is said that Soy Milk is great for women going through the change of life, menopause.)
The South American and Mexican cultures are long familiar with rice milk. I have never used it but it could probably be a delicious milk substitute to dilute your cup of Joe with.
Other Milk Substitutes
My mother used to use Mocha Mix - that is the only other one that comes to mind (except for dry powders like Coffee Mate).