HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Sugar in my Coffee (2 msgs / 86 lines)
1) From: Sandy Andina
When I started drinking coffee in college, I was a confirmed cocoa and  
tea drinker--the tea with plenty of sugar (a habit picked up from  
childhood visits to Brooklyn's Cantonese restaurants, whose Oolong was  
usually strong and black and required lots of sugar).  I began my  
coffee drinking at the just-off-campus Chock Full O'Nuts, whose coffee  
was always dispensed with a generous dollop of half-and-half unless  
one requested it black.  At first I added two sugars; then when I  
joined Weight Watchers, the half-and-half was replaced by a packet of  
(yecch) powdered skim milk and the sugar by a couple of drops of  
Sucaryl smuggled in from a recent trip to Montreal (when the Sucaryl  
ran out I switched to Sweet'n'Low, which with saccharine replacing the  
cyclamate was and still is truly awful).  Occasionally, after a night  
at the Fillmore East we'd end the evening at Ferrarra in Little Italy,  
where I developed a taste for cappuccino. I used to marvel that I  
never needed to add sugar (never realizing that properly foaming milk  
caramelizes its sugars).
As to coffee, I developed a taste for it without the powdered skim  
milk, reasoning that the grayish color it produced was hardly  
appetizing.  After I got married and moved to Seattle (back in the day  
when the only coffeehouse was Last Exit on Brooklyn, which ground a  
week's worth of espresso at a time and thus was better known for its  
mochas and other foo-foo coffee drinks),  I drank my coffee black and  
sweetened, drinking either beans bought from Murchie's on trips to  
Vancouver or Eight O'Clock or Bokar (ground in a blender!) from the  
A&P.  One day I was grocery shopping at University Village, and  
noticed a brand-new store had opened across the way from QFC:   
Starbucks.  Back then they were strictly a bean, leaf, chocolate and  
spice vendor--the only drinks they offered were little samples of  
their coffees of the day (to which I always added sweetener--my faves  
were Nilgiri and Celebes Kalossi). At Christmas, a giant brass-and- 
copper espresso machine appeared behind the counter and free espresso  
macchiatti were given out. Of course, there was no need for sugar.  
After New Year, the machine disappeared (sold to a restaurant back  
East) and the airpot of black coffee reappeared. The smiling caffeine  
pusher behind the counter stopped me just before I added sweetener to  
my Celebes (now Sulawesi)--"Here, little girl, try it straight."
And thus began my aversion to putting sugar into anything but espresso  
or strong Oolong.  As to the espresso, I mistakenly thought that  
taking it straight was traditional and the purist's path. One day  
almost 15 years later, I found myself in the kitchen of a client who  
was a native of Sicily.  As we went over his file, he fired up the  
Bialetti and offered me a demitasse.  When I declined his offer of  
sugar, he said that in Italy one ALWAYS adds a little sugar. "Drinking  
espresso without sugar," he said, "ees like keessing your seester."  I  
took note of that, and the next time I found myself in Italy, noticed  
that EVERYONE added sugar before knocking back their ristretti (almost  
always standing, and in one or two sips).   I still take my homemade  
espresso straight (except when making an Allegro), and ditto for  
espresso at good coffeehouses like Metropolis, Murky, Pheasant Creek,  
Dead River, Uncommon Ground or Intelligentsia; but if I am at a  
restaurant the quality of whose espresso I am unsure (I know I can  
always get a good one at Bocca Della Verita, Trattoria D.O.C., Calo or  
Broadway Cellars) I always opt for a little sugar--hold the lemon peel  
(unless there's NO crema at all).
On Dec 24, 2008, at 9:59 AM, Frank Parth wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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2) From: Dennis
that is one Heck of a great trip down a coffee path!!! Thanks for that 
wow I can speak from my 4 days in Italy I saw the same thing and (yes 
being very cliche) ...when in Rome! I remember seeing eyeryone from 
busnessmen to mothers stopping for a espresso or cap standing around at 
the little tables... Oh how I loved Italy I gotta get back there again 
one day
thanks for the memory refresher!
Dennis
Sandy Andina wrote:
<Snip>
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