I like JACD's phrase "a coffee beverage." I feel left out when I hear an
argument about "with coffee" or "with cream/milk or black." There is
coffee, and there are several "coffee beverages," and to like only one of
these seems unnecessarily restrictive. And why argue about sugar, unless
you want to debate the merits of cane, beet, or fruit products. Let's not
take a narrow view.
There's *coffee*. Whether it is FP, drip, mukkapot, AP, elongated
espresso or whatever, it is the real article from mid-morning until so late
in the day that another would interfere with sleep. It is a perfect finale
to any good meal except breakfast. I usually take it without cream or milk,
but my feelings aren't hurt if my offer of a homeroast cup is accepted with
At breakfast, before, during and after, cafe-au-lait is definitely a coffee
beverage that shouldn't be confused with coffee. Would you confuse ham, as
in ham and eggs, with smithfield, serrano or some other dessicated pig-meat
served with melon, after your entree? Fat-free milk lets the full coffee
flavor come through better than whole milk.
There's espresso. If good quality, it is the way to go when what you want
is a quick jolt of caffeine. If anything is added -- water, milk, or froth
-- it may be superb but it isn't espresso any more. It is some other coffee
beverage, a sociable drink. Good way to finish lunch.
There are ethnic coffees that have their place with corresponding ethnic
food. Coffee with fresh mint after a dinner with couscous is great way to
go. And with spicy Southeast Asian food, Vietnamese coffee is a dessert in
itself -- good black coffee added to sweetened condensed milk.
Besides coffee and coffee beverages, there is the coffee bean itself. It
can be held between the front teeth while a cordial is sucked over it. A
reliable source has reported to me that for centuries this procedure has
satisfactorily prepared mouths for smooching. Maybe still the best system,
even though the toothbrush has been invented.
Contra muros, mater rubicolla
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