With apologies to Markham and others who have given up coffee for Lent, I am going to return briefly to the subject, because I think we’ve made a break-through. It’s not anything earth-shattering, but still I think worth talking about.
For the last years we’ve been struggling with making a simple cup of coffee. It might seem a humble option in a board full of caramel lattes, and affogato al caffes, but still I feel it’s like vanilla ice cream – a bench mark. If I go to an ice cream shop, I often taste their vanilla because often the simplest flavours are both the hardest to do and the easiest to judge.
In our shops, we’ve been serving CaffÃ¨ Americanos when people ask for “coffee.” The Americano is perfect for the many people who like it, but it’s not perfect for all coffee drinkers. Although many people think it’s a strong coffee because it comes from an espresso machine, the name means quite the opposite. Italians called it “Americano” years ago because it tasted like American coffee to them, the kind you still find in US diners. In other words, it was very weak to their palates.
After a lot of tasting, we’ve decided on the French-style plunger, or “Cafetiere,” for our regular coffee. We’ve chosen an organic, fair-trade bean from Maher’s and grind it quite fine. The result is a deep, rich flavour for those who like their coffee very strong. For everyone else, there’s still of course the Americano.