Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Trivial inquiry

I just saw someone order "two Americanos" from a place that also, for 70p a cup less, sells filter coffee. Why?

Caffe Americano is an international insult disguised as a beverage. It means "just keep adding hot water to the espresso until it tastes like that filth the Americans drink"; compare (someone else's example) assiette anglaise, which means "well, cold meat is all the English eat, isn't it?"

So, is there a reason to have someone make you a slow, expensive espresso and then try to turn it into a filter coffee, when they could just pour you a filter coffee? My palate for coffee is lousy, so this is a genuine question; for all I know the Americano tastes much better. But it seems more likely that the order would be made on the assumption that nowhere one would want to order serves filter coffee anymore; or that if somewhere does, ordering it would put one outside the circle of civilised people.


Chris Brooke said...

Americano coffee has a different kind of taste to filter coffee (though I'm crap at describing tastes, so I won't try), and tastes a lot stronger (something to do with the amount of coffee that the expensive coffee bars tend to put into all their espresso-based drinks).

And if by "the filth the Americans drink" you mean the stuff you get in American diners, then Americano coffee is a very different kind of drink indeed.

Part of the aversion to filter coffee in British caf├ęs may be that you don't know how long the pot has been sitting there. The Americano, by contrast, is bound to be fresh.

Jasper Milvain said...

Thank you. I consider myself educated, and possibly chastened. The "filth" bit, by the way, was a lame effort at free indirect speech (on behalf of some past Italian diluting his coffee and then calling it "American") rather than an opinion of mine.

Jane Holland said...

Latte is the choice of champions, everyone knows that. Medio, one shot, decaff, skinny, latte. What more could any civilised person want on a sunny day for a little over £2?

Besides, I think you should reserve the right to continue putting the words 'American' and 'filth' in the same sentence. Just for the hell of it ..

J x