For all those self-proclaimed caffeine-addicts who need that little extra boost in the morning, richly roasted, aromatic, freshly-brewed coffee is not only a necessity, it’s a treat. While those solitary morning rituals are all well and good, serving specialty coffee at midnight along with an exquisite arrangement of sweets and fruit- well, that kind of sophistication is just about as good as it gets.
legend of the bean
As the story goes, caffeine was discovered back in the 9th century when an Ethiopian goat herder was shocked to discover his lethargic herd had suddenly accrued some incongruous, cheer-leader level perkiness. Eventually, he traced the zippy behavior back to some bizarre berries the goats had nibbled on earlier, and out of curiosity, boiled them. And as it turns out, within the berries lay those magic little beans we now worship as coffee.
straight to the source
There are over fifty coffee producing countries worldwide; each one creating a very distinct brew. Only a true caffeine devotee would need to be familiar with them all, but for the everyday addict, the three regions below are most popular:
Exotic African Brews: these tend to have acidic and fruity undertones, especially, but not exclusively, those from Ethiopia and Kenya.
Robust Indonesian Brews: location-wise, think Sumatra and Java; flavor-wise, think earthy.
Classic Central American Brews: popularly from Colombia and Brazil, these are usually on the mild side, with a nutty taste.
Other techniques from around the world
American (regular) roast: the beans are medium roasted, resulting in a flavor that is neither too mild nor too heavy
French roast: the beans are heavily roasted, which produces a darker, stronger coffee
Italian roast: the beans are heavily roasted, producing a strong flavor used for making espressos
European roast: this roast combines two-thirds heavily roasted beans with one-third regularly roasted beans
Viennese roast: this roast combines one-third heavily roasted beans with two-thirds regularly roasted beans
know your coffee
For a bit of pragmatic advice, scan through the lists below and learn how you can avoid embarrassing coffee-line confusion and create your fantasy beverage. Remember, an espresso is a concentrated drink, made from ground coffee and water. Drip coffee is the simple, traditionally brewed coffee.
the tall and short of it...
Short: a small, 8 oz. drink (1 shot espresso)
Tall: a medium, 12 oz. drink (1 shot espresso)
Grande: a large, 16 oz. drink (2 shots espresso)
Venti: an extra-large, 20 oz. drink (2 shots espresso)
and now for an even bigger jolt...
Espresso con panna – “the sweet tooth”: an espresso with whipped cream.
Café macchiato – “la crème on top”: an espresso with a dollop of foam.
Café au lait – “the milky way”: brewed coffee with steamed milk.
Café latte – “the milky way with a kick”: one shot of espresso in about 3 parts steamed milk.
Café mocha – “the chocoholic’s choice”: a latte with chocolate syrup.
Cappuccino – “the light and fluffy”: equal parts espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk.
Hammerhead (or shot in the dark) – “the power boost”: a shot of espresso in a cup of drip coffee.
keeping in mind
When ordering drinks that call for more than one shot of espresso (such as a grande or a venti), ask for a ‘half-caf’ if you want one of your espresso shots to be non-caffeinated.
If you want more caffeine in your drink, ask for a ‘double’ (2 shots), ‘triple’ (3 shots), or ‘quad’ (4 shots).
Most coffee places will use whole milk in your coffee if you don’t specify, but you should have several options if you speak up: whole, non-fat, soy, organic, or half&half.
wake-up your wedding
Add some ritz to your special day by serving espresso shots and spiked coffee drinks all dolled up with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. You may also want to create party-favors out of high quality organic coffee bags placed inside over-sized, ornate coffee mugs. For true coffee lovers, make a coffee-tasting a rousing stop at your bachelorette party.