Coffee Etiquette

I enjoy a good cup of coffee in the same way a wine connoisseur would drink his wine; or like a person who sets aside time for an expensive cigar. Because caffeine can be compared to nicotine, I view those people who drink black coffee all day (pots and pots of it!) as the coffee equivalent of a chain smoker. They don’t really enjoy coffee – they’re just hopelessly addicted to the buzz.

Whether you knew it or not there are certain underground rules regarding what is cool in the world of coffee; particularly espresso. First: small is cool. Small cups, small quantities of coffee, small quantities of milk – all very cool. You will never see me drink a 16 or 20 ounce latte. I am a gentleman, not a calf. Milk is basically made up of three things: fat, protein, and sugar (in the form of lactose). Increasing the temperature of the milk has a dramatic effect on all three. The lactose becomes sweeter, the proteins expand, and the fat… well, it just becomes richer and more full. The fat is what give your latte that full textured flavor. While the higher levels of chemistry are lost on me I do understand this: an overabundance of steamed milk makes you fat.

This might be a bit of a shock to some: milk in quantity should not be consumed with coffee after about 10 AM (11 at the very latest). To drink a milk based espresso drink after mid-morning is considered poor etiquette. To drink a milk based espresso beverage with a meal… don’t. That’s just wrong. I’ll typically begin my day with a dry Cuban shot cappuccino (a Cortadito) and will have one cup of brewed coffee – or an Americano – later in the afternoon. Sometimes my wife and I will have a cup after dinner… but I’ve cut down on that because of how much it makes me toss and turn during the night.

Lastly, the truly cool don’t drink latte’s and mochas. Both are little more than big bowls of hot milk (some containing the equivalent of a melted Snickers bar) and a tiny bit of coffee. Something the Italians might give their children. In the words of Vancouver’s Aaron De Lazzer[Lattes are] a great introductory drink. The coffee is softened almost to the point of non-existence and it is topped with whipped cream. Very approachable. Perfect for non-coffee drinkers and and the warm milk crowd”.

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