Wednesday, 30 March 2011

More on coffee

Gretel Hallet, is a trained Chocolate Fairy and is running the Getting Started half day workshop in Norwich. If you live in East Anglia and want to know more about Beyond Chocolate, get in touch with Gretel.

After reading Sophie’s idyllic sounding blog about drinking Latte while looking out over the picturesque lil harbour of Villanova in Italy, I often wonder what the Italians think of us Brits. For years we were content to drink freeze-dried instant coffee; true, some of us had moved on to the new caffeine-free (but still freeze-dried) despite the dire health warnings about how the companies removed the caffeine. I remember my very first coffee plunger ... such excitement! Although I was never sure I got the amount of coffee powder right – it was always a lottery whether the coffee was drinkable at the end of the process, or not.
Then I worked at one firm that had a coffee machine where you put the coffee in a little paper cone at the top and it dripped down into a round glass jug at the bottom, which perched on a hot plate. Sophistication!

And now look at us. Almost every cafe, many shops, garages and even chip shops boast that they serve ‘Cappucino, Latte, Mocha, Americano’ etc. In the summer we drink Frappucino (or the equivalent, depending which coffee shop we frequent). We have Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Costa, AMT (at train stations mostly), Cafe Rouge, Coffee Republic, and probably others I can’t immediately recall. People in cities seem incapable of walking along the street without a take-away coffee in one hand and their i-phone in the other.

How did this happen? Has it made us better people? Are we more multicultural in our tastes now? What about our health? Coffee regularly gets fingered by health campaigners – it’s said to be bad for us in so many ways and for so many different types of people, and yet our obsession is undaunted. Take a peek at which helpfully sets out all the reasons for and against coffee consumption.

It's worth knowing that a peppermint white choc mocha at Starbucks, a little vat of milk, sugar and flavours isn't just a drink, it's a full blown meal. Even a skinny flavoured latte would fill most of us up enough on it's own! These are not drinks, they are FOOD. It's worth knowing that, it gives us choice about what we eat (drink). Having so many coffee outlets
also gives us a huge choice. Beyond Chocolate is about having choice – it’s not about eating or drinking what other people tell us to. As adults, we are in charge of our own bodies and can decide for ourselves what, when, how much, how often etc we eat and drink.
So, are there any Italians reading this? What do you think of this current mania for Italian sounding coffee in Britain?

And for the Brits (Scots, Welsh, Irish, European, American, Antipodean....) how do
you like to drink (eat?) yours?
PS And how do you pronounce ‘Latte’? La-tay? Lar-tay? La-tee?

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