A History of Coffee Adoration in Recent Times

By Damian Papworth

Coffee wasn't always such a big deal, you know. At one point, it was just something that truckers drank and diners served endless pots of in many places. But beverages grow, they change, and somehow there's been a boom where you need to know a little more about coffee than whether or not you want a small, medium, or large cup at McDonalds.

Even in other countries, where the coffee might taste a lot better, it's not that everyone knows the whole history of their perfect shot of espresso. It's just that it's there and it's tasty and everyone is used to it. Ask around and be surprised at how many people who really enjoy fancy coffee actually don't know that much about how it's cultivated or made.

The real difference between a love for coffee and a strong like for it is knowing a little bit more about how it's made and where it comes from. For example, espresso is not a different type of coffee bean. Rather, it's a special kind of coffee beverage where the hot water is forced through well-packed, finely-ground coffee. The machine that makes espresso is where the beverage gets its name, and is actually only from 1901, when a man in Milan filed the very first patent. Unlike coffee, espresso has a foam, even without milk, and a thicker consistency. A truly good espresso, you see, will hold sugar you pour in for a couple of seconds before it breaks through the foam.

Many coffee drinkers think that getting serious means switching to espresso, which definitely enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to the whole Starbucks movement. The thing with espresso, though, is that it's just a stronger version of regular coffee, which is something that a lot of people don't quite realize. In fact, espresso machines didn't even exist until 1901. But those with a love for coffee who are looking for a stronger drink, remember this when you're ordering your espresso: the really, really good kind should be able to have some serious hang-time when you toss in that spoon of sugar. Otherwise, you might as well just drink regular coffee.

In fact, ordering coffee is one of the biggest parts of learning to drink it, and if you're going to be using coffee to socialize in new and exciting places, you should probably know what you're getting yourself into. Except early in the morning on the way to work, when you stand at the bar and do a shot of espresso, drinking coffee in Italy is going to set you back at least an afternoon. The same is true in France. Those are a couple of the only countries where you can order a shot of espresso and make it last for a couple of hours, so order accordingly.

But part of a love for coffee is appreciating all of the fun and fancy versions of drinks that have been developed, and trying them all out. Depending on where you are in the world, or the style of coffee you're sampling, a number of different things are used for flavor. Whether it's enjoying the taste of chocolate in a mocha or drizzling some sweet caramel-like sauce down in Argentina right into the coffee, it doesn't have to be a bitter-tasting drink experience.

One of the best parts about drinking coffee, especially socially, is the snacks! From Holland to Argentina, you can expect at least a couple of cookies and sometimes even a glass of orange juice, so there's always something to pick at while you're enjoying your coffee. It's also nice, if you haven't eaten, to put something in your stomach that isn't just a cup of caffeine.

But the real reason for learning to drink coffee, even before developing a love for coffee, is to be able to socialize to your utmost potential in countries around the world where it's an important part of being communal. So remember what words mean milk and what words mean espresso, and get out there and start tasting!

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