Sunday, October 4, 2009

Americano or Black Coffee?

I've been trying my hardest to get my father, an entrenched black coffee drinker, to try and start ordering Americanos. Black coffee is perfectly respectable, but it is my desire to see him step outside his normative coffee box, the small cup of black coffee, into the light of wider cultured coffee drinks. This first step into the larger world of espresso based coffee drinks, I believe, will be best handled by the Americano in this case. My dad, used to black coffee will most readily identify with the Americano due to the similarity with black coffee. I finally got him to try one this morning.

His reaction was just as I thought it would be: Awe. The Traditional Americano, as discussed before, is simply two shots of espresso with 3oz hot purified water. His assessment was one of near disbelief. He said, "this is just as strong as my black coffee, but tastes better." My question to him was how exactly does this taste better? His response was something like, "it's just fresher, more lively, and complex." Just as I expected.

What makes an Americano "fresher, more lively, and complex"? The answer is all in the espresso. The beans are usually ground 10-30 seconds before they are extracted. This quick timing leads to the extreme fresh taste, as well as helps produce the complex taste of the crema. The liveliness of the Americano is easy to explain. His usual black coffee is a home drip brewed Millstone whole bean coffee- not the greatest, but an attempt. If my father is feeling really ambitious, he will get a standard Pike Place roast from Starbucks; now it's easy to see why he thought the Americano was so lively! Starbucks' black coffee is usually ground and brewed hourly, but can sometimes be left for up to three hours before a new batch is brewed! Also, the coffee can be up to 2 months old before it even reaches the stores! This is all going without saying that the roast Starbucks uses is extremely dark, eliminating most of the more interesting taste qualities of lighter roasted coffees, including the caffeine content.

All in all, I think that this experience was pretty enlightening for him. I challenge any of you standard black coffee drinkers to step outside of the box some morning soon and get yourself a Traditional Americano. See how fresh, lively, and complex coffee can truly be.

Thank you Lord for the great coffee, my children, my wife, and another day. Here we go.

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