Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Coffee in a jiffy

On Saturday I was in the mood for a cup of coffee. Nothing special, just a normal drip coffee. No Cappuccino. No Latte. Not even an Americano.

“But,” you might say, “an Americano IS a normal cup of coffee.” Not so, my halfwit friend. Many people think the Americano means American, but Americano and American is not the same thing. A “normal” cup of coffee, as we in English speaking countries tend to think of it, comes from a pot and is brewed by dripping water through the coffee grind. Americano, on the other hand, is an Espresso toped up with hot water.

“So,” you say, “why should I worry about that?” Normal coffee is made from light or medium-roasted beans. Espresso, and by extension Americano, is made from dark-roasted beans. Darker roasts produce that very strong, quite bitter taste, while the lighter the roasts give the less bitter, more mild tastes. Lighter roasts also have the more distinctive the taste of the particular bean.

Back to Saturday. You see, it is not easy to find a brewed pot of coffee in Korea. Not one Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, or anywhere in between, had a pot on hand. The solution is to turn in to any one of your general 24-hour shops.

Just enter your local By The Way and head on over to the microwave and boiler. Next to them you should see a selection of coffees and hot chocolates nicely displayed and wrapped in take-out cups. Many, if not all of these coffees will come with an individual tea bag of grind, a packet of sugar and stir stick and that right there, my friends, is not that far of from a normal brewed cup of coffee. Best of all, one of these gems rarely costs you more than a single little Cheon Won.

Coffee in the making

Ready for the water

Go ahead. Run to the GS24 and get us a couple. I’ll wait for you.

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