HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE? - Pt2: Owning Your Brew
In the first installment of this series I introduced the topic the only way I know how to; by talking about myself (lol). No really, I delved into my first introduction to coffee in an important way and took you back to my scheming ‘aha’ moment. To follow that up I’m taking you on the same journey I went on 6 years ago. This next step is where I took the liberty to learn what’s served in Jamaica and what I really want to be asking for. By the way, this is so good and ‘spot on’ you may have to read it twice!
Now, commercial coffee is traditionally drip brew, and most people who make their own coffee at home own a drip coffee maker. You'll find drip brew at most restaurants (including fast food places & diners/cafes), and most work places/offices which provide complementary coffee. An approximation of it in places which don't do drip brew is an Americano (basically espresso + water). It's called a Long Black in Australia, Cafe Americano in Italy and so on.
That said, a LOT of people drink Espresso-based drinks now - lattes, cappuccinos, and the frozen varieties. Starbucks DID sort of popularize this style of coffee to the masses. Starbucks like our locale comparative Cafe Blue (in sorts) is known for adding a lot of frills - whipped cream, etc - which has been good for their brand, I guess, but kinda veers away from the traditional drink IMO (in my opinion).
We have tons of local coffee roasters and coffee inclusive eateries all over the country, and, compared to mass drip coffee brands like Folgers in America and perhaps Jablum here on local soil, the brew is quite good. So if you're at a Jamaican coffee shop or restaurant, and order a "coffee", you're getting drip brewed coffee. You'll usually be offered "cream or sugar" to add to it, usually you add it yourself. It's very common for people to add cream/sugar. Personally I almost never take it "black", meaning coffee+water (drip coffee) with no cream/sugar added - basically a watered-down Espresso.
If you want something other than drip coffee, you have to be more specific: Cappuccino? Latte? Espresso? Extra shot of espresso?... I don’t typically get lost in the variety. I’ve found that my wild wild guess choices usually tastes the same or worst than normal coffee+cream, but cost twice as much. Flavoring syrup is common too - vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate/mocha, peppermint, and the infamous pumpkin spice... mhhm, yum. I suspect those flavoring syrups are what makes Starbucks drinks so damn sweet. Most coffee shops in Jamaica also sell teas and similar hot drinks, and often pastries, but at least now, should you be faced with the bean bag dilemma you’ll be be able to make your decision with a little bit more confidence. It’s ok if you have to read this twice, just consider this a hybrid crash course in coffee. But before you go, do drop me a line below and let’s continue chatting until Part 3 where I’ll be exploring coffee etiquette; the best practices in time and place and fool proof pairings. Talk soon!