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-   -   Small cups of coffee in Europe (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=663850)

Roderick Femm 08-30-2012 12:37 PM

Small cups of coffee in Europe
 
I've never been to Europe (sob) but I do watch some TV programs that are made in Europe, mostly France and Italy, and I noticed that coffee is invariably served in small cups that are, perhaps, 6 ounces (180 mls) or less. This isn't espresso or anything like that, just ordinary brewed coffee. They go through the whole adding-sugar-and-stirring ritual, and then have about two or three swallows of coffee.

(Caveat to the question that follows: I don't drink coffee myself, I don't like it, so if the coffee drinking experience is a significant part of the answer, please explain it to me like I was 5 years old).

Here in the land of 24-oz cups of coffee from Starbucks and Peet's, this seems odd to me. Does it come from just habit, or does it make the experience more pleasurable to have it over sooner? Or is European coffee so strong that no-one can drink more than 6 ounces at a time?

I ask because I am curious, and because I think this may be a source of significant insight into European (at least French and Italian) character.


Roddy

aruvqan 08-30-2012 12:46 PM

In general Europe has not yet been supersized. The average cold drink is also 8-12 ounces also. Just flash back to our 1960s and 70s.

Johnny L.A. 08-30-2012 12:50 PM

When I was in Europe in the '80s, refills were not free. The cups were small, in my opinion. OTOH, even here in the U.S., a 'cup' of coffee is six ounces. My '12-cup' coffee maker does not fill my cup 12 times.

The one exception I can think of was at Ofvandahl's pastry shop in Uppsala, SE. There, we got a French press full of coffee.

In my opinion, European coffee was far superior to American coffee. But this was 30 years ago when the choices here were basically MJB, Folgers, etc. Nowadays I doubt coffee in Europe is better than what we get here. (FWIW, I order Dark Roast from Community Coffee in New Orleans. Or I get French Roast from Trader Joe's if I forget to order.)

suranyi 08-30-2012 12:57 PM

Everytime I've ordered coffee in Europe -- at least continental Europe -- I get Espresso. So that explains the small cups.

dataguy 08-30-2012 02:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by suranyi (Post 15440339)
Everytime I've ordered coffee in Europe -- at least continental Europe -- I get Espresso. So that explains the small cups.

...and if they know you are American, they serve it with a small bottle of hot water so you can dilute it, if you wish.

Mogle 08-30-2012 02:50 PM

Cups may be smaller, but they contain the same amount(if not more) of coffee, we just use less water. ;)

Tim R. Mortiss 08-30-2012 04:06 PM

I'll never forget traipsing around Rome, cursing the tiny, bitter cups of coffee they serve, and then suddenly turning a corner and seeing a Dunkin' Donuts store! I heard angels sing and a shaft of light beamed down on me from Heaven. Fortunately, it was only a block from my hotel, so it became my first stop every morning: 24 ounces of piping hot bliss!

newcomer 08-30-2012 05:44 PM

If it's not espresso it could be "Turkish" coffee http://gabrielavila.hubpages.com/hub...fee-Resurgence

You heat up a container with powder coffee in it and then pour over boiling water. It's quite strong and you only need a cup or two.

Roderick Femm 08-30-2012 06:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newcomer (Post 15441410)
If it's not espresso it could be "Turkish" coffee http://gabrielavila.hubpages.com/hub...fee-Resurgence

You heat up a container with powder coffee in it and then pour over boiling water. It's quite strong and you only need a cup or two.

Is this something that would be an every-day brew for ordinary people?

I ask because, in these TV programs I watch, every single time someone gets coffee, whether in a cafe, restaurant, or in someone's home, it is always served in nice little china cups, and people rarely get a refill. They never show the actual brewing of the coffee, so I can't tell how it's made.


Roddy

JackieLikesVariety 08-30-2012 06:39 PM

geez, Roddy, I hope someone knows the answer to this because I want to know, too.

sisu 08-30-2012 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roderick Femm (Post 15441523)
Is this something that would be an every-day brew for ordinary people?

I ask because, in these TV programs I watch, every single time someone gets coffee, whether in a cafe, restaurant, or in someone's home, it is always served in nice little china cups, and people rarely get a refill. They never show the actual brewing of the coffee, so I can't tell how it's made.


Roddy

I think you will find that espresso [rather than Turkish] is really common throughout Europe and Australia, it is simple to make and is like comparing tang to pure orange juice. I drink espresso almost 100% of the time, at work we have an espresso machine and at home as well. We even have a small battery one for camping.

If I want a big tall warm milk drink I can always wander down to Starbucks, but that ain't proper coffee ;)

SCAdian 08-30-2012 06:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aruvqan (Post 15440306)
In general Europe has not yet been supersized. The average cold drink is also 8-12 ounces also. Just flash back to our 1960s and 70s.

Even in the '70s I drank coffee out of a decent-sized cup....

Hello Again 08-30-2012 07:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roderick Femm (Post 15441523)
Is this something that would be an every-day brew for ordinary people?

I ask because, in these TV programs I watch, every single time someone gets coffee, whether in a cafe, restaurant, or in someone's home, it is always served in nice little china cups, and people rarely get a refill. They never show the actual brewing of the coffee, so I can't tell how it's made.

In Europe, espresso is the norm. Drip coffee is basically unheard of, except at American chains. Even places catering to Americans with usually just have "Americano" - espresso topped up with water -- not drip coffee.

BTW, the little minimugs they serve espresso or Turkish coffee in, are sometimes called "demitasse". It's French for "half-cup." Yes, sizes of beverages are smaller, but in France at least, the traditional espresso cup is still considered half-sized.

sisu 08-30-2012 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hello Again (Post 15441635)
In Europe, espresso is the norm. Drip coffee is basically unheard of, except at American chains. Even places catering to Americans with usually just have "Americano" - espresso topped up with water -- not drip coffee.

BTW, the little minimugs they serve espresso or Turkish coffee in, are sometimes called "demitasse". It's French for "half-cup." Yes, sizes of beverages are smaller, but in France at least, the traditional espresso cup is still considered half-sized.

Yeah that gels with my Melbourne Australia experience, starbucks etc do an espresso and top up with water or milk. Melbourne Australia has a large Italian population and as such we have had proper coffee for a long time.

When we have corporate functions we often get served filter coffee, it is rarely drunk. Someone takes the order and pops down to a local cafe for espressos.

I have two coffee cup sizes, demi for espresso or machiatto and a larger one for a latte. More often than not lattes come in a glass.

The Stafford Cripps 08-31-2012 04:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hello Again (Post 15441635)
In Europe, espresso is the norm. Drip coffee is basically unheard of, except at American chains.

That's not really true, but it depends on the country. Filter coffee is what lots of people drink at home, and while espresso machines may be becoming more common in northern Europe, filter coffee in cafes has been around for much longer than Starbucks. You don't get these big 20oz coffees in Europe though (except perhaps in places like Starbucks) - people would find them watery and flavourless.

What you need to know though is that no one makes coffee like the Italians - obviously this is subjective, but I've heard lots of people say the same thing. In Italy you can be in some backwoods village that few other tourists will ever see, go into some dusty little cafe and be served an espresso, cappuccino or latte that is better than what you will get anywhere in Britain, France or Spain (in my experience). It's actually mystifying - places in Britain will have the same brand of machines, the same brand of coffee, but it just doesn't taste as good.

When you ask for a cappuccino, they make the frothy milk and pour it into a small cup and then pour the espresso on top of that (they would never sell a double cap). I much preferred these small cappuccinos to the ones you get in other countries that have way too much milk so you can't taste the coffee, unless you have more than one shot, and you end up feeling bloated.

Italians have a big thing about moderation - they don't tend to binge alcohol the way north Europeans do, and I think they might feel the same about coffee.

Floater 08-31-2012 04:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mogle (Post 15440787)
Cups may be smaller, but they contain the same amount(if not more) of coffee, we just use less water. ;)

As it happens espresso and similar kinds of coffee contains less caffeine than plain brewed coffee.

Nava 08-31-2012 06:14 AM

If "plain brewed coffee" is supposed to mean "drip coffee": it does not do so in most of Europe, we call those Americano or "from an American coffeemaker" (when being polite).


Nava, whose father's Melitta-brewed coffee had a Reputation (a one liter thermos was enough for a 22-people meeting and we'd get it back with coffee still in).

pulykamell 08-31-2012 08:01 AM

Coffee in Poland at home would often be served "Turkish style." My mom still makes it that way in the US. In other words, it's very finely ground (finer than espresso), and then just added directly to the cup (usually about 6 oz) to steep. The fine grounds settle down, and you drink it like a normal Turkish coffee, stopping when you get to the coffee sludge at the bottom. (This technique is different than the true Turkish style of making coffee.) This may not be as common as it once was. I remember it being common in the communist days even in restaurants, but times have changed.

pulykamell 08-31-2012 08:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Floater (Post 15442737)
As it happens espresso and similar kinds of coffee contains less caffeine than plain brewed coffee.

I'll clarify a bit. Per unit volume, espresso has much more caffeine than coffee, but per standard serving size, less, given than an espresso is usually a 1 oz serving, and drip coffee is 6 oz and up. The amounts vary, but espresso is generally around 50mg caffeine per fluid ounce, and drip coffee is around 20mg per fluid ounce.

newcomer 08-31-2012 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roderick Femm (Post 15441523)
Is this something that would be an every-day brew for ordinary people?

I ask because, in these TV programs I watch, every single time someone gets coffee, whether in a cafe, restaurant, or in someone's home, it is always served in nice little china cups, and people rarely get a refill. They never show the actual brewing of the coffee, so I can't tell how it's made.


Roddy

My parents used to drink coffee twice a day, in the morning and late afternoon. We did not have a filtered coffee device so this was the only type of coffee in our household for decades.

The process of making starts with a fresh fine grind of coffee in a grinder like this - http://static.kupindoslike.com/mlin-...a_L_255944.jpg Goes without saying that it’s a manual work.

Then you use an individually sized copper alloy container called “ibrik” (on this picture with a handle http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws...0a1c8656_7.jpg ) where you put three teaspoons of finely grind coffee. The three teaspoons correspond to three cups of coffee you will get from “ibrik”. Let it be known that the third cup is hard-core as it will probably include coffee grind that settled at the bottom of “ibrik”.

Before you pour boiling water, you first hold “ibrik” with coffee inside over heat for a short time for coffee to warm up a bit – some even go until it starts emitting brewed coffee aroma. Right at that moment you take “ibrik” away from heat, pour in boiling water and to finish it off you put again on heat a bit so it steeps and bubbles and right before it will swell over the “ibrik” edge you take it away.

Ready to be served.

Sounds complicated and to tell you the truth, some skill is required to make it real good every time. However, over time it becomes a habit so you forget that it involves manual effort.

Traditionally, you don’t put sugar because dosage is so individual you use sugar cubes and do it like this - http://distilleryimage6.s3.amazonaws...0a1cdbb8_7.jpg.

On special occasions you serve with a cake or something - http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws...380ff15b_7.jpg

pulykamell 08-31-2012 10:22 AM

Yeah, that's the traditional Turkish style coffee method. (Or Greek-style coffee.) I was always taught to add sugar during the brewing process, and this is pretty much the only style of coffee I drink sweetened. Adding a bit or ground cardamom or cardamom pod to the grounds is a nice little kick, too.

If you've ever researched making Turkish coffee (and I have), you'll find there are a lot of techniques that people swear by. It's almost a mystical process. A lot of places say boil three times. Some say, no, that's myth, only once. Some say to bring it to a boil very slowly. Others say as fast as possible produces superior results. Some say wait a minute between boils. Others swear by doing it right away as the foam subsides. Some start with coffee and sugar in the ibrik/cezve, then pour water over. Some pour water first and float the coffee on top. Others add it after the first boil. Etc., etc., etc. There is a lot of interesting ritual involved, and it seems everyone has their own way of doing it. It's kind of like barbecue that way. The start-it-all-together and boil it three times is the most common method, from what I can tell. That's how I was originally taught it. The single-boil method (which apparently is more the Arabic style, rather than Turkish), works well, in my experience, but I like that little bit of ritual of doing it in three.

rjk 08-31-2012 11:28 AM

So what does it say on those pages? I'd like to read about these things, not just look at the picture.

Quote:

Originally Posted by newcomer (Post 15443514)
My parents used to drink coffee twice a day, in the morning and late afternoon. We did not have a filtered coffee device so this was the only type of coffee in our household for decades.

The process of making starts with a fresh fine grind of coffee in a grinder like this - http://static.kupindoslike.com/mlin-...a_L_255944.jpg Goes without saying that it’s a manual work.

Then you use an individually sized copper alloy container called “ibrik” (on this picture with a handle http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws...0a1c8656_7.jpg ) where you put three teaspoons of finely grind coffee. The three teaspoons correspond to three cups of coffee you will get from “ibrik”. Let it be known that the third cup is hard-core as it will probably include coffee grind that settled at the bottom of “ibrik”.

Before you pour boiling water, you first hold “ibrik” with coffee inside over heat for a short time for coffee to warm up a bit – some even go until it starts emitting brewed coffee aroma. Right at that moment you take “ibrik” away from heat, pour in boiling water and to finish it off you put again on heat a bit so it steeps and bubbles and right before it will swell over the “ibrik” edge you take it away.

Ready to be served.

Sounds complicated and to tell you the truth, some skill is required to make it real good every time. However, over time it becomes a habit so you forget that it involves manual effort.

Traditionally, you don’t put sugar because dosage is so individual you use sugar cubes and do it like this - http://distilleryimage6.s3.amazonaws...0a1cdbb8_7.jpg.

On special occasions you serve with a cake or something - http://distilleryimage8.s3.amazonaws...380ff15b_7.jpg


Qadgop the Mercotan 08-31-2012 12:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Stafford Cripps (Post 15442727)
What you need to know though is that no one makes coffee like the Italians - obviously this is subjective, but I've heard lots of people say the same thing. In Italy you can be in some backwoods village that few other tourists will ever see, go into some dusty little cafe and be served an espresso, cappuccino or latte that is better than what you will get anywhere in Britain, France or Spain (in my experience). It's actually mystifying - places in Britain will have the same brand of machines, the same brand of coffee, but it just doesn't taste as good.

Brewing a decent espresso is far more involved than just having the machine and the coffee. Getting the right grind, the right tamp pressure, the right water temperature, the right brew time (all of which may vary depending on humidity, atmospheric pressure, freshness of the beans, how sore your arm is, solar flares...) play big roles in whether the resultant brew is a Godshot, good, mediocre, or horrible. The italians know this and make a big deal out of it. Rightly so. ;)

It's been years since I've had a decent espresso shot at Starbucks. They're all using fully-automated espresso machines now, so the barista's skill is irrelevant. :mad:

Novelty Bobble 08-31-2012 01:47 PM

Regular european coffee drinker here.

I'm in Austria as we speak and what I order here is simply a "Kaffee" for that I'll get a small cup (don't know sizes but probably 5 or 6 times espresso size) of black espresso derived coffee. Really quite strong. To that one would add "kaffe sahn" (which is basically a form of evaporated milk).

You can ask for cappuccino or lattes but the standard coffee is the norm. And it really is of a pretty high standard wherever you go.

I much prefer these sort of sizes as I get sick of bigger drinks or it gets too cold to drink way before I'm done.
Small, strong and a drinkable temperature. That's the ticket for me.

Roderick Femm 08-31-2012 02:14 PM

I'm a tea drinker, and I sympathize with the idea of smaller cups (although I just use an insulated cup at work to keep it hot).

Also, I remember one episode of Rick Steves' Europe in Italy, where a caffé waiter was amused when he ordered a cappuccino in the afternoon. His Italian companion explained to him that no-one orders cappuccino except for breakfast.

Thanks, all, for the information. I had no idea espresso was "regular coffee" for so many Europeans. Like I said above, I don't drink coffee, but I always thought that espresso was too strong for everyday consumption.

Ignorance fought again.


Roddy

gracer 08-31-2012 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roderick Femm (Post 15444504)
I'm a tea drinker, and I sympathize with the idea of smaller cups (although I just use an insulated cup at work to keep it hot).

Also, I remember one episode of Rick Steves' Europe in Italy, where a caffé waiter was amused when he ordered a cappuccino in the afternoon. His Italian companion explained to him that no-one orders cappuccino except for breakfast.

Thanks, all, for the information. I had no idea espresso was "regular coffee" for so many Europeans. Like I said above, I don't drink coffee, but I always thought that espresso was too strong for everyday consumption.

Ignorance fought again.


Roddy

Actually, I would disagree that espresso is the usual. You tend to get espresso when you ask for espresso. Otherwise you get coffee. What coffee is differs completely per country but it is usually smaller than anything you'd get at Starbucks (never been to the US).

Often, coffee is made with an espresso machine (not drip coffee, though people have them at home).

For example:

- In the Netherlands you can order an espresso, an Americano (extra water), cappucino or latte. You can also order a coffee, which usually gets you something midway between an espresso and an Americano. At home many people have drip coffee which they drink in small cups. Nowadays people use the dreaded Senseo at home, which makes individual small cups and tastes like the piss of someone who chewed coffee beans.

- In the UK you will often get cafetiere coffee in a small cup. People use cafetiers at home, but you get them in restaurants as well (you get the whole thing on the table and you pour for yourself). In more up-to-date places you can order other kinds of coffee, but almost always alongside "coffee", which means cafetiere coffee. Nowadays there are loads of places that serve whole soup bowls of watery coffee-stuff, I think because it's hip.

All countries have completely different coffee traditions. I've been to almost all countries in Europe and espresso is certainly not what you usually get when you order coffee.

Meurglys 09-01-2012 07:04 AM

Here's a link to a 2-page set of pictures on Flickr of cups & mugs of coffee in various (usually independent) coffee shops, mainly in Edinburgh. They're a mix of cappuccino, americano, latte and flat whites... You can get giant cups like soupbowls in some places but they're not common.

disclosure: it's my partner's Flickr site and linked blog - she really likes her coffee and cake!

Left Hand of Dorkness 09-01-2012 09:14 AM

About 10 years ago, my wife and I honeymooned in Denmark and Norway, and we were astonished by the deliciousness of the coffee. My thread on the topic was never resolved to my satisfaction; I still suspect that a cold-brew process is common in Scandinavia.

vifslan 09-01-2012 01:42 PM

Roderick Femm, if you're still reading, see if your local library has a book called "Coffee: A guide to buying, roasting, and brewing", by Kenneth Davids, as, IIRC, he spends the first chapters outlining the differences in coffee culture between America, Northern and Southern Europe. Generally, the further south in Europe you go, the darker the coffee roast.

Now for some anecdotal experiences of a coffeehound Finn:

Espresso, cappuccino, latte etc. are still defined as "specialty coffee" in Finland and Scandinavia. Go anywhere and ask for a cup of coffee, what you'll get will be filter coffee, the most usual brand (in Finland, that is) being Juhla Mokka, as far as I've been able to tell, a Santos/Colombia blend at about city roast (though the roastery has been experimenting with darker roasts lately). Greek/Turkish only in ethnic restaurants, and only if you're lucky enough to stumble upon a genuine one. My own experiments with Turkish coffee had to wait until I got a coffee grinder.

My experience with coffee on the North American continent extends to a ten-day stay in Quebec City, Canada, so I don't as yet have all that much data. But generally, my colleagues and I stuck to espresso-based drinks since we (independently from each other) thought the local drip coffee was impossible to like. One technical difference I noticed was that the hotel-room coffee maker (Mr. Coffee brand, about one quart capacity, the one most of my alt.coffee Usenet buddies had condemned) had a flat filter basket instead of the conical Melitta style that is the European Gold standard for home coffee machines. That makes a difference, as you get a deeper bed of coffee in a cone, prolonging the extraction time and bringing the coffee up to full strength. Also, I suspect the different voltage might play a role.

So technical reasons for smaller servings of European filter coffee: Darker roasts, hotter water, more coffee grounds per cup, different extraction method. And culture plays a part, but the aforementioned Mr. Davids will tell you more about that.

vifslan 09-01-2012 01:51 PM

Also I should add, anecdotal evidence suggests that French coffee is beyond terrible for reasons of colonialism. France used to own most of Western Africa, where most of the world's crop of Coffea Robusta is grown (in difference to the Arabica subspecies, Robusta can be grown in lowland regions, while Arabica prefers altitude.) And the general attitude among coffee snobs would be that Robusta tastes like jet engine fuel and burnt rubber, and is mostly good for producing a good head of crema on your espresso.

Edited to add (and stereotyping quite horribly in the process), so that may be a reason for French people not wanting to linger for very long over their coffee.

vifslan 09-01-2012 01:59 PM

Ack! Sorry for spamming the thread, but Amazon says I got the title wrong. It's "Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying" (now copypasted into the post so Butterfingers Hazy Memory here can get on with life...)

Arrogance Ex Machina 09-01-2012 02:31 PM

A fun little fact - Finland is a clear #1 on the coffee consumption per capita list. USA is only 25th, though that only counts the actual coffee and not the water you put into it.

The Stafford Cripps 09-02-2012 05:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness (Post 15446587)
About 10 years ago, my wife and I honeymooned in Denmark and Norway, and we were astonished by the deliciousness of the coffee. My thread on the topic was never resolved to my satisfaction; I still suspect that a cold-brew process is common in Scandinavia.

I'm afraid things might have changed a bit - I've just been to Norway and was disappointed that most cafes I was in had the automatic machines where you press a button and the coffee comes out immediately. And they charge an unbelievable amount for it.

Mangetout 09-02-2012 06:04 AM

24 US ounces is about 1.25 UK pints. I like a large coffee, but I don't think our portions go quite that large - my 'Massimo' Soya Latte from Costa is 560ml (= 1 UK pint = 20 US ounces) - that's a weekly treat for me - I drink a lot of coffee besides, but in smaller cups.

I'd prefer two smaller cups in succession to a single large one, just because it means more of it is consumed at optimum drinking temperature.

Jaledin 09-02-2012 06:13 AM

What a bunch of bullshit. Yeah, an express is small cup. But they're meant to be ... wait for it ... fast! Or if you have a cup to meet someone, it's more like an excuse to talk. And if one finishes, order another.

[PF]They drown 'em in that shit; I seen 'em do it, man![/Pulp Fiction]

Not any weirder than carrying around a surrogate teat in a big car everywhere. C'mon -- let's not be coy. If a continental wanted to chow on some liquid, he or she would do it. And, unlike in the US where you get in "Big Trouble" for opening a bottle or many of wine on the sidewalk, it's generally fine. (Eh, sort of).

Maeglin 09-02-2012 10:12 AM

It depends on the time of day. When I lived in France for a bit, every day would start with a gigantic bowl of filter coffee. The bows had a greater capacity than American mugs, and we'd fill them right up to the top. The people I lived with took their coffee with a cigarette and occasionally half a croissant. This was breakfast.

In the afternoon and evening, people drank espresso from a demi-tasse.

Švejk 09-02-2012 02:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hello Again (Post 15441635)
In Europe, espresso is the norm. Drip coffee is basically unheard of, except at American chains. Even places catering to Americans with usually just have "Americano" - espresso topped up with water -- not drip coffee.

BTW, the little minimugs they serve espresso or Turkish coffee in, are sometimes called "demitasse". It's French for "half-cup." Yes, sizes of beverages are smaller, but in France at least, the traditional espresso cup is still considered half-sized.

Most of this is false for most of Europe. Espresso is not the norm, if you ask for 'a coffee', you're going to get filter coffee, which is exceedingly common (although I'll grant that an 'americano' is indeed a usual occurence in some parts of Europe). I think most of the confusion that pervades this entire threat comes from the use of 'Europe', as though there is a common European coffee culture. There is no such thing.

As for cups being smaller, it is true that they often are, but that's not necessarily because there's espresso in them, because in most places there won't be. My guess would actually be that coffee is supposed to be a hot beverage and if you have large volumes of it, you won't be able to drink it all before it cools down.

typoink 09-02-2012 02:51 PM

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned moka pots in this thread. They're a small stovetop coffeemaker that's similar-to-but-technically-distinct-from espresso. They're increasingly common in the US, because they make excellent strong coffee, are almost idiot-proof, and cost about 1/10th of a "real" espresso maker.

I've heard they're exceedingly common in Europe, especially in Italy, but I've never had the fortune to see for myself.

Novelty Bobble 09-02-2012 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by typoink (Post 15449624)
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned moka pots in this thread. They're a small stovetop coffeemaker that's similar-to-but-technically-distinct-from espresso. They're increasingly common in the US, because they make excellent strong coffee, are almost idiot-proof, and cost about 1/10th of a "real" espresso maker.

I've heard they're exceedingly common in Europe, especially in Italy, but I've never had the fortune to see for myself.

I have a couple. Yes they are cheap and cheerful and produce a decent cup of strong coffee to be used in whatever way you see fit.
I use one at home and keep one for camping as they offer the best bulk/quality trade-off and if they are aluminium they are pretty much indestructible.

Švejk 09-02-2012 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by typoink (Post 15449624)
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned moka pots in this thread. They're a small stovetop coffeemaker that's similar-to-but-technically-distinct-from espresso. They're increasingly common in the US, because they make excellent strong coffee, are almost idiot-proof, and cost about 1/10th of a "real" espresso maker.

I've heard they're exceedingly common in Europe, especially in Italy, but I've never had the fortune to see for myself.

Only in Italy - elsewhere, they're experiencing the same upswing as in the US, but they're by no means exceedingly common.

Mangetout 09-02-2012 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaledin (Post 15448624)
What a bunch of bullshit. Yeah, an express is small cup. But they're meant to be ... wait for it ... fast!

Nitpick: Espresso actually means 'squeezed' (i.e. it's brewed under pressure).

Colophon 09-02-2012 06:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss (Post 15441106)
I'll never forget traipsing around Rome, cursing the tiny, bitter cups of coffee they serve, and then suddenly turning a corner and seeing a Dunkin' Donuts store! I heard angels sing and a shaft of light beamed down on me from Heaven. Fortunately, it was only a block from my hotel, so it became my first stop every morning: 24 ounces of piping hot bliss!

Please let this be a whoosh. Please.

pulykamell 09-03-2012 01:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Švejk (Post 15449676)
Only in Italy - elsewhere, they're experiencing the same upswing as in the US, but they're by no means exceedingly common.

They seemed relatively common in Hungary--that's where I first came across them--but it's possible I had an anomalous experience. All three flats I rented there had moka pots included in the kitchen. I've never been happy with the coffee they produce. It doesn't really make anything resembling espresso to me, and the coffee it does make, well, I'd rather just have a French pressed coffee.

digs 09-03-2012 01:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roderick Femm (Post 15440270)
I've never been to Europe (sob)...

And now you've got the perfect excuse: research!


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