By: Jasmine Chen, PhD student, Department of English, FAH │ ISSUE86 FEBRUARY My UM
Coffee 101: What We Need to Know about Coffee
Rapid development of coffee shops, dazzling coffee brands and exotic coffee names bewilder modern customers who blindly purchase and consume various types of coffee without much knowledge about them. The history of coffee is long and fascinating, and in this piece I will share some basic information about this much-loved beverage.
Coffee is brewed from roasted coffee beans which contain caffeine, a substance that can also can be found in cocoa and tea. Let’s look at five of the most popular types of coffee drinks which are regularly found in coffee shops: espresso, caffè Americano, café Latte, cappuccino, and mochachino.
Espresso is the most fundamental Italian coffee, which is ‘brewed by expressing or forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans’ (web source). This ‘small amount’ of highly-concentrated coffee is welcomed by people who need an instant wake-up.
Americano is developed upon the base of espresso by infusing it with hot boiling water to dilute the strong taste. The process of making Americano is simple, and you can personalise it with your favourite taste, such as honey, sugar, cinnamon.
This is my favourite type of coffee. It is also made from espresso by mixing it with a large amount of steamed milk, topped with a thin layer of foamed milk. Within a cup of latte, the percentage of steamed milk is larger than that of the foam to ensure a smooth finish. Cappuccino Compared to latte, cappuccino contains less steamed milk and more foamed milk on top, which gives cappuccino a stronger coffee taste.
Similar to café latte and cappuccino, mocha is also an espresso-based coffee made with steamed milk and foamed milk; nevertheless, what makes it attractive to first-time coffee drinkers is the chocolate powder or syrup that is added to the top of the drink. It tastes sweeter, thicker and creamier than ordinary coffee.
Coffee keeps me company during my entire journey of dissertation writing. I typically grab a cup of latte at Pacific Coffee before I head to the library, which is a routine I have followed for several years at UM. Many people, including me, rely on coffee to stimulate their neural system and keep them awake; while there are some who treat branded coffee as a fashion accessory that serves as an indispensable part of their stylish outfit. The diverse motivations behind buying coffee unveil the truth that coffee has indeed become one of the most popular beverages in the world. This includes, surprisingly, China, a country with a long history of tea-leaf growing and tea-drinking.
Contributions to this column are from the Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities