On Coffee – A is for Arabicas, and B is for Black

Cosi (Nespresso Capsule), Intensity 4
Cosi (Nespresso Capsule), Intensity 4

I’m writing this with a cup of black Cosi brew within reach of my right hand, a short distance from my mouse.

Black Coffee. On a Saturday morning, sitting in front of my laptop in the quiet office with the silence broken only by the almost rhythmic blasts of horns from the street below.

I never would have thought that the day would come when I take my coffee without milk. Cambridge took the milk out of the tea for me. Age seems to have taken the milk out of my coffee.

An acquired taste. The “me” five years back would have rolled my eyes and stuck my tongue out at that. I hated black coffee and thought it the poison of choice for hopeless addicts and pretentious men (somehow I always associated the consumption of black coffee with males) chasing the path of no return.

Historically, the brew of coffee as we know it now, started with the boiling of the husks  of the coffee plant in water, and later as it spread from Africa to the Mediterranean, the increasing use of the beans (lightly roasted, crushed, mixed with spices and further cooked in water). The location of where you take your coffee will affect its preparation, and very much its taste (i.e. the Arabian brew vs the Turkish brew. The latter involves the coffee being ground and boiled and reboiled multiple time in an ibrik). It made significant presence in Europe far later, and then Asia.

At the beginning of this year, when I was thinking of a new subject area to explore more of in this coming six months, I landed on coffee and tea. And cafes. I picked up a few books in the library on coffee (its history, its culture, its philosophy). The science and art of it will have to come later. And I will be visiting a few different cafes each month to take some notes. All in the name of research, although I admit I will probably enjoy it more than most other research work.

The choice was natural in many ways – coffee is both social, educational, spans across history/culture, and was always a starter business sector I was considering. If nothing came of it, at the very least, I will always know and appreciate my coffee better, and it adds another 3 minutes to a conversation with a stranger. I also always had a dream to own a combined cafe and bookshop/library. A nice cosy, wood-themed place with high benches, bright airy windows and old school ceiling fans. Weather-permitting of course.

The Cosi has a milder, smoother finish than most other coffee capsules. I didn’t taste any significant acidity and it left almost no sour after note. Probably a good introduction to black coffee for a coffee and milk taker, or even someone with a preference for milder tastes. I can see why it might too plain and lacking in body for some serious coffee takers though.

And now, back to work. To something slightly less interesting, like a leasing agreement.


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