We just replaced our limping, fully automatic espresso machine with a manual one. For several years, our coffee ritual has been something straight out of a lab-rat experiment. Line up, press a button, hear the coffee beans grinding, start salivating, feel caffeine headache dissipate, coffee delivered in cup: rinse, repeat.
Now: it’s a full out Starbuck’s show our house. Too much work, I say! And so much worry about whether the coffee is “tamped” as the appropriate PSI (pounds per square inch, for the uninitiated). I’ve also gotten some grief about not expelling the “puck” (the gooey grounds) when I’m done.
This all makes me wonder if there was life before coffee. When? How? Coffee first arrived to Europe in the late seventeenth century. It was a curious luxury, available only to the wealthiest. Writers such as Nicolas Blegny offer up entire treatises about its medical uses. Coffee was recommended for coughs and diarrhea. It was also considered an aphrodiasiac and a treatment for SDT’s (now that’s a curious mix). Le bon usage du thé du caffé et du chocolat: pour la preservation & pour la guerison des maladies. Lyon & se vend à Paris: Jacques Collombat, 1687.
Maidens may have complained about it–but I won’t. Even if I do have to work so hard to get a good cup of brew chez nous!