rant

America Is Not The World / You Could Get Sent Down For Mixing Latin and Greek

i made myself an americano* this morning, for i believe the first time in my life. i was just feeling incapable of appreciating the severity of a normal espresso (it was 7am and life has been hard lately), and stovetop espresso tends to make my  skin crawl (not in a bad way, necessarily. not like, revolting, but like i’m crazy. bugs inside me. that sort of thing. bad for studying).

it was okay, actually, despite the wealth of scorn which i have heaped upon The Very Idea of It in the past. it is common, this scorn (among snobs? all Continentals?), and i have always taken it to be implicit in the name itself, although perhaps even that perception derives from a chain of association that already implicates ‘American’ with ‘watered down,’ ‘adulterated,’ etc; which i grant is unfair both to America(ns) and water.

i don’t think i would even have given my prejudices a second thought had not a friend of mine  who is similarly hardheaded brought it up last summer, along the lines of “hey, i’ve been making myself americanos lately and i really like them. yeah, i know, but i’ve been thinking about it and i’ve decided allongés suck. they make the espresso taste like shit.” since i had also always been suspicious that allongés sucked, and having intelligent pretty ladies with good taste confirm your suspicions tends to be validating (provided those suspicions do not concern your own shortcomings), i think that opened up the conditions of possibility for me eventually liking americanos.

i should say liking an americano. i don’t think that i’ll make a habit of it.

~

* it turns out that what i “actually” made was a long black, which i am not convinced actually exists, but will admit that as i was making it i was contemplating what effect the order of the pour (water into espresso v. espresso into water) would have. (note: i also like the snide note on diacritics in the wiki americano entry, which in turn reminded me of the story, possibly apocryphal, i heard recently about Oxford refusing to have a sociology department for a long time because they opposed the mixing of Latin and Greek. they have one now though, FOR SHAME.)

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3 thoughts on “America Is Not The World / You Could Get Sent Down For Mixing Latin and Greek

  1. muse-tard says:

    since i became an americano, i have relinquished my delicate water-improved espresso for an extra-large (here, literally a foot tall) coffee that i usually order as “big filter coffee” while my nose is dripping and my pallor hints at coffee-related medical problems (fuck the day that a caffeine-accelerated osteoporosis makes my wrist break off at the handing to me of my forearm-sized coffee — i need that!! argh) — apparently filter coffee is the most caffeinated, and as a life of trying to concentrate is the life of toeing a line between enhanced alertness and nodding out from otc uppers (i mean coffee shop counters — what??), i have foregone taste for the all important Quantity… anyway, yesterday i asked if it is weird to say “filter coffee” because it struck me it might be a frenchism or something. the reply was no, but most people say “drip coffee” — i was like oh cool and then i wiped my nose and decided america is the land of the free because you can say gross things, proudly

  2. i’m a pretty big fan of the “shorter americano” (so…would that be an americano ristretto???), where the espresso shot is just diluted a bit (not all the way to full-blown tim horton’s tastelessness. i hate that shit). it’s like getting an allongé, without all the ass-taste, bitterness, and gut-rot intrinsic to that experience. unfortunately, this usually involves a great deal of communication with the person making the coffee, which i hate.

    …but, you know, i would take a normal espresso over that *almost* any day. just, you know… “life is hard” sometimes. the issue for me is that with an americano, i get to drink “more” coffee. i get to sit down for a long time and savour that shit. it just doesn’t taste as good. why can’t i just get a giant mug full of espresso for less than, uh… $12-$15, probably?

    the “snide note on diacritics” in the wikipedia article (and the related one on “hyper foreignization” reminded me of the time when visiting a small town in upstate new york, i came across a café with the accent aigu in café placed over the “f” of the name on their sign. that shit is awesome.

    additionally, i have recently encountered “continentals” who say “expresso”…

    whatever.

    • stillcrapulent says:

      i feel similarly – really the shorter the better, but for mostly the same conflicted rationale. the problem with espresso is, you know, it’s so -fast-. you can’t really ‘go out for coffee’ in the same way. you can’t really linger over as one would like. since i own an espresso machine, though, that makes consistently better espresso than most random coffee shops, i don’t have the same problems re: ordering something to precisely my tastes.

      the f-aigu is now my favourite thing. seriously.

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