Gransnet forums


Our Coffee Culture

(47 Posts)
dorsetpennt Sat 16-Jun-12 17:36:36

The first time we came back to England when I was 9 years old I remember my Canadian father lamenting the fact that one couldn't get a decent cup of coffee here. We came back on 2 other occasions and he again commented on the very good cup of tea but appalling coffee. Of course there were exceptions. A good French or Italian resturant might serve a decent coffee. Even a decent hotel like the Savoy etc. I do remember coffee bars with their noisy Gaggia coffee machines where one could have a capuccino or frothy coffee.[If you lived in a small village or town these weren't available]. When I was twelve years old a friend and I were allowed to go for a coffee on Friday nights,home by eight of course. We used to have two coffees and one rumbaba and two forks please. This being a matter of huge amusement to my wonderful grandfather. On my birthday he treated us to two rumbabas - but it wasn't so much fun. Most resturants and cafes served up instant coffee and this apparently was awful - my father said that we couldn't even serve up a decent instant coffee!! I do remember the shop on the high street that served up deli type meats and 'foreign' food. They also had a drum of coffee roasting away in the window giving the high street a glorious smell. Now even the most ordinary cafe will have a coffee machine. However, the downside in a serve-yourself will have long queues due to the fact that your coffee is being made. But I love this coffee culture, you can pop in on your own with a book or a paper and spend ages over your Americano or latte. Friends meet up for long conversations and arguements, or you can grab a take-away latte if you prefer. I like tea but I -love- coffee.Dad would have loved it.

johanna Sat 16-Jun-12 22:40:28

Hello * dorset*
Please let me know where there is , anywhere at all, you can buy a real coffee!
I agree with your father who said we can't even serve up a decent instant coffee.
I do not know how long ago that was, but things have not changed much.

And don't start me on coffee/tea served on our Airlines. They both taste the same: Dishwater! Whatever class you fly in.

dorsetpennt Sat 16-Jun-12 22:53:06

hi Johanna actually I was talking about the 1950/60's - but things have improved a bit since then - our instant is still pretty dire though there is a brand called Millicano by Kenco which is getting there. Nothing like the real thing - trouble with the capacinnos and lattes is that they are 90% hot milk. As for the sirlines - I either stick to the hard stuff or a diet coke. I'm very suspicious about the source of their coffees!!!

johanna Sat 16-Jun-12 23:13:49

Hello again dorset

I also stick to the hard stuff on airlines, but would it not be wonderful to have proper coffee in stead?
My OH, then a mere teenager used to work in El Sorrano in London in the 1950/1960 period.
Don't know if I spelled it correctly.

Anyway, how do you make your coffee at home?
I hope it is not the instant method?

jeni Sat 16-Jun-12 23:20:40

No way!shock
BTW has any body tried the much vaunted blue mountain? I find it very bland!

whenim64 Sat 16-Jun-12 23:26:39

Yes, tried Blue Mountain many years ago, and it's tasteless. Also, Peabury (sp?) which was lovely, but these coffees are ridiculously expensive now.

jeni Sat 16-Jun-12 23:28:23

I like an Italian or French strong, slightly bitter brew?

johanna Sat 16-Jun-12 23:30:41

Hey, jeni
Yes i have tried the blue mountain, and agree with you.
Please go to Dr. Google and find all about coffee.
You will need a rainy day........... it will take ages.
On the other hand it is fascinating.

Ariadne Sun 17-Jun-12 04:51:43

I love South American coffee - am using Sainsbury's Colombian at the moment (have a mug next to me now) and I think that it, and Guatemalan, are my favourites. I will not touch instant coffee!

flowerfriend Sun 17-Jun-12 07:33:02

I make a small pot of filter coffee at breakfast every morning. When I go to these coffee shops while visiting the UK I find the coffee rather weak. Freetrade Guatemalan for me.

Bags Sun 17-Jun-12 07:55:27

I thought I liked Blue Mountain coffee but I've changed my mind.

petallus Sun 17-Jun-12 08:49:07

I'm definitely part of the coffee culture; I'm always meeting friends for a chat over a capaccinno. I don't really like coffee much but I like the ritual and you've got to drink something if you go to Costa or wherever.

glammanana Sun 17-Jun-12 11:37:27

Sitting with my coffee & brandy and people watching for a couple of hours is the only thing that I miss from our years of living abroad I could go out to the local shops or postoffice locally and mr.glamma knew that I would not be back for a while as I undoubtably met someone and we would sit and chat over coffee and cake for a good couple of hours.

gkal Sun 17-Jun-12 14:39:21

In the last 40 years, I have had almost every possible kind of lovely proper coffee while living in several countries, plus used several types of coffee machines. In Italy and Switzerland, I don't think you can get a bad coffee. The UK has definitely improved during the last 30 years. However, I find coffee upsets my stomach now so am back to a bit of hot water/milk with a few grains of instant thrown in!! like when I was a teenager. I was bought yet another coffee machine last Christmas by someone who felt sorry for me because I don't have one! I'm afraid it had to go back!

Bez Sun 17-Jun-12 16:56:21

I love good strong coffee and buy French roast Columbian which I grind in small doses but I have to be careful of the quantities I drink and the time of day etc. as it can play havoc with my digestive system and Gaviscon is required. I too love the culture of sitting with a coffee having a chat.
Do you remember the coffee bars of the sixties- go in one for hours have a coffee and money in the juke box - great places for students - I had my first apple strudel in a coffee bar (L'Auberge) in Richmond - the Surrey one.

nanaej Sun 17-Jun-12 18:02:18

I always think of 'instant' as completely different drink from coffee! There a a few good independent cafes nearby where decent coffee is served. I only have a coffee occasionally as like Bez it has to have a gaviscon chaser!

feetlebaum Sun 17-Jun-12 18:08:13

I too buy Colombian beans and grind them as required - coffee is made in a filter machine - I drink three mugs a day, black with sweeteners.

Instant? NO! Too many memories of all-night music writing for a deadline next day, kept going by Maxwell House and Gauloise cigarettes... no more, my friends, no more!

Ian42 Mon 18-Jun-12 14:04:17

I used to drink coffee by the bucketful, until I spent two days in hospital, so now I'm a tea drinker a brew is the only thing for me.

BurgundyGran Mon 18-Jun-12 14:04:22

I tend to only have one coffee a day unless I go out to eat. I have a small cup of decaffinated coffee. Black no sugar. In the restaurants/cafes here in France even decaf tends to be strong. I prefer a herbal tea. Green tea, Rooibos, Vervaine, Camomile and Mint.

Jacey Mon 18-Jun-12 19:26:40

Like BurgundyGran I tend to go for the herbal teas the smell of coffee but it never seems to match the tastehmm

j04 Mon 18-Jun-12 19:35:13

I agree it never really matches the smell. I drink it, really, for the caffeine boost.

Humbertbear Mon 18-Jun-12 20:39:53

Greek or Turkish coffee for me or the Israeli version spiced with cardamom. I usually order a double expresso in this country, at least it's strong.

nanaej Mon 18-Jun-12 21:19:35

Sorry to be pedantic but think coffee with cardamom is Palestinian rather than Israeli. Was my (Palestinain) father's fave drink.

NannaB Tue 19-Jun-12 09:19:39

Instant coffee is taboo has to be the freshly brewed kind. Didn't drink tea for years but now love Rooibos tea but the family laugh at me because I can never pronounce it properly!

dorsetpennt Tue 19-Jun-12 20:26:19

Johanna I use filter coffee - have taken a leaf from my son and his wife and have started to grind my own. I tend to try various types - I do like Columbian and or Kenyan at the moment. I am not human in the morning until my first cup of coffee