Vantage point

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sir, Espresso is Black Coffee

The waiter at 'The Big Cuppa' coffee shop at E Square in Pune has finally done it. For ages now, I have been grating my teeth whenever I order an espresso, and am met with the explanation "It is a black coffee, sir". I then hiss back, "Yes, I know it is a black coffee". I've been waiting for 'the one waiter' to come along who will knowingly or unknowingly swear by the mantra of "caveat emptor".

The aforementioned waiter turned out to be the one. I ordered an espresso, and he just nodded. Nice!

To be fair though, this irritating habit of baristas across India to enlighten their customers about the true nature of an espresso has a reason. Several restaurants all over India serve "expresso" coffee, with milk in it. Plus, black coffee is not that popular in India, at least in Mumbai and Pune. So I am sure that in the early days of the CCDs and Baristas, people ordered an espresso expecting a foamy milky sweetish cup, but got a small bitter black shot of coffee. Heated arguments would have ensued.

So the "sir, espresso is black coffee" is just a disclaimer of sorts.