Before you order an espresso at a Seattle coffee bar, you can often read where the coffee beans came from, how those beans were roasted--and even a short résumé of the barista who's making your cup. Such passion made Seattle a shoo-in to win the title of best coffee city.
One morning, over 20 years ago, when I was travelling in Inner Mongolia, I realized how much coffee had become part not only of my morning routine, but also of my identity as an Italian living abroad. I was craving coffee, and not just any coffee.
From cheap styrofoam to ceramic to expensive bone China to plastic and even 20-dollar thermoses, everyone who drinks coffee has their favorite "Caffeine Delivery Vehicle." And yet one question lingers: Which cup keeps the planet's favorite drink hotter... longest?
Brewing coffee beans is like cooking garlic. If you use bigger chunks of garlic, the taste is mild; if you put garlic through a press or finely dice it, the taste can be overwhelmingly powerful, even bitter. This is why chefs harp about cutting into uniform size. Coffee's no different.
Dark roast is terrible in more ways than one. Sorry folks. Your oily, burnt French and Italian roasts are the antithesis of what today's coffee should be. It's not your fault that you've been told to enjoy this stuff for so long.
Coffee is amazing. But like any drug, its caffeine content may carry side effects that outweigh the benefits of consumption. Be smart and take time to understand the health consequences of caffeinated beverages and come to your own conclusions.
When it comes to food, Japan has lost some of its mystery. Restaurant patrons are conversant with sushi, sashimi, and tempura. Still, there are still layers and layers that some Western foodies have yet to consider.
There is a path to quitting caffeine and the road ahead is a two-lane country road, deftly carved into mountains and alongside sparkling beaches, which certainly trumps the cement superhighway on which I was perpetually racing.