There is an amazing coffee culture in Australia – lots of down-to-earth, local coffee places. I’d somewhat heard of it, being told it’s around espresso, not “cups of coffee” as we are accustomed to in the US. My initial misconception of espresso is the “short black,” the incredibly concentrated shots of coffee to throw back quickly as you are on the go. I was perplexed, “How did people still manage to sit around and catch up over coffee if it was only done in two sips and all that remained was an empty ‘shot-mug’?”
Enter the ‘long black,’ ‘flat white,’ and ‘capuchinno.” My incredible host, Cheryl, is a coffee fanatic, with a state-of-the-art espresso machine in
her home. My first morning’s arrival, sleepy-eyed off an overnight flight, Cheryl offered me an espresso. Given my initial thought of Espresso as a small shot of coffee, I was pensive but wanted to be a good guest. She served me a ‘long black,’ which is essentially two shots of espresso with steaming hot water, giving me more of the familiar ‘Cup ‘o Joe” that we are used to. (I later learn that this is similar to an Americano. Source: Sketchplanations) Well let me tell you, it’s was smooth, aromatic, and flavorful. It was love at first sight! My thoughts immediately shifted to asking Cheryl what kind of espresso machine I should purchase upon my return home!
Being the inquisitive person that I am, I asked Cheryl a million questions about coffee. Concerned about caffeine levels, Cheryl pointed out that ‘dark roast’ coffee actually has less caffeine than a light roast! I found that quite interesting and wanted to share with my dear readers as an interesting FYI!
One evening following dinner, Cheryl prepared Turkish coffee. She didn’t use her machine as I thought she might, rather, she pulled out a small ‘pot’ with a peculiar shape and long handle. A Turkish coffee pot is called a cezve. As it turns out, Turkish Coffee is far too fine to be prepared in a coffee maker, rather it is the result of the steaming process of the water over a flame. It is the boiling water and the fine coffee grounds that form the coffee, the process happens over a few minutes, in which a few ‘boiling’ cycles create foam expanding to the top and during this step, the pot must be removed from the heat to allow the foam to settle back down. After two to three repeats of this cycle, the coffee is ready! (Read this article about the Turkish Coffee process & customs)
Cheryl served these with authentic Turkish delights. Oh, delightful were they! I had pomegranate and pistachio. It was, thankfully, not overly sweet like the American knock-offs. In the end, Now I know why Edmund in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was such a fan of Turkish Delights, which were initially used by the White Witch to bribe him for information about his siblings. (Further reading: Article about the Turkish Delights in the Chronicles of Narnia)