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Monday, September 03, 2012

A question of dosage

I don't have many vices in life.  An occasional cocktail, beer or glass of wine is about as crazy as I get.  But if you want to get right down to the technical definition of drugs, I tend to use one rather regularly:  Caffeine.

Like most westerners, I tend to take one mega-dose of my drug of choice first thing in the morning.  A self administered 500+ml caffeine Bolus; STAT!

However, after Zahava and I spent some time in Italy recently, I have to say I was enchanted by the quaint local custom concerning caffeine intake:  Rather than take one mega-dose of caffeine in the morning, Italians tend to enjoy 10 - 15 small doses (see note below), throughout the day and late into the evening. 

Aside from the outdoor cafes which dotted the center of pretty much every Italian town and village, every store, gas station and fast-food outlet had a coffee counter where a team of baristi work tirelessly preparing and serving a seemingly never-ending stream of espressos, capuccinos, caffè corretto (a shot of espresso with a tot of liquor added, usually grappa, although sometimes sambuca or brandy), and resentin("little rinser": after finishing a cup of espresso with sugar, a few drops of one of the previously mentioned spirits are poured into the nearly empty cup, swirled and drunk down in one sip). 

Oh... none of this paper cup $tarbuck$ crap over there!  Glass and ceramic demitasse, all the way!  you order, drink and move on.  No take away!

I may just have to consider adjusting my dosage.  Of course, installing an espresso machine in my office might take some convincing to the powers that be.  :-)

Note:  Espresso has more caffeine per unit volume than most beverages, but the usual serving size is smaller—a 30 mL (1 US fluid ounce) shot of espresso has 40 to 75 mg of caffeine, which is less than half the caffeine of a standard 240 mL (8 US fluid ounces) cup of drip-brewed coffee.  [source]

Posted by David Bogner on September 3, 2012 | Permalink

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Imbibing caffeine all throughout the day - how can you go wrong?

Posted by: Hadassah Sabo Milner | Sep 3, 2012 1:36:42 PM

I've had a espresso machine for as long as I can remember. Got it after my first trip to Europe. I also grind my own beans. I'm spoiled. I also drink "regular coffee", and usually have 8 - 10 different types beans around. I even have a notebook to track my bean blends. I'm looking for that "perfect" cup.

Posted by: Yabu | Sep 3, 2012 3:11:38 PM

May I recommend a De Longhi Icona espresso machine. Small and elegant, it isn't expensive, makes great coffee and comes in several colours including red.

Posted by: chairwoman | Sep 3, 2012 3:19:24 PM

You HAVE to visit NZ. We have coffee shops like Italy on every street, and the most per capita in the world. All our coffees are espresso based, and we have our own varieties: Flat whites, long blacks etc. Plus around 100 boutique roasteries. You would be in seventh heaven.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Sep 4, 2012 10:44:20 AM

so when are you going to start roasting your own beans?

Posted by: dave | Sep 5, 2012 6:06:17 AM

I grew up with non-coffee-drinking parents and can't handle caffeine myself, so it's never been part of my life. I did try to develop the habit after a trip to Paris many years ago, but it just wasn't the same when the breakfast fairy didn't magically bring the tray with the little white pitcher of hot coffee and the matching one of hot milk to the bedroom door...

Posted by: bratschegirl | Sep 5, 2012 10:27:57 PM

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