‘One black coffee please. No milk, no sugar.’ As I’ve traveled around the world, this is one of the first things I try to learn how to say in the local language. It always helps to smile, start with a cheerful hello or a good morning.
No milk. It’s probably to do with being 3 or 4 years old, walking back from the milking shed where my father and I had hand-milked a cow, and my father dipping a glass into the still-warm bucket of milk and insisting I drink it. The smell (stomach-wrenching stench), the animal-warmth of it, similar (if you’ll excuse me saying so) to the warmth of a cow’s piss and shit, and the stray pieces of straw from the floor of the milking shed, also in the bucket of slimy, frothy,… that’s enough description. Please don’t ever put milk in my coffee. Please. And that abomination of ‘food stuff’ – powdered ‘cream’ – should never have been released onto an unsuspecting and naive public. Sugar in coffee makes as much sense as putting butter onto a no-fat muffin; it defeats the purpose. Coffee is a strong, acidic, sour hit. Sugar dulls the hit, so why do it?
Flavoured syrup. This paragraph should not need to be written. Why put chocolate-flavoured syrup into coffee? Or vanilla-flavoured syrup? Or hazelnut? It’s like adding peppermint to chocolate or like eating an orange-flavoured banana. If you want caramel, eat caramel. If you want chocolate, eat chocolate. Why adulterate the beautiful crisp electric flavour of coffee by adding toxic waste into your cup? (Almost all vanilla flavouring, by the way, is a chemical by-product of the paper manufacturing process and nothing to do with the vanilla pod. It’s not toxic, but it is a waste-product.) Each to their own though, go ahead and add a waste chemical to your coffee if that’s what makes your day. I wonder what hazelnut syrup is made from… cow’s piss perhaps.
So there it is… Bongiorno, uno espresso per favore. Niente latte. Niente zucchero.