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19th of November, 2017

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A Question of Taste

One more stereotype that really has me befuddled is coffee. For some reason, everybody thinks Europeans drink a) a lot of coffee, and b) really strong coffee. Let me blow this one out of the water right now. I drink a lot of coffee. Everybody I know in the States drinks a lot of coffee. Europeans? 1 cup. That’s it, 1 little cup. In Italy, they only drink one cup, and it’s about the size of a shot glass. No refills. No “You wamme to warm that up for ya, Sugar?” Waffle House perks. In Germany, they have some kind of obsession about drinking coffee out of those cappuccino machines. That stuff tastes like thinned-out axle grease, albeit with a hint of nuttiness. Filter coffee is much better. It’s smooth, strong-bodied, and actually smells good.

A German boss of mine stopped me in the office cafeteria once, and asked me what I thought of the new cappuccino-style coffee machine he’d just had installed. I told him I hadn’t used it, that in the IT department we had our own dripper that we used. He sniffed, then said, “Oh yes, I forgot, you’re American. You have no taste.” Then walked on. I was miffed for a second. Then realized he was wearing a bright-orange jumpsuit, sandals, yellow sunglasses and, I swear to God, a pith helmet. I figured I’d let it go.

My only co-worker in IT was a Saxon. According to him, Saxons also can’t stand the cruddy java that other Germans drink, preferring the manly filter-coffee. Maybe it’s because, being East Germans, they appreciate the good things in life that pampered, effete West Germans long taken for granted. Anyway, once the automat was installed in the cafeteria, we absconded with the old dripper, and would have defended it with our lives. I hid it behind the mail server; it was hooked up to the battery backup system, lest the power fail.

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