Upon glancing at one of those evilly enticing Yahoo! headlines you wish you never looked at before, I picked up another piece of otherwise useless knowledge that the search engine somehow makes indispensible in my life, and learned that coffee as one of the big no-no’s in our healthy living diets.  But, get this: drinking a cup every day drastically reduces depression.  So, I can forego the drink in favor of a happier body until I slip into a deep emotional slump and kill myself.  Go figure.

            Coffee is just one of the national drinks here inSpain.  It’s mostly drunk in espresso form which is why Spaniards have trouble adjusting to lighter versions.  I still get flak as an American for being somehow partially responsible for all the watered-down crap they make back home.

            “But what about Starbucks?” I rebut.  “That should be proof enough thatAmericaknows a thing or two about a good brew.”  I can’t stand Starbucks and only go there when I have a need for a good clean toilet or want to feel reassured that I am cultured, but unfounded attacks on my country gets my blood boiling so high that if I spilled it one someone I would get sued for not having posted a label “Warning – Blood May Cause Severe Burns”.

            They say things like.  “Your coffee is so watery it doesn’t taste like anything.”

            “Yeah it does.”

            “Like what?”

            “Like water.  Plus you get a ton of it.  The way it should be.  Not one of those itty-bitty cups that you down in 30 seconds.  If I get a coffee I want it to last for about six days.”

            Plus, the fact is, American coffee does have some taste to it.  In fact, I would add it has flavor.  All kinds of flavor.  And it smells good.  And after about32 ouncesyou start to shake.  That’s the part that keeps you from putting a gun to your head.

            InSpain, you have several basic types that will help you from doing yourself in:

1)      Café solo – small black espresso

2)      Café con leche – coffee with milk or café au lait.  Not a cappuccino.

3)      Café cortado – coffee with just a splash of milk.

Café cortado is like a café con leche but with less milk and it is normally ordered after a meal like lunch or dinner.  Café con leche is more of a morning drink and also taken at the late afternoon merienda time.  I mention this inside tip so you can impress your friendly Spaniard by ordering the right coffee at the right time.  Asking for a café con leche after dessert is a dead giveaway that you’re a “newcomer”.  Unless, of course you like it.

            In summer it is common to change and get a café con hielo, or ice coffee.  The Spanish don’t get fancy about this one.  They mean what they say.  This consists of served a black espresso with an empty cup of ice.  Sugar is normally added to the hot drink so that it dissolves and then the whole think is poured into the glass of ice.  Voilá!  The result drink is dreadful.  It really is.  Interesting as an experimental study, but the final product could be dumped…but away from the clean water supply.

            The Spanish love it, which probably explains why they aren’t on Prozac.

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