A Heated Coffee Quarrel [PHIL-OSOPHY]
When making a cup of coffee, do you put in cream and sugar first, or last? This question continues to be the source of some chippy disagreements.
Some people swear that pouring hot coffee over half and half makes the coffee taste "smoother" as compared to adding the cream to a cup just poured. Have you ever tested both ways? One person told me she only takes cream because she likes to see it circulating and diffusing in the coffee, and that's while she's straight.
For those who take sugar, in terms of sweetness, adding sugar before pouring the coffee gives the best results because it dissolves completely.
My brother-in-law's family owned and operated one of the nation's most successful coffee roasters, New England Coffee, for the past 100 years, until they sold it a few years ago. We've had this conversation before, and I remember him saying that the majority of people can't be regarded as "real coffee drinkers" because they dilute it with cream, sugar or syrups.
I polled friends and relatives, one of whom said she didn't think anyone could tell one way or the other what went in first while you're sipping a cup on your way to work. Another said she pours milk in last until she sees the exact shade she likes.
So is adding cream and sugar an American invention? A little yes and a lot more no. Our troops in WWII got the idea from the Italians who were serving lattes and cappuccinos using steamed milk. The French loved their cafe au lait with sweetened cream back in the early 18th century. In the 1950s, American households didn't like the dark, acidic, strong black coffee taste by itself and started adding not only cream or milk but sugar as well.
But the trophy goes to Joe Sheridan, inventor of Irish coffee, or Caife Gaelach. His interesting story is worth a quick search, but Sheridan thought up the drink while he was a chef at the County Limerick Airport in Foynes. People flying out spread the love for it around the globe. As one tale goes, an American passenger first drank it and asked if it was Brazilian coffee. Chef Joe Sheridan replied, "No, that's Irish coffee."
So, do you have an order of things for your coffee?
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.