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Matthew Fort: For the Love of Coffee - Espresso Man


Ah, the intoxication of coffee first thing in the morning - the glossy beans, some dark as night, some the colour of milk chocolate; the rumble of the grinder; the perfume rising up to fill the kitchen, earthy, primal, infinitely seductive; the hiss of the superheated water; the sharp, intense, tantalising aroma; the cascade of black magic into the cup; and then - it’s worth getting up and facing the world for just that moment.

I pity people for whom there are no coffee rituals in the morning, or who take their coffee in a cardboard or polystyrene bucket.

They know nothing of the higher realms.

They know nothing of the harmonies, the zen-like pleasures of making and sipping this divine potion, a bastion and moat against the world’s incivilities. 

While that first cup baptises my mouth and tastebuds each day, lifts the spirits and calms the nerves, my coffee pleasures do not end there. 

A short, sharp espresso around 10.30 breaks the tedium of the working morning, and gives me the strength to refocus my mind (such as it is). 

And then another - always a single, never a double - to clear the palate at the end of lunch, the finely-incised olfactory full stop at the end of a gastronomic essay.

And one last hurrah after dinner to signify the end of the day’s pleasures.

Not for me the world of flat whites, long blacks, macchiatos and mochaccinos.

Or even cappuccinos or dalgonas, come to that.

And never, ever, ever ‘instant’. I’d rather down a cup of carbolic.

No. My love of coffee is expressly espresso, precise and to the point to leave me with a sense of repletion, completion and elevation.

Matthew Fort is a renowned food writer and critic. He has been a judge on the BBC’s Great British Menu since the series began in 2006 and was The Guardian’s food and drink editor for ten years. His great love affair with Italian gastronomy and culture has inspired three out of four of his books. We welcome Matthew as an ambassador for Piano Coffee.