What tickles my fancy

By Abbasali Rozais

Coffee in its myriad beverage forms often fails to tickle my fancy, although there are a couple of exceptions. However, coffee as an additive to desserts, beverages and even savoury foods excites me. I especially like coffee with chocolate. Note that this is coffee added to chocolate and not chocolate added to coffee. Often, I’ll just melt some good quality dark chocolate and add some agglomerated coffee, mix with my finger and surrender myself. Coffee makes chocolate, which is perfect as it is, just a bit more perfect.  I often add coffee to desserts such as chocolate mousse or chocolate cream puffs. The coffee adds a complexity not otherwise found.

The smell and taste of coffee stirs a deep pool of memories of a childhood past. The spiced and heavily sweetened coffee beverage known as, ‘khava’, which is often served in Muslim homes is one of the few beverage-type coffees that I absolutely love. It is certainly one of the beverages of my childhood. The sweetness, the richness of flavour and the aroma are all simply wonderful. ‘Khava’ is, I believe, a traditionally Middle Eastern preparation and its aroma and taste brings back the full range of memories from weddings to funerals. Strangely it is served at both happy and sad occasions alike, making the happy, happier and the sad, well, less so.

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‘Mundie Copee’ is another beverage-type coffee that I like, which is simply Sri Lankan coffee, brewed in fresh milk. I think Sri Lankan coffee is far superior in flavour and aroma to all these posh varieties from elsewhere, regardless of what anyone might say. It is important to remember that before Sri Lanka became a ‘Tea Country’ it was renowned for its coffee. Nothing completes a cup of coffee like the course, bitter remains at the bottom of a cup of ‘Mundie Copee’.

I like sprinkling coffee over vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream and simple coffee ice cream excites me too. Using coffee in cooking is another thing I like to do, which gives a deeper and more intense flavour to foods. One such preparation is used as a salad dressing when cold or as a sauce for meat when hot. It’s prepared by mixing lemon juice, bees honey, olive oil, coffee and fresh or dried herbs. Coffee is also nice for use in meat preparations although it tends to not go well with seafood.

I cannot fathom these tongue twisting names of coffees, served up at coffee houses, which I think, people have more to feel posh and great about themselves rather than for the actual taste value of the coffee. Some of these preparations have little coffee in them at all. A number of them taste awful and don’t do much for your mid region, either. But, I must say, I love the exquisite art that Baristas serve up on the foam. One is sometimes in two minds, whether to drink or frame the cup.

Lots of people talk about how coffee helps them stay awake and how they cannot do without their morning cup of coffee. Personally, I have never experienced this, no matter how much coffee I have drunk. Also, if you find you cannot function without your morning coffee, the problem maybe a more deep rooted addiction issue, which you must get looked into.

When it comes to coffee, my feelings are mixed. I both love it and am apathetic towards it at the same time. I wish more chocolatiers would include coffee in their confections, though.  I suppose coffee is just one of those things, it’s been traded as a commodity, used as a political tool and outright banned in some societies as well. Even wars have been fought over it.  Still, there’s something romantic about a warm cup of coffee and a significant other (or a book) on a rainy, gloomy, beautiful day.

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