How to Serve Coffee

When making your coffee you should mix about seven grams or one level tablespoon for each cup of water. Your coffee maker probably came with a plastic tablespoon measure. Europeans usually consider a coffee cup to be about 125 ml, which makes a stronger cup of coffee than a seven ounce (250 ml) cup in America.

The small demitasse cup is commonly used to serve strong coffee in Europe, the Middle East and South America, in contrast to the general American preference for a large coffee mug of weaker coffee. You may need to experiment until you find the strength of coffee and the size of cup that you enjoy.

Black is the traditional way of serving coffee.

Sweetening your coffee with sugar has long been popular, and is standard practice when making the traditional strong and sweet coffee preferred by the Turkish.

Coffee and milk are a popular combination. A dash of milk in your cup of instant coffee is one option, but there are finer things in life.

The French cafe au lait can be made simply with hot milk (not quite boiling) used in place of water to make your coffee in a French press or Bodum plunger coffee maker. To your taste, you can water the milk down with nearly boiling water. This is a great way to start your day out in Paris, served with a croissant and plumb jam.

If you are in Italy you may prefer a cappuccino. Most espresso coffee makers are fitted with a wand to steam and froth milk. The typical cappuccino is a mix of one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk and topped with one-third frothed milk. The steaming and frothing is best done in a stainless steel jug, at just under boiling temperature. Milk takes on a different taste once boiled, and a skin will form, so watch carefully how hot you get the milk. At home you could use a small Bodum coffee plunger to froth your heated milk, or one of the specially designed whisks you can find in kitchenware stores. Many people enjoy a sprinkle of drinking chocolate or cinnamon over the froth.

A caffe latte, or flat white, is made with steamed milk without much of the froth, usually about 3 parts milk to one part espresso.

Adding cream to your coffee has been popular, especially the dollop of whipped cream that is traditional in Austria, but it has to be said the practice has probably declined in popularity today under pressure from the health lobby!

Vietnamese enjoy their coffee with thick condensed milk, which settles in the bottom of the typical small espresso-sized serving cup until stirred into the coffee. To a western taste it probably works best when using sweetened condensed milk.

A popular coffee variation is to add a cordial flavoring. Starbucks coffee shops offer a range of flavors. This fashion may have its origins in an earlier fashion of adding a liqueur to an after dinner cup of coffee. Perhaps the most well known variation is the Irish coffee, which is the addition of Irish whiskey to a cup of coffee.