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Selection of Coffee

Many varieties of coffee are to be had, but Mocha, Java, and Rio are the ones most used. A single variety, however, is seldom sold alone, because a much better flavor can be obtained from blend coffee, by which is meant two or more kinds of coffee mixed together.

It is usually advisable to buy as good a quality of coffee as can be afforded. The more expensive coffees have better flavor and greater strength than the cheaper grades and consequently need not be used in such great quantity. It is far better to serve this beverage seldom and to have what is served the very best than to serve it so often that a cheap grade must be purchased. For instance, some persons think that they must have coffee for at least two out of three daily meals, but it is usually sufficient if coffee is served once a day, and then for the morning or midday meal rather than for the evening meal.

After deciding on the variety of coffee that is desired, it is well to buy unground beans that are packed in air-tight packages. Upon receiving the coffee in the home, it should be poured into a jar or a can and kept tightly covered.

Methods of Making Coffee

Several methods are followed in the making of coffee, the one to select depending on the result desired and the kind of utensil to be used. The most common of these methods are: boiling, which produces a decoction; infusion, or filtration, which consists in pouring boiling water over very finely ground coffee in order to extract its properties; and percolating, in which boiling water percolates, or passes through, finely ground coffee and extracts its flavor. For any of these methods, soft water is better than water that contains a great deal of lime. Many times persons cannot understand why coffee that is excellent in one locality is poor in another. In the majority of cases, this variation is due to the difference in the water and not to the coffee. From 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls of coffee to 1 cupful of water is the usual proportion followed in making coffee.

Serving Coffee

The serving of coffee may be done in several ways, but, with the exception of iced coffee, this beverage should always be served as hot as possible. As can well be imagined, nothing is more insipid than lukewarm coffee. Therefore, coffee is preferably made immediately before it is to be served. Sugar and cream usually accompany coffee, but they may be omitted if they are not desired.

Coffee may be served with the dinner course, with the dessert, or after the dessert. When it is served with the dinner course or the dessert, a coffee cup or a tea cup of ordinary size is used; but when it is served after the dessert, a demi-tasse, or small cup that holds less than half the amount of the other size, is preferable. Usually, after-dinner coffee, or café noir, as such black coffee is called, rather than coffee with cream and sugar, is served after the dessert course of a heavy dinner because it is supposed to be stimulating to the digestion.

The pouring of coffee may be done at the table or in the kitchen. If it is done at the table, the person serving should ask those to be served whether or not they desire cream and sugar, and then serve accordingly. If it is done before the coffee is brought to the table, the cream and sugar should be passed, so that those served may help themselves to the desired amount. Care should always be taken in the serving of coffee not to fill the cup so full that it will run over or that it will be too full to handle easily when the cream and sugar are added.


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Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Volume 5.

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