I was in France last week and I was reminded, for the nth time, that coffee there tastes so much better than it does here. I don’t mean that you, me or anyone else isn’t capable of making a decent cup of the stuff at home in Britain, whether with a cafetiere or not. I mean that the fare routinely offered in France – and indeed in Italy and Spain – is not merely borderline drinkable, it’s actually palatable.
In Britain, coffee bought from the likes of Starbucks, Pret A Manger, Costa Coffee, etc is a) branded and b) expensive. Coffee bought from a pavement cafe will likely be iffy. Non-branded coffee bought at a motorway service area might frequently seem like it’s been brewed at the petrol station, with petrol involved. But in France a few days ago, for only €2.50 on an autoroute in Provence, I had a perfect cup of coffee, and not the first one of the week either. I don’t know why this is the case but in my experience it invariably is.
Of course, there are worse things than a British cup of cafe coffee. A German cup, for example. And when in the States, I’m none too keen on the contents of a Cona coffee maker, especially when it’s been nicely (not) stewing for an hour or so. And let’s not even think about coffee in Greece and Turkey. Forget the petrol station; that is sump oil.