June 28, 2003

Corporations. Coffee. Companies.

Enough of the current Orwell's-hundredth-birthday Royal Society of Chemistry brouhaha to get a Loughborough lecturer to tell us that the milk should go in first. Enough of tea, and of the people who spoil it with milk.

I prefer tea and filter coffee black. I don't like raw milk; it just goes rancid while I'm not looking. I'm not going to buy milk. (When I have cereal, I put apple juice on it, although that tends to turn to bad cider while I'm not looking.)

For some time, I've been on the quest for the ideal cappucino. This is itself made more difficult by disliking milk. So, enter the instant cappucino mix, which is basically powdered instant coffee, milk powder (remember the introduction of Coffee-Mate in the 1970s?), and foaming agents. Available sweetened and unsweetened (but the sugary versions foam better). I have tried:

Douwe Egberts Instant Cappucino.
One big bag of powder that's hard to divide up and meter, although it's fine when done right.
Nestlé's Instant Cappucino.
Individual 12.5g sachets that are just too small to make a decent-size cup. Chocolate powder sealed in its own plastic shaker; the sweetened comes with Plain Chocolate topping, but the unsweetened has Swiss Chocolate topping, presumably to make up for its poor (if improved) foaming and general resemblance to instant coffee plus Coffee-Mate. And those ingredients lists... two stabilisers? Salt?
Maxwell House unsweetened.
Individual 14g sachets that make a large cappucino in my favourite metal mug, but the included packet of Terry's Chocolate Flavour Powder is quite awful, and rarely used.

The combination of Maxwell House unsweetened with Nestlé's Swiss Chocolate topping is the best combination I've yet found, and certainly the easiest to mix and foam when you're in a hurry. Pouring the hot water onto the back of a spoon works particularly well.

But if I take my instant cappucino sans sugar, and, once the decent chocolate has run out, sans chocolate, can I really still call it a cappucino? No. And it's a moot point, really. The ideal cappucino is really the cappucino taken in ideal company.

Posted by Lloyd Wood at June 28, 2003 01:12 AM

And then there's residue once the cup is emptied. The Maxwell House is the clean winner here. Once again, I have to wonder what the Nescafé contains.

Posted by: Lloyd Wood at July 5, 2003 01:05 AM
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Lloyd Wood (L.Wood@surrey.ac.uk)
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