Food Lifestyle

A conversation over coffee

GD: Up until Michaelmas term, I was an adamant anti-coffee campaigner. I was so determined in my crusade against coffee that I ran a successful operation to stop my parents from drinking it at the age of 10. All this changed, however, last term whilst I was in quarantine with Coronavirus. My lovely new fresher friends were unaware of my aversion to coffee, and would very sweetly drop off iced oat lattes for me on a regular basis. Feeling it would be impolite to decline these deliveries, my coffee journey began. 

IF: I agree. As a child, I loathed coffee – particularly the smell. (I’d shy away from kisses from parents until at least midday). My first waitressing job, though, made me victim to the squeak of the steam tap: its pressure on the milk; the dark creamy shots dripping into hot espresso cups – I couldn’t help myself.

Where does the appeal in coffee lie? Is it the caffeinated core of fast-paced, metropolitan life, or the sense that you’ve achieved that yummy-mummy, ‘let’s grab a coffee’ lifestyle, or the warmth, the cold, the froth or – god-forbid – the taste? Perhaps it’s a mixture. Let us proceed with the Coffee Tribunal…

FROTH – Who doesn’t like froth?

IF: I thought froth was a universal mascot for coffee; that even haters would spoon froth off the top, and leave the espresso beneath; that no child turns down a babycino on account of its moustache-making froth, but fellow member of the jury, GD, disagrees.

GD: Froth is the most overrated, and certainly the most arrogant element of coffee. Froth on coffee is the equivalent to curly-haired people straightening their hair – it unnecessarily tampers with something that is already so perfect in its natural form. 

FILTER OR NO FILTER?

Until we got our own machines, filter coffee only had two perks – it was implausibly cheap, and carried the aesthetic of Gilmore Girls and Friends. But now we know it’s not just a case of looking through a 90s rose-tinted filter, which might have been better left in the past; we think filter coffee needs to be de-stigmatised.

Filter is coffee in its purest form. Whether you prefer it black (like IF) or milky (like GD), with or without sugar, its versatility is what makes it so great. Filter coffee provides you with the caffeine kick you need, whilst also being refreshing and delicious. Don’t be beguiled by influencers and their espresso machine propaganda, because filter coffee’s eco-friendliness and underrated taste require their own media attention too. 

TO MILK OR NOT TO MILK?

IF: They say you’re a dog person or a cat person, and some may apply this to the milk-in-coffee debate. I beg to differ. It’s not just the Italian aesthetic of an affogato-style life, but the taste of black coffee (*gasp*) needs a little more credit.

GD: Milk is a must. This may seem hypocritical considering I was just banging on about coffee in its purest form, but milk has to be an exception. It’s one of the only coffee accoutrements which adds value without compromising coffee’s dignity.

IF: But what type of milk? 

GD: Well – even ardent dairy advocates have confessed to me – in hushed tones – that the sweetness of oat milk is preferable to the outdated dairy, though they can’t bear to admit so. Why does Nero charge 40p extra for milk-alternatives? Surely, by now, dairy should be the alternative, for gustatory reasons, if not for environmental… 

Before we wrap up this epic coffee journey, we implore you to visit the home of Oxford’s best iced latte – Tree Artisan Cafe on Little Clarendon Street. No matter what side of these coffee debates you are on, their latte will satisfy your desires beyond your wildest caffeinated dreams.

Cover photo: Fahmi Fakhrudin on Unsplash