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Published:October 1st, 2006 08:16 EST
The Coffee Malaise

The Coffee Malaise

By Erich Brandenberger (Mentor)

There`s one really bad aspect about Switzerland that needs to be amply publicized: the coffee malaise.
When I go to a restaurant in Switzerland, I can get an espresso, or a double espresso (which isn`t really a variation on the theme) or a Café crème (which is the same amount of coffee as an espresso with three times the water).

There is usually sugar on the table (brown and refined plus saccharin) and you get a mini-tub of half-and-half with any coffee style. Some places, particularly tea rooms that cater to the restless, also serve a Schale which is what, to some people, is known as a "latte," I think-- very little coffee, lots of water, and lots of milk. That is the whole gamut. Well, cappuccinos are available at some places, too.
In the USA, I can get a lungo, a ristretto, a macchiato, a latte, an espresso, a toffee nut latte with toffee sprinkles, a vanilla latte, a caramel macchiato (foamed milk marked with espresso), a mocha Valencia, a white chocolate mocha, and so many other varieties. The complete list would fill an entire page.
What is most important, I can get all these varieties with options: hot, or poured over ice, or iced, small, medium, large, giant, low-sodium, low-calorie, low-cholesterol, low-magnesium, vitamin-enriched, kosher, halal, with milk, skim milk, steamed milk, foamed milk, whipped cream, with or without spices, with coconut flakes, with mocha syrup, with brownie pieces, with Arabica, Robusta, Liberian beans or decaf, with added espresso; and, in all likelihood, with added chi tea.  Certainly, I can get about 23 different kinds of sugar.

I can get a wooden spoon, a plastic spoon, a plastic stirrer, hollow or solid, a metal spoon, a cardboard cup to go, a double cardboard cup to go farther, with or without a lid, a china cup, to stay, a memory tumbler, or a signature tumbler.

That is what I call a selection!