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Douwe Egberts [Advertisement]

An interesting and snappy video from Douwe Egberts about the history of the espresso. I knew coffee originated in Africa but I hadn't heard the (perhaps apocryphal) story of Kaldi, a ninth century Ethiopian goatherd who purportedly discovered its effects. This is especially worth watching for the shots of Brits drinking coffee in the 1950s, doing their best to adopt 'the unhurried philosophy of the Parisian at his pavement table' - with varying success.

Disclaimer: I've accepted a fee for posting this. But it's a particularly good video.


  1. I like your infomercial and I'm glad you got paid for it. Quite right too. Douwe Egberts make quite nice coffee.
    I loved seeing the archive footage of the 1950's coffee bars - my father always used to talk about them as an ideal place to date a girl in the 1950's - made you look sophisticated, the kind of chap who would go up to London to see a Brigitte Bardot film, in French. Used to get a lot of grief for not drinking his coffee fast enough, he says.
    It also reminded me that it's probably ten years since I last went to Bar Italia, despite the fact it's less than ten minutes walk from my office.

  2. I'm glad to see that Bar Italia featured in the video - it's a lovely little place, though no thanks to their espressos, which I always find go cold too quickly (perhaps they don't warm the cups beforehand?) and which taste horrid! That said, they serve lovely parma ham and mozzarella panini, and there's a little coffee shop called 'Algerian Coffee Stores' round the corner on Old Compton Street that serves much better (and cheaper) espresso to take away.

  3. Charlie B! - Bar Italia use an Italian blend of coffee, which contains much more Robusta that most other coffees, giving the espresso a much more bitter taste than other places.

    Also, Italians down their espresso the moment it arrives, which means it is served at drinking temperature, hence why it goes cold so quickly.

  4. Mrs Trefusis - Thanks. What a lovely anecdote. I'm a fan of Bar Italia too.

    CharlieB - Good knowledge. I could basically spend all day hanging around there. In fact, that's not a bad idea....

    Anonymous - Ta for the tip :)