Eureka! Bingo! Hellsapoppin’ … and other expressions of delight and discovery; I do believe the seemingly interminable search for a British cafe that understands the words “a long black” is at last over. And in one of the more unlikely locations, too.
Up and down this cafe-crowded land a request from this caffeine addict for a long black – such a normal part of one’s daily existence in Australia – has been met with everything from bafflement through bemusement to to outright dismissal. There ain’t no such thing in the Pommie barista’s lexicon.
Which is puzzling considering the huge advance that British cafe life has made in recent years. No longer does one have to suffer the horrors of stewed percolator coffee or pots of instant Nescafe brew. Espressos, lattes, cappucinos and perhaps even the occasional macchiato and ristretto are now widely available even far from the confines of the major cities. But not a long black, and certainly not a coffee served in a glass rather than a cup.
The closest thing on offer is an abomination labelled as an Americano, which is probably a fair description considering the terrible things Americans do to the noble bean (and don’t get me even started on the horrors of Starbucks). This consists of a gigantic bowl of brownish liquid, far more than can be comfortably consumed at a gentle coffee break, that resembles more soup than drink.
Even after describing a long black – offering even to call upon my certificated ability to prepare “the perfect cup of coffee” – the baristas of the UK seem incapable of producing this daily kick-starter. Show them a picture, and they simply look baffled. It is beyond their experience, knowledge and ability.
And so imagine the joy when, after a few initial skirmishes in recent days, I was today delivered a long black, with crema, and in a glass. The perfect start to a perfect crisp and sunny morning, sitting on the cobblestoned forecourt of the Duke Street Sandwich Bar
in Truro, almost three hundred miles from the country’s cosmopolitan capital and one of the least likely locations to find such pleasures.
Yes, Amanda, there is a Father Christmas – and even a long black hidden away deep in Cornwall’s Celtic heart.