I have always, since my young adulthood, taken my coffee black. This is how my mother drinks her coffee, and I am a stickler for tradition. But Spain changed all that.
In Spain it is nearly impossible to drink black coffee because what is offered when you ask for black coffee – or cafe americano – is really espresso. And it is so bitterly strong that any significant quantity might kill you.
The husband drank cafe americano from Galicia to Andalucia, and shortly after our return he suffered a ruptured appendix. Coincidence? While all medical science might insist that it was, I choose to think not. I’m surprised it didn’t take out his spleen as well.
The alternative to this gastric solvent was cafe con leche, the Spanish version of a latte. And that is what I drank. I’ve always thought sugar in coffee quite disgusting, but milk isn’t so bad. In fact, after a few weeks of frothy cafe con leche, I wasn’t quite as keen on plain old black coffee as I used to be.
After our return, I found myself pining for Spanish-style cafe. I didn’t want some super-sweetened $5 Starbucks latte. I wanted coffee with frothy milk in it, just like I got at the Hotel Altair in Santiago de Compostela.
Instead, I laid out $30 for a Frabosk milk frother, a little stainless steel pot with a pump-action screen that froths up milk like a charm. (Being a fussy American, I use 2 percent Lactaid milk.)