What’s with the espresso?

Many of my students ask me why I drink those little cups of espresso. I’m told that there are debates going on outside the classroom. So I thought I’d produce some kind of public explanation to put the speculation to rest. So here it is.

Espresso is a term used only in English-speaking countries. It is short for caffè espresso: coffee made expressly (i.e. upon request). It is made expressly for you when you order it. In Italy, the idea of pre-brewing coffee is unheard of. So ordering a caffè in Italy will always get you what Americans call “espresso”. In other Mediterranean countries you may get something a little different, depending upon the technology used to produce the coffee. But it is generally made to order.

Why the small cup? It’s sometimes called a demitasse. That’s French for “half-cup”, but it’s a particularly Italian style of drinking coffee based on an invention by Luigi Bezzerra by Desiderio Pavoni at the beginning of the twentieth century. Jimmy Stamp at Smithsonian.com describes them as the “the Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs of espresso”. The process used pressure to force hot water through fairly finely ground coffee beans in order to brew quickly and dispense directly into the cup.… Read more…

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Thanksgiving 2012

This year’s Thanksgiving word cloud includes both Facebook and my Twitter feed.

Word Cloud of Facebook and Twitter Feeds on Thanksgiving 2012

Noticeably absent this year is the word “bacon”.

And, for good measure, here is a topic model of the tweets and posts:

  1. I’m canyon things man cuteness blog ol drop teens gourd
  2. you’re lovely hike home family kill center orangutanes morning daily
  3. thanksgiving love turkey join audience kennedys infotech anonymous open driving
  4. kill history started jugar marylebone brightest uk leave topic twitter
  5. happy monrovia post reading move pie cat puddytat beagles
  6. day 1st work hiking eating dogs participation gustar espa obama
  7. thankful friends house make grading awesome head miss family dpla
  8. today beautiful turkeys year media con project triumphs articles tea
  9. la weather london dinner survived grateful marblehead hackfest workshop en
  10. park gobble beginning good kittens feasting te cnn touch wouldn’t

Suggestions for topic labels welcome.

Update: I was surprised to find that this post appeared on DH Now Unfiltered, so, given the increased traffic, I thought I’d better provide some explanation. I am trying to make this a regular tradition, after having produced a word cloud of last year’s Facebook posts on Thanksgiving. All the posts are only those by me or my friends, and this year’s Twitter feed includes only tweets by me or those I follow (plus the sponsored posts).… Read more…

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