I’m a creature of habit with a tenaciously uncultured taste who orders nothing other than Vietnamese milk coffee whenever I go to a café. Just like how my odor receptors never get used to all kinds of smoke, be it cigarettes or weed, my tastebuds are reluctant to take any kind of exotic flavor.

Today, as usual, I ordered a convenient cup of condensed milk coffee, but the barista suggested that I try Americano, a type of coffee drink made by adding hot water into espresso coffee. It’s not the first time I’ve had Americano, though. Many years ago, in a coffee shop, I tried it, after listening to a song by Lady Gaga with the same name, and surely it didn’t suit my stubborn tongue.

The drink was, to me, a bit… adult, for it’s everything but sweet. It does, however, has a sense of youth and liberalism thanks to the sourness. The slightly acidic taste differentiates this drink from the ranks of Vietnamese traditional coffee drinks. We local folks are familiar with the bitterness, even smokiness, of over-roasted coffee beans. Not until a few years ago when I talked with some coffee connoisseurs did I know that fine coffee needs to have a little sour taste.

The sour taste together with the translucent brown color makes the drink a lot more fresh and delightful than the thick and opaque body of mocha or other coffee drinks with milk. Still recall a colleague at ILA who ordered Americano when we met in a coffee house; strangely I felt a subtle sense of mismatch between the guy’s personality and the drink he chose, and I wondered whether he had ordered that drink to make people think he had certain qualities. I didn’t ponder on that mean idea, though.

Perhaps the barista offered me Americano because she felt sorta pity for my poor taste. Taking a sip, I indulged myself in a wave of nostalgia, as the cafe was playing James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam

Should I stick to this adult drink in the following days or should I return to my childish and comfortable condensed milk coffee?

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