LIONORE DE BALZAC 275
related to the ancient and illustrious Marquis de Belloy), the very best
coffee is made by an infusion of cold rather than boiling water; controlling the water temperature, after pulverizing the beans completely, is a
second method of managing its effects.
There are, as we have seen, two basic types of coffee which you might
brew with hot or cold water: coffee pulverized in the Turkish manner,
and coffee that is ground. As we also have seen, when you merely grind
coffee in an ordinary grinder, you release the tannin along with the
aroma; pulverized coffee flatters the taste even as it stimulates the
plexus, which reacts on the thousands of capsules which form your
3. The quantity of coffee in the upper receptacle, the way the beans
have been crushed, and the amount of water passed through them, determine the strength of the coffee; this three-part formula constitutes
the ultimate consideration in dealing with the beverage.
Thus, for a while-for a week or two at most-you can obtain the
right amount of stimulation with one, then two, cups of coffee brewed
from beans which have been crushed with gradually increasing force
and infused with hot water.
For another week, by decreasing the amount of water in the upper receptacle, by pulverizing the coffee even more finely, and by infusing
with cold water, you can continue to obtain the same cerebral power.
When you have produced the finest grind with the least water possible, you double the dose by drinking two cups at a time; particularly vigorous constitutions can tolerate three cups. One can continue working
this way for several more days.
Finally, I have discovered a horrible, rather brutal method that I recommend only to men of excessive vigor, men with thick black hair and
skin covered with liver spots, men with big square hands and with legs
shaped like bowling pins. It is a question of using finely pulverized,
dense coffee, cold and anhydrous (a chemical term meaning without
water), consumed on an empty stomach. This coffeefalls into your stomach, which, as you know from Brillat-Savarin, is a sack whose velvety interior is lined with tapestries of suckers and papillae. The coffee finds
nothing else in the sack, and so it attacks these delicate and voluptuous
linings; it acts like a food and demands digestive juices; it wrings and
twists the stomach for these juices, appealing as a pythoness appeals to
her god; it brutalizes these beautiful stomach linings as a wagon master
abuses ponies; the plexus becomes inflamed; sparks shoot all the way up
to the brain. From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. Ideas