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 brain. 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
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