In "The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee" by Honore de Balzac, the author discusses his experiences with coffee and the effects it has on people. He says that at first, regular American coffee ( as found in the local gas station, diners and the ubiquitous Starbucks) is enough to provide stimulation, then you have to make it a bit stronger, and eventually you are forced to drink it as, essentially, coffee mud.However, there is an equally effective and more palatable alternative to consuming "finely pulverized, dense coffee". This is how they make coffee in the coffee houses of the Netherlands.

Obtain a bag of coarse ground coffee, not flavored. (I use shade grown coffee from Colombia.) Pour it into a large glass bowl. Add enough cold water to barely cover the coffee. Let it soak for 24 to 36 hours. Pour off the water. This is now the concentrate of the coffee. It is meant to be diluted with water and perhaps cream and sugar, but I generally drink it full strength with just a little bit of rice milk and brown sugar. It is a nectar of the gods and delivers a thoroughly satisfying caffeine buzz comparable to a double or triple espresso with none of the bitter aftertaste of most strong coffees. It also goes very nicely with some Cafe Del Mar.

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