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How I crave a good cup of coffee

HOW did the hipster burn his mouth?

He drank his coffee before it was cool. My friend Laura chronically struggles with this joke. "How did the hipster burn his coffee? Because it burned his mouth," she will say, much to my coffee connoisseur chum David's endless, frustrated amusement.

Whichever way you like to tell it, I don't mind the proliferation of hipsters burning their mouths on cool coffees - the greater the demand, the greater the supply.

A good cup of coffee is one of life's sweeter pleasures but finding a good cup of coffee in Scotland is like unearthing truffles in a Gorbals allotment. I'd rather have a tap water than the diluted bilge water offered up in most establishments.

Glasgow University researchers, perhaps fuelled by a few too many of these, have discovered the science behind my distaste for the taste of Scottish beans. Coffee here is more laden with caffeine than it is overseas, and Glasgow is especially bad.

Caffeine levels in the city's espressos ranged from 72mg to 212mg, compared with 73-135mg in Italy and 97-127mg in Spain and 101-275mg per cup Scotland-wide.

This matters because high caffeine levels are associated with quality: robusta beans, which are lower in quality than arabica, contain higher levels of the stimulant and are found in the majority of coffees drunk in Scotland.

My coffee of choice is a flat white: sweet and sharp and creatively decorated. Less milky than a latte but not so strong as to be black magic. Also, it is, like all the best things, Australian-born (No, the Kiwis, it's not yours).

The proliferation of coffee houses has brought quantity but not quality, options without choice. We're all supposed to be discerning coffee drinkers now but let's face it: if it's hot, caffeinated and available we'll drink it.

There are ends to the extreme. Last year in Australia the Ironman Geisha became available, the country's most expensive coffee at £60 for a 150g jar. That's more than £300 a kilo. Or you could drink something made from beans chewed and pooed by a civet. I'm not into the fetishisation of coffee: it's a simple pleasure that should be affordable for all. But affordable doesn't mean cheap.

There are a few quietly fabulous coffee brewers in the city but the majority need to pull their milk spattered socks up.

Quality coffee for all, demand the hipsters and I, before the worst comes and we have to drink tea.

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