James Bond and Coffee

There is just one occasion in the entire James Bond film series in which I can remember 007 drinking coffee; after arriving in Istanbul in From Russia With Love Kerim offers coffee, which Bond then asks to be served “medium sweet”.

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On another occasion we catch a rare glimpse of his home life when M and Miss Moneypenny call round at the beginning of Live And Let Die while he is entertaining a guest. Trying to distract M’s attention, he goes through to the kitchen where he goes through the rigmarole of grinding fresh beans and making M a cup of coffee, although Bond doesn’t have a coffee himself.

Here we see his kitchen is fitted with a hand operated La Pavoni Europiccola espresso machine, a type which is notoriously difficult to use as it requires very precise control when operating the lever to ensure the correct pressure is applied.

Coffee in the 007 novels

The films then are in stark contrast to the books in which Bond is found drinking coffee on several occasions. In one such instance we learn of his daily routine while in London in From Russia With Love, when he eats boiled eggs, toast and coffee. However, Ian Fleming takes pains to inform us that James Bond drinks no ordinary coffee and is made in no ordinary coffee maker; it is “very strong” coffee from De Bry on Oxford Street and made in an American Chemex.

While De Bry no longer exists, I later learnt from Gary Giblin’s James Bond’s London that De Bry’s shop was located a block away from the office where I worked just prior to leaving the UK in 2001.

007 shuns tea, which he blames for the fall of the British Empire and on several occasions throughout the books Bond drinks black sugarless coffee, although that sometimes varies; in Fleming’s second novel, Live And Let Die, he orders a double espresso with cream to accompany his scrambled egg breakfast in New York.

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

Later on in the same book, after arriving in Jamaica on the tail of Mr Big, he drinks Blue Mountain coffee, which Fleming pronounces “the most delicious in the world”; as a regular visitor to his Jamaican holiday home, Goldeneye, Fleming would have been familiar with the famous Jamaican coffee, which is grown in the Blue Mountains to the east of Jamaica.

Coffee Bean Close Up

The terrain and climate are perfect for cultivating the coffee that bears the mountain range’s name. The coffee is grown from Arabica beans and noted for mild flavour and lack of bitterness and strictly controlled. Cultivation is monitored by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica, which controls the labelling of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee; only coffee grown between 3,000 and 5,000 feet can be labelled as such.

I have tried Blue Mountain coffee in the past made in a Gaggia espresso maker. I found it to be extremely intense in flavour and heavy in caffeine; I have long been a coffee drinker but just a couple of Blue Mountain espressos really made me feel the caffeine surge.

Products mentioned

Three of the products mentioned in this article are available today from Amazon. Click the links below to learn more:

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
jamaican-blue-mountain-coffeeAmazon UK
Amazon.com
Chemex Coffee Maker
chemex-coffee-makerAmazon UK
Amazon.com
La Pavoni Europiccola
la-pavoni-europiccolaAmazon UK
Amazon.com

 


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