Americano, Beatles and Coffee

Americano, Beatles and Coffee

I was sitting with a cup of Americano in a famous café in Dhaka’s Basundhara residential area, Beatles Café. I remember something..

It was World War II. Soldiers fighting in Europe were getting rations of their favorite foods and drinks. The soldiers stationed in Italy were lucky. Italians love coffee as much as pizza, pasta and wine. However, American soldiers had no taste for Italian coffee, because that was dark & rich.

Americans were used to drink of drip brewed coffee. Milk was added to give it a mild taste. Italians, on the other hand, drank cappuccino instead of espresso. It was closer to American coffee in mild taste and density. But the amount is very less. Frothy milk with five ounces of espresso, where regular drip coffee would have been 16 ounces.

Italian coffee shops began selling full cups for US troops; with a shot of espresso and the rest was hot water. One could have added milk and sugar to it. Word of this drink spread quickly. Italians sneer at this condition of their beloved espresso, calling it cloudy water. And because it was loved by the Americans, they named it Americano.

The exterior of Beatles Cafe

Beatles Café is the fast food shop El Dorado’s coffee venture, which has been giving the people of Dhaka, especially Basundhara area, a taste of different genres of food for last eight years.  As you continue along the main road, there are a lot of shops just opposite the market; behind it are El Dorado and Beatles Café. Looking across the street, there is a very European-style shed and the Beatles Café sign, Inside of the café  Victorian style lamps welcomed me with its yellow-tungsten rusty light. The interior is fully visible with a glass cover over the entire wooden exterior. There are hanging lights on the counter, which gives a vintage look. Apart from that there is a book shelf along with the walls and a small shelf next to the coffee bar to pass the time. There are rattan chairs, wooden tables to complement the wooden interior.

The interior of Beatles Cafe

When a well-mannered waiter asked what kind of coffee I want to have, I said an Americano with a double shot of espresso! That is a total of 60 ml of espresso with the rest being hot water. The rule is to pour hot water first and pour coffee over it. This leaves the creamy top layer of the espresso, called the crema, intact. When I was busy seeing the process of making Americano or the cloudy water at the counter, they show me the Arabica coffee beans. They source it from the North End Coffee Roasters. Beatles café has more coffee items on their menu, including espresso, macchiato, americano, cappuccino and latte. They are selling only espresso machine based coffees, French press or pour over or syphon isn’t available here yet.

I ordered some snacks from their menu, to complement my coffee. After finishing the croissant I ordered another cup of Americano, the beatles song entered to my ears-


‘But listen to the colour of your dream
It is not living
It is not living

All play the game
Existence to the end
Of the beginning
Of the beginning


 Paul McCartney, Stuart Sutcliffe Beatles at Casbah Coffee Club, 1961

Suddenly, I remembered, from the very beginning coffee was associated with the Beatles! Kasbah Coffee Club in Liverpool was the place, where Beatles started their journey in 1961!