I generally shun coffee or espresso books that are filled with recipes. I like my coffee books to be coffee books and my cookbooks to be cookbooks. And typically, most coffee books add a recipe section when they’ve run out of useful things to say. Despite this, I’ll mention yesterday’s Prague Post, which published a simple article on the culinary use of coffee: Cooking with coffee.

Which brings me to the unrelated subject of Czech coffee. I first had the infamous local stuff when visiting there in 1995. Approaching the grounds of the Vyšehrad in Prague, I purchased a cheap cup of what seemed to be little more than sawdust particles suspended in hot water. The saddest part of the experience was that I actually enjoyed it — though only for the warmth of the water on a chilling October morning.

Back in 1995, Prague was overrun with post-Communist reconstruction and American college graduates. “Seattle-style” (as they then called them) espresso drinks had only just been introduced there. I made myself a regular at Pražská Káva, located at U Zlatého hada, where the owner called out my usual drink order (yes, a double latte) as I stood at the back of the line each morning. Scary when you become a regular when only a tourist.

Even today, the long arm of Starbucks has yet to reach Prague. Pražská Káva is long gone, though Káva Káva Káva and others have since taken its place: Prague Cafés. (Alternatively: from WCitites.)