Does Coffee boost vitality?

During my afternoon stroll the other day, I noticed yet another coffee shop about to open! There was a time when you could do a pub crawl around Pinner; a coffee shop crawl would be easier now!

You can now sample everything from a skinny latte to a macchiato in about 30 different locations - excluding the two pubs that remain. Ironic when you think about Pinner being a destination for country style afternoon tea, around 90 years ago. It is remarkable to note that they all seem busy, so what did people do before?

It is well known about the use of coffee as an anti-dote to tiredness, we are even advised in the media to pull over and drink coffee during long drives.

There are several legendary accounts of the origin of the drink but I like the one about the eminent Arab mystic, travelling in Ethiopia back in the thirteenth century. He observed birds of unusual vitality, and, upon trying the berries that the birds had been eating, experienced the same vitality.

It is commonly known that my preference is usually tea, but here’s one cappuccino that I really like, a savoury version:

Wild Mushroom Cappuccino

Serves 4


25 g unsalted butter

250g mixed wild mushrooms, chopped

½ small onion, diced

½ leek, white part only, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

500 ml stock, vegetable or chicken

200 ml whipping cream

50g dried wild mushrooms


1)Melt the butter in a saucepan.

2) Add the onion, garlic and leek. Cook over medium heat, until soft.

3) Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the tarragon.

4) Allow to cool slightly, then pour into a blender and blitz until smooth. Pass through a sieve, and into a clean pan.

5) Meanwhile, lightly whip the cream, and crush the dried mushrooms to a powder in a pestle and mortar.

6) Reheat the soup gently, season to taste then pour into four warmed cappuccino cups.

7) Float the cream equally on top of each one, sprinkle with the mushroom powder and serve.