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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WR 5. Sip a coffee (essay/article)- how to use writing resources

WR 5. Sip a coffee               level 4-5         25-30 min

GOAL. To learn how to express yourself about coffee/tea in your life as you find untapped resources to help the process along.

WARM UP. How do we interact with coffee? Let’s see the social and personal implications.
TASK 1. Read the text The God shot and write a quick 40-word summary of it (lexical items will be in bold type in all texts).

The God shot
The search is over: Nicholas Stein has found the world's best cup of coffee
One hundred miles east of Venice, the sleepy port of Trieste is home to much of Italy's coffee trade--including gourmet roaster Illy, which sells beans to cafes and restaurants around the globe.
Espresso is the souffle of beverages, notoriously difficult to produce with even the best raw material. At Barviadelletorri in Trieste, the first of the concept bars to open, all these disparate elements (beans, ground, flow, aroma, taste) come together in what connoisseurs call the "God shot." This perfect shot begins with quality beans, ground to a precise consistency, which changes depending upon the atmosphere and humidity. Next, the machine must generate sufficient pressure (nine bars) while keeping the water temperature between 90° and 92° Celsius. Exactly one milliliter of coffee should flow through the machine each second, leaving 30 milliliters of liquid in the ideal 30-second extraction period.
The aroma is intoxicating. The crema –the caramel-colored top layer of emulsified oils– is dark and luxuriant. The taste deserves terms –floral, complex– reserved for wine. Illy says that espresso stays on your tongue for 20 minutes. Just try waiting that long before ordering another.
                By Nicholas Stein [in AT LAST (column in FORTUNE mag)-Thursday, Jan. 9,2003]

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TASK 2. You have read a text of the product, the coffee. Copy the features mentioned above that are related to:
➢ The material element: …………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………
➢ The people involved: ……………………………………………………………………
➢ The experience of drinking: …………………………………………………………………
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LEARNING STRATEGIES
You are going to read about the act of drinking our favourite beverage and how to give a personalised touch in your writing expression.
TASK 3. Observe what happens when you google (search in Google).
We enter some concepts. For instance, these two terms: “sip a coffee” + twilight. Notice that if you need a phrase put the words between “....”). The first item “sip a coffe” refers to the action and twilight to the setting the screen produces some entries.
the sun sets and twilight calms.Its getting dark earlier now.
Summer's almost over. I sip a coffe and ponder the ‘what ifs’.
What if things had happened differently?What if things had been the same but i reacted differently? What if we had all been stronger, better ,wiser?
They're pathetic; the what ifs.Sobbed apologies

Comments: I chose this one, by chance. Then I marked those interesting items that could be of use later. I liked the setting (getting dark + sunset almost over) + reflective effects (calms, ponders) and the double question (What if?) which I will recycle in my own text:

TASK 4. Find written passages on your topic by googling (searching in Google). Analyse the one you consider appropiate as seen above.

TASK 5. Fill in the text that a learner produced. Use the personalised words below.

“My favourite cup of coffe ……………………………………………… when I ………… …………………………………… . No papers, ……………………………………………… . The sun ……………………………………………… , it’s getting dark ………………………… …………………… . Now the day light is almost over and the twilight calms. I place a spoon with cream in my lips and ……………………………………………… the ‘what ifs’ of the Saturday. It’s a ……………………………………………………….… that doesn’t need words. What if I had acted differently? I sip to ……………………………………………… . What if I hadn’t reacted that way? What if we had all been more curious? I have………………………………………….

    A. think over        B. dialogue with myself       C. I have another sip silently    D. unnoticely.
         E. no company           F. takes place at weekends                G. buy half an hour for myself.
                    H. sets slowly,          I. taste the tepid liquid.       J. another sip silently

Would you consider that the learner succeded in evoking a personalised touch? …………….

TASK 6. After reading these short opening passages written by two learners who offer a personalised insight into the topic:
1# I do love coffee. I cannot sit at my kitchen table and not drink the delicious warm white mocha, to smell it and have my 5 minutes for myself. I restrain from drinking until the heat is bearable. The first sip…. I need time to reflect on my day agenda…
2# In my family, if you're old enough to hold a cup, you are old enough to sip a coffee. My first coffee memory dates from the tender age of 5. Strolling with my uncle he had said to me: “Hey, boy, you are big already”. Later as we entered a bar I said “One coffee”. He refused. I snapped: “you just said ‘I was ‘big’ and big people drink coffee”. I didn’t get one that day, but I helped myself with the last drop from his cup -which tasted delicious!

TASK 7. Now we are helped by a professional writer, the Palestinian Mahmoud Darwich. Underline the interesting expresions of his literary craft..

The coffee, for the coffee-lover I am, it is the key moment of the day. The first cup of coffee, for the connaisseur that I am, has become a need to make it myself and not be served. Because the one who brings it to you adds some words, and the morning coffee does not bear the slightest word. It is virgin and silent. The dawn - my dawn - is foreign to the slightest word. The smell of the coffee drinks the slightest of the rumours, it is a simple ‘hello’, and goes down. [from Une Mémoire pour l'oubli]

TASK 8. Collect a handful of expressions, phrases or words that may be used to express yourself.

PRODUCTION STAGE
TASK 9. Write a composition (200-250 words) with your own experience drinking a cup of coffee in a normal day. You need a personal anecdote, a place and a time to focus your text.

ROUNDING OFF.
Have a look at the following abridged text, Two Hours of Joint Solitude by Chris Pluger, in next page. It was written as an entry in a writing contest and can be used as a model (length, mood, inspiration) for your final text.

ANNEX 1. SIP A COFFEE


Two Hours of Joint Solitude by Chris Pluger

As we speak - actually, as I sit and type this - I'm sitting in a coffee shop. (…)
Why am I here? Why did I choose to leave my warm comfy house, get in my car, and drive to this totally ordinary spot? I might ask the same question of you, if you are in fact reading this in a coffee shop, as I suspect you might be.
An easy answer for me is that a coffee shop gives me a place to escape from the same four walls. (...) Routine isn't necessarily bad, but sometimes we just need to get out. Maybe a coffee shop is the place to do it.
Another easy answer is, of course, the coffee. Sure, we can make and drink coffee at home. But how many people have you heard say, "I don't know what you guys do differently, but your coffee is just better here"? And not many people whose houses I've been to can make a halfway decent cappuccino with the little plastic thing on their counter that they call an 'espresso machine', much less an actual espresso. Not to mention the ever-popular caramel turtle mocha latte (whatever the heck that is). So maybe I'm here for the coffee.
But maybe not.
How out am I at this coffee shop? Why am I at this coffee shop? We gravitate towards coffee shops, where we can sit alone with other people and enjoy an evening and a cup of java and two hours of joint solitude. I think the existence of coffee shops, and the natural affinity we have for sitting in them, comes from deep within, from an unfulfilled longing that points us to a need we never knew we had.
Our desire to sit together in coffee shops, our longing for deep connections and meaningful relationships, points to the reality that such relationships are possible, that such connections can be made, and such togetherness is our shared destiny as humans together on Earth.
I've been sitting here for over an hour now. I still haven't spoken to anyone. My cappuccino is only a bit of foam clinging to the side of the cup. A girl is reading a book by herself. A young couple is sharing a single cup of coffee. The workers behind the counter are starting to eye the clock, hoping the customer who just walked in will take his coffee to go.
But he doesn't. He has come here for the same reason that all of us have, the same reason you are going to sit down and enjoy your coffee at a table for a few minutes instead of taking it back to your car. He stays and takes a seat because he knows, just as we do, that we were all somehow meant to be together.

         [abridged some 40%. Full text in http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/cafestage/10-19-2005]

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