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  • Showing only topics with the tag "culture". Back to normal view
    1. Polite vs Helpful

      I've noticed an interesting cultural difference between New Yorkers and Californians. Lets say I am a bumbling tourist, inconsiderately impeding foot traffic, yet clearly lost and in need of help....

      I've noticed an interesting cultural difference between New Yorkers and Californians.

      Lets say I am a bumbling tourist, inconsiderately impeding foot traffic, yet clearly lost and in need of help.

      New Yorkers, in my limited experience, will bluntly say "hey moron, get outa the way," but then there is always one willing to help me out if I ask.

      Californians, in general, will be very polite, but typically get a little nervous if a complete stranger asks for help.

      Disclaimer: I've lived in California, but have only visited New York, so my observations are a little biased.

      8 votes
    2. Local coffee/tea cultures?

      @cadadr's Turkey AMA coffee commentary got me curious about what coffee consumption and cultures look like among Tilders. If your principal national beverage is tea instead of coffee, feel free to...

      @cadadr's Turkey AMA coffee commentary got me curious about what coffee consumption and cultures look like among Tilders.

      If your principal national beverage is tea instead of coffee, feel free to comment on why you think that might have arisen.

      I spent a bit of time chasing one of @cadadr's mentions about tasseomancy, and it's fascinating, so please describe if your coffee culture has any comparable rituals.

      I grew up with my mother's Montreal Canadian coffee-drinking standards: starting around age 8 or so, a half-cup of stovetop percolated coffee with a half-cup of milk added, eventually graduating to full cups of strong black coffee by my teenage years. For most of my life, the commonest means of consuming coffee was via the Bunn restaurant coffee maker - a drip coffee maker with an electric burner that held the brew scalding hot, near-burnt.

      The commonest U.S. home coffee preparation still uses a drip coffee maker. "Pod" coffee makers that use prefilled cartridges and a pressure boiler (lower pressure than espresso, but similar) are increasingly popular.

      Practically all coffee in the U.S. is made from imported beans, with robust global supply chains. There's minimal boutique coffee production in the states of Hawaii and California, but the territory of Puerto Rico grows coffee for local use and premium export. Coffee is taxed at the same rates as other food products, and no import duties are levied, so it's incredibly cheap - usually $5 - 10 per 450g.

      In the U.S., at least, there are now widespread corporate coffee shop chains - Starbucks, Peet's, Caribou, and others, which produce very standardized, uniform coffee, in pressure-expressed, brewed, and cold-process variations. They're often prepared with flavored syrups, and typically have dairy added, either as plain or steam-heated and frothed milk. Average cost for the fancier variations is around 5 USD, though a cup of plain brewed coffee is usually $1.50 - $2.00.

      Even tiny villages have neighborhood coffee shops that serve plain brewed coffee and espresso drinks, teas, baked goods, and simple sandwiches. Local coffee roasters are relatively common, too. The coffee shops may feature their products, or the roaster may have its own cafe'. Most of the larger bookstores also serve coffee, teas, and espresso drinks in their own cafe's.

      We usually drink our coffee relatively strong, around 10 - 15g of ground coffee per 200 ml of water for brewing, and dark roasts are preferred over mild ones.

      Most U.S. cities support thriving international food and beverage cultures, so we get to try coffee variations from around the world. My personal favorites (aside from the obvious Italian espresso culture) are Turkish-style with cardamom, Ethiopian, and Cuban colada.

      There isn't much of a national tea tradition here, though there's a common practice of herbal tisane use for health purposes.

      I've visited around 43 of the 50 U.S. states and haven't noticed really distinctive regional variations, except for New Orleans chicory-flavored and New Mexico piñon-flavored coffee. My spouse adds chicory to coffee at home, and piñon coffee is delicious. We'll treat ourselves to shipments a couple of times a year. Hawaiian Kona variety beans are boutique-premium and there's some fakes, so we don't go out of our way to get it when fair-trade Ethiopian or Guatemalan varieties are better and cheaper. I try very hard not to think of the carbon footprint of any of this...

      18 votes
    3. What cultural misunderstandings have you experienced?

      I work for a school in China and they are going to have an art festival soon. Today they were setting up some of those pictures where you can stick your face in it and take a photo. They did this...

      I work for a school in China and they are going to have an art festival soon. Today they were setting up some of those pictures where you can stick your face in it and take a photo. They did this to The Last Supper and it’s a very big picture set up right in front of the main gate for all the children to play with. They cut out Jesus’ face and most of his disciples’. All of the expats that work for my school were outraged and told the administration to take it down right away. At first the administration said they would just glue Jesus’ face back on. But this just made people angrier, so they promised to take it down in the morning when they could get some workers to do it.

      So what cultural misunderstandings have you experienced? How did you deal with it?

      28 votes