I go into a coffee house and read the menu. I don’t know why I read the menu – they’re all pretty much the same and I only like coffee in my coffee, none of that choco-vanilla-latte-cinnamon-cream-with-sprinkles for me. All I want is a black coffee, sometimes with an extra shot. I’m fond of Caffe Nero and Costa Coffee, but the best coffee I have tasted that wasn’t made by me is from the Merchant Tea & Coffee House in St Albans, Herftfordshire. Starbucks actually sits low on my list of decent coffee emporiums.

In all of these places, a black coffee is called an Americano, and the menu always tells me that this is one or two shots of espresso, topped with water: a BLACK coffee.

So, why is it that when I order this obviously black coffee I am always asked if I want milk with it?

On principle I won’t ask for a black Americano: that would be like asking for a black black coffee, but the staff are always willing to offer me a white black coffee!

I find this very perturbing. When I buy a fillet of fish or of steak, I’m never asked, “Would you like bones with that, sir?”