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I Dub Thee “Weak Coffee”

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Listeners are sharing their favorite terms for coffee that’s weak, including warm wet, branch water, pond water, scared water, and in the immortal words of Ani DiFranco, just water dressed in brown. One listener has a friend in North Dakota who reuses the same coffee grounds all day and refers to the watered-down beverage as Wabash coffee. This may be connected with the use of wabash as a verb to refer to adding water to a sluggish liquid such as ketchup or shampoo to stretch it out a bit longer. There are plenty of other terms for “weak” or otherwise disappointing coffee around the world. In German, it’s sometimes called Blümchen-kaffee, literally “flower coffee.” In the Hopi language surukaphe means “tail coffee,” or coffee watered down to make it go further. In Brazilian Portuguese slang, chafé means “bad coffee,” a blend of the words for “tea” and “coffee.” Then there’s cholo in Louisiana French, from chaud-l’eau, or “hot water.” A Japanese word takes a dig at American coffee, combining the Japanese word for “American” and the Dutch word koffie. This is part of a complete episode.

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