Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.” That’s the recipe for coffee, according to the utterly French statesman Talleyrand (1754-1838).

Across the Channel the British took a more, well, British approach to coffee cookery: Seventeenth-century diarist Samuel Pepys wrote of Londoners larding their coffee with butter, mustard, oatmeal, and ale.

Today’s choices, though arguably more appetizing, are no less confounding: Automatic drip or French press? Ground or whole bean? Fiery or frosty? Regular or unleaded? Americano, cappuccino, espresso, macchiato, mocha, or latte?

How do you take yours? An average joe just doesn’t cut it anymore, so tell us what it takes to make the perfect cup.

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