The Coffee Spoon

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I once had tableware where the teaspoon and the tablespoon were almost the same size (in the same set!). I was annoyed, but it worked. Now I have tableware where the two spoon types are vastly different, with a huge gap in between. I like both of these sizes, but something seems to be missing. This leads me to propose a new, third type of table-ware-spoon: The coffee spoon.

Note: “tablespoon” in some countries or cultures is a serving spoon used for serving at the table, but in the US and I believe many other locations, “tablespoon” is a large spoon used for eating at the table. Meanwhile, don’t forget that as a unit of measure, tablespoon is 14.8 ml, aka, 0.50 US fluid ounces, but 0.51 Canadian/UK ounces in Canada. An Australian tablespoon as a measure is 20 ml, or 0.68 US fluid ounces. So be careful.

We will not be discussing sporks at this time.
Did you know that in the old says, in Europe, people carried their spoon around with them, like if they went to someone’s house for dinner? But the place setting concept was invented (ca 1700) and that led to the rise of the table-spoon, table-fork and table-knife, implying that these items would be there at the table when you went to sit there. Over that century, many other tableware items were added, including the mustard-spoon, salt-spoon, etc. Among these was the soup-spoon, which today, we may properly conflate with the tablespoon (and lose that annoying hyphen). Ultimately, bowl-bolting anything from soup to ice cream would require either the soupspoon/tablespoon size spoon, for soup, or the dessert spoon for the ice-cream.

To get back to my own personal first world problems: as noted, I now have a tableware set where the teaspoon is very small and the tablespoon is very large. I like the differentiation, but I think the in between zone could be served with a middle size spoon. I therefore think we should have three tableware spoons. Perhaps the large tablespoon, the diminutive teaspoon, and an in-between spoon should comprise the panoply of table spoons, with the new in between size set at the standard teaspoon size time 1.5.

What is the standard teaspoon size? Well, one third of a tablespoon is how I learnt it, but apparently it is more complicated. From wiki: “The size of teaspoons ranges from about 2.5 to 7.3 mL (0.088 to 0.257 imp fl oz; 0.085 to 0.247 US fl oz). For cooking purposes and dosing of medicine, a teaspoonful is defined as 5 mL (0.18 imp fl oz; 0.17 US fl oz), and standard measuring spoons are used.”

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5 thoughts on “The Coffee Spoon

  1. Interesting information — especially this:

    “Did you know that in the old says, in Europe, people carried their spoon around with them, like if they went to someone‚Äôs house for dinner?”

    I wonder why; it seems inconvenient. Perhaps because the utensils were made of silver and likely to be “liberated” if left unattended.

    Trivia alert: One of the Napoleons had utensils made of aluminum. Since aluminum was hard to purify at the time, this made his table the talk of the town. Presumably he kept it well guarded.

  2. …people carried their spoon around with them, …

    That brings to mind the old joke about waiters, efficiency experts, and string.

  3. As a once upon a time collector of silverware I can report that coffee spoons exist. They generally occupy the range between demitasse spoon and teaspoon, most often closer to the teaspoon. Soup spoons come in two versions, or perhaps three. There’s the one most familiar which also gets called dessert, cereal or place spoon, there’s the cream soup spoon, and the gumbo spoon (the last two have round bowls). Lots of other spoons to love or hate– ice cream spoons, sorbet spoons, citrus spoons, chocolate spoons, iced teaspoons, and then a variety of serving spoons, too. The Victoria Age was big on specialized pieces and extreme silver chests.

    You need a mid-sized spoon name? Since the coffee spoon was from the 19th Century and we’re in the 21st Century, let’s pick a recent name. Covfefe spoon?

    On second thought, you just need to find the size spoon you like, buy a few and leave them nameless.

  4. chocolate spoons?

    It seems to me that most of the types of spoons Clara mentioned are special purpose spoons rather than everyday spoons. Is that a fair take? Interesting though.

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