Of ice cold water and piping hot coffee
If you are like me and like drinks at room temperature especially in cold weather, then you will have a tough time in US. All water dispensers dispense cold water. To add to it, in restaurants they add ice to water before serving.
My office had a water dispenser which could serve both hot and cold water, but the hot part of it did not work. I used to take a glass of ice-cold water, wait for it to "warm up" to room temperature before being able to drink. In India, having been used to drinking a glass or two in a gulp, it was a weird experience to do one sip at a time.
It is possible that Americans have better teeth than me, which can withstand the freezing temperature of water. But I don't think they gulp down their ice-cold water. So then why the ice?
In discussions with my friends, we came up with a theory that Americans are warm-bodied and needed cold water to cool them down. This didn't make much sense, of course!
I took recourse to google to help me out here and found two theories.
According to one, it is the large homes with large kitchen with larger refrigerators which have made Americans so fond of cold water and colas.
Another theory (which seems more reasonable to me), states it is to cover the taste of water, which in US, isn't pleasant. As for cola, it is to camouflage the taste of sugar.
Now contrast this with piping hot coffee that Americans have during the day. For some coffee is breakfast or is it breakfast is coffee? To me, as an Indian, the US coffee tastes bitter. To add to it, it is black with no sugar. Of course, you could put all the milk and sugar that you wanted, but then the coffee turns lukewarm. Also, it doesn't have even the semblance of the Indian coffee taste. This is to do with the coffee that is used, of course, along with the fact that Indian coffee is "adulterated" with a percentage of chicory, which gives it that thickness (and maybe) taste.
Then there is the serving size. Each time I ask for a "small" size coffee, I am amazed at the "size" of the cup - it could easily be equivalent to two-three glasses of Indian coffee. Since I am not used to drinking so much at a time, it is a painful experience to finish the coffee. Which is my, in my fortnight in US, I ordered a coffee just once or twice. I could always decide on the quantity of coffee to have in my hotel room, which had a coffee maker.