Friday, November 11, 2011

Coffee Please?

Like so many 20-somethings, I'm a little reliant on my daily dose of coffee.  At home, in the land of a million coffee shops, k-cups, and timer-operated coffee makers, it's incredibly easy to get your daily dose of java.  I quickly discovered that not everyone has the same ideas about starting the day with a fresh cup of joe.

I had dreams of traveling around strictly following the local lifestyles.  Tea in England was delicious but didn't quite cut it as the semester ramped up.  The main stream coffee option was freeze-dried instant coffee.  I tired.  I really did.  But freeze-dried coffee was more than my 20-year-old self could handle.  There was ground coffee at the grocer's but I couldn't locate a coffee maker to brew it in.  Thankfully one of my good friends in the US understood my plight and sent me a little french-press.  That heroic device probably saved my academics that year.

Backpacking through Western Europe meant breakfast in a variety of places. My hostels in Paris and Amsterdam came through with the best brewed coffee. There were plenty of hostels that came with freeze-dried powder at best.  In those cases, thank goodness for local espresso shops. I started flirting with espresso when I realized that I wasn't going to get my standard mug of brew to start the day.  Straight espresso is not for the faint of heart.  Enter the cappuccino.  Best cappuccino I had was in Milan.  I stayed at a tiny family run inn where the innkeep made cappuccino complete with smiley-face when you came down for breakfast.  As much as I like espresso drinks, I can't do them everyday.  They remain one of my favorite treats and/or pick-me-ups, especially with my favorite cafe a couple blocks from my apartment.

With the not so tiny task of finishing grad school before I can set off into the wild blue yonder again, I don't think I'll be kicking the coffee habit anytime soon.  I acknowledge that I'll be pressed to find my preferred morning medium-roast in every country I'll visit but I'll take it every chance I get.
"If alcohol is liquid courage, then coffee is liquid patience."
If your morning beverage choices are like mine, do your best to avoid the powder (or cut in with hot chocolate mix), or try some espresso drinks if you're hurting.  Cafes can add up quickly if you're a real coffee fiend.  However, if you're traveling inthe chillier months an occasional hot drink can be a perfect chance to warm up inside and out.

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