I’ll never forget my first cup. It was Northern Ireland, 2006, just after dinner one night. I was facing another 6 hours of work that night and didn’t think a strong cup of tea would get me through the it. Fortunately for me, we were having ice cream for dessert that night. Ice cream looked like cream and sugar in one, so I slipped my ice cream into my cup of coffee. I made it through the night and a new love affair was begun.
Coffee. It gets me up in the morning. It warms me up after two hours of yardwork in December. And it provides an excuse to take a break and have a conversation anywhere in the world.
In my world, an excellent morning is measured by how many cups of coffee I get to drink while sitting and eating my breakfast. This is key for vacation enjoyment, a reality that was less the case for the husband. But he’s learning.
Fortunately for me, my German friend understands this concept. She was there when I first learned to drink coffee. That happened initially out of necessity. Now it continues out of addiction and pleasure. I’m addicted to the caffeine and the ritual of starting my day with this hot beverage to which I add the right amount of almond milk and sugar.
When I visited the German friend, we enjoyed some coffee.
We made espresso at home on the stove. I was so impressed with this that I bought one while we were there. It’s so much smaller than a huge espresso maker that my husband really wanted us to get. We stopped for coffees to warm up while we walked around the city, too. And since I was on vacation, croissants were called for. There is nothing as buttery, light, and delicious as a croissant.
This coffee break took place in the cutest coffee house of the whole trip. It was here that I realized the big difference between having a coffee in the US and having a coffee in Germany. When I hang out at a Starbucks, I bring my laptop, a book, something to DO while I sit there and sip my coffee. Or maybe I just stop in and get it to go in a cardboard cup–a caffeine hit. On a rare occasion, I might be meeting a colleague to discuss a project. In Germany, with my friend, I realized that going for kaffee is a social event not to be tampered with. The coffee house didn’t offer free wifi. No one had a laptop out. Hardly anyone was there alone. Everyone was sitting with a friend or two and talking. What a concept?!
I still go to Starbucks to get work done. I like the background noise of other people and the focus I get when I put my headphones in and zone out. But I have a greater appreciation for the ritual that is sharing a cup of coffee and conversation for the sake of conversation.
Stay tuned for more updates from my German adventures…(better late than never!)