Java Junkie, Table for One

A couple of days ago on the holiday Monday (bless you, holiday gods, for finally giving us a stat in August – I celebrated B.C. Day with gusto), after a massive breakfast, I stopped into a JJ Bean that I’d never been in before and ordered my usual.  It’s a pretty simple order, 2 espressos. In one cup.

The girl behind the counter looked at me quizically.

“You mean, like an Americano?” 

“Nuh-no, 2 espressos, in the same cup.”

“I don’t understand….”

“You just put the equivalent of 2 espressos in one cup. To go, please.”

“….are you European or something?”


I did say I was South American, then she goes, “Ooooooh, kay. I get it. You people are really serious about your coffee.”

HELL yes we are. Coffee! What’s the point of COFFEE if you don’t do it for real. It’s why I instantly mistrust anyone who drinks decaf, and look down my nose at anyone who basically drinks candy that doesn’t even taste like coffee, and then has the unmitigated, unforgiveable, brazen, ridiculous GALL to call it “coffee”. Or even, who basically drinks milk and says it’s coffee. For shame, I say. For shame.

Case in point: my companion asked for a latte, a foamy yada-yada, one of these orders that takes about a minute to utter. Then he added, “Basically, the opposite of what she’s having.” (P.S. isn’t that adorable? He couldn’t be cuter if he tried. I totally and completely forgive him his “coffee” preference.) (Still….pffft. Amateur.)

Cultural differences are inifintely interesting. Easy now, I know a ton of you north of the tropics share my preference, but I don’t happen to see any of you at JJ Bean or Starbucks at the same time as I am. I have to wait through infernal, interminable “coffee” orders every time I go.

When I was in Chile, even when I was 17, 18, my girlfriends and I would spend hours after school (or even during school…ssshhhh, don’t tell my kids) sitting at outdoor cafés, ordering and sipping espresso after espresso. These cafés would be packed with other patrons doing the exact same thing, ladies all made-up to the nines after their weekly visit to the hairdresser, University students, and the like. The air would be thick with loud conversation and laughter and cigarette smoke. Heaven. I’d also drink coffee at night with my mom. No espresso machine at home, but we’d make the coffee the way I liked it, turbid, with the colour and consistency of tar, so that your spoon could practically be suspended in it. I mean, my mom didn’t object to this kind of coffee because she’d then add about 3 parts milk to hers. Maybe I was switched at birth, except for that I did inherit her crazy. Perhaps crazy is taught.

One of our favourite shows at home will always be the Gilmore Girls. There’s this one episode where Lorelai and Christopher (during Lorelai’s lost year after breaking up with Luke) are planning to go to Paris to deliver Christopher’s daughter to her mother for a visit, after this woman up and abandoned her daughter because she’d done enough mothering. The hell kind of mother is that. I digress. Anyway, it’s one of our favourite quotes ever when Lorelai is looking through her French terms dictionary and asks, “what’s Cafe au L-A-I-T?” and Christopher says it means milk, coffee with milk. And she says something like, “oh weird!! I always thought it was Café, olé!! Kinda like, Coffee! All right!”

That’s exactly how I feel about it. Coffee! All right!

For purposes of a cute anecdote for this blog post, I just asked my mom to remind me about the little rhyme she used to sing to me that went like, “café con leche, me quiero casar, con una señorita que quiera bailar…” which translates to “coffee and milk, I want to get married to a young lady who likes to dance.” No dish-ran-away-with-the-spoon rhymes for us South Americans. And would you believe, she said, “no no no….it’s ARROZ con leche, not CAFE con leche.” Arroz con leche is rice pudding. Gross. You can see why my mind preferred to remember it as coffee.

Thispostwasbroughttoyouafterslamming2espressos. Kthanksbye.



  1. Love it! The more coffee the better – and everyone should have it how they want it… except for those people who want pumpkin spice lattes. #xocoffee


  2. Barbara Bain says:

    Coffee is definitely one of those tastes that can transport you to another place! I can almost taste my first espresso in Lake Como Italy, and the most amazing Americano in Grenich Village NYC… mmmmmmm …. so good! I certainly don’t get the same satisfaction here in Vancouver…… maybe its because I now drink decaf! (but you can trust me!). Maybe 3 months in Europe next summer will cure me of that 😉

    as always – great writing!


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