My father and I both share a love of coffee. It has been part of the morning ritual for as long as I can remember; before I even drank coffee, it was part of my life. Today, few mornings pass without at least one cup of coffee.
When I traveled to Alaska in 1996, I delighted in the local coffee culture from town to town, discovering that Seattle’s penchant for the brown elixir extended up the northern coast. Each little town seemed to have a homey, independent café and perhaps a smaller walk-up style coffee hut complete with perfect espresso drinks and interesting syrup options– mango latte, anyone? One town, Seward, I think, even had converted a tugboat into a coffee hut; too cool. The highlight though of my Alaskan coffee tour, was the discovery of Raven’s Brew Coffee. Drawn in by their raven-themed artwork, they converted a customer for life with their delicious brews.
Years later, I spent lengthy stints in Seattle, arguably one of, if not THE coffee capitol of the world or at least the United States. Coffee there is an artform, but we all know that; I still lament the untimely death of Coffee Messiah. Vancouver, Canada earned a spot on my coffee radar when I tasted some of the best espresso I’ve had in my life at Café Artigiano.
My years spent in Sweden revealed another haven dedicated to its coffee, one that even had its own verb for taking a coffee break– att fika (as I mentioned earlier). I still laugh to myself when recalling American colleagues visited me at grad school who couldn’t drink the Swedish coffee– it was just too strong for them! This inability to handle the strength of Scandinavian coffee was beyond me, but charming nonetheless.
This morning, I finally tried Starbucks’ new Via product– instant, microground ready-brew coffee. And I can happily report, much to my own surprise that Starbucks Via makes a decent cup of coffee. As handy as could be and a close match to their other brewed coffees– reasonably strong and smooth; not too shabby Starbucks. Finally I can enjoy decent quality coffee anywhere I travel and not just the colder climes of Scandinavia and the Pacific northwest.
Tell me, readers, what is your favorite hot beverage? Where in the world do YOU go for good coffee or tea??