Daily life

Coffee Shop Reflection

11:10 AM

With the Summer break in its final stretch (yay!), and the Summer camp nearly over, my coffee shop breaks are soon to become a bit less frequent. Not that I was heading there daily, budget oblige. With two months of doing so 2-3 times a week though, I am going to miss it, and probably will make it a point to come write every now an then at my local Starbucks. The world over you hear stories of writers that did most of their work at their local cafe. I now understand why.

I spent the last two months or lugging my iPad, or a note book with me to scribble away ideas for future posts, thoughts that will never make it to post, lists of things I want to do, drafts of posts to come. I wrote in a local park before the heat, or rather the humidity became too unbearable. And now that the heat has reached new levels of discomfort, my one hour of alone time might as well cost me a cup of tea if it bears promises of a chair, table and AC...so be it.

Not all coffee shops are equal though. Back in Switzerland, people usually favour one close to their home because that is where their community meet, coffee is usually not what will make people stick to one particular place. You see if you are in Switzerland, coffee will invariably be an espresso shot, or a double espresso, served with a small pot of coffee cream (not milk) and a pack of sugar. If you like strong coffee with a sour tang that is fine, but I am not of that breed. Back home I would drink coffee only outside when with other people, mostly because tea and coffee are priced the same and it felt like a rip off ordering just hot water and a Lipton yellow tea bag (the cheapest and most blah tea you can find). I got to discover coffees in less bitter and strong avatars on my many London escapade, Lattes and Cappuccinos are far more to my taste than the wake up juice that is Swiss coffee. When I moved to India, I was pleased to see that the same type of coffees existed. To me coffee is that occasional thing, I am still a tea person to the core, and said tea has to be black (or green) with no sugar and no milk. I could go on about India's coffee shop franchises, but I will just say that after all these years of preferring Barista and Costa over Cafe Coffee Day, it took me only one try at Starbucks to be converted to it for good.

Some might argue it is costly, well yes it is, but not so much more than the other chains out there, what the few extra rupees buy me however is a wider choice of munchies, coffees that are less bitter (a must for the coffee picky drinker that I am), no loud stupid music that drowns the conversation you try having with friends (or the voices in your head). And for the tea person that I am, they have teas that are of better quality, so much so that the 147 rupees for a tall full leaf tea feels far less costly than 120 something for a Twinings type tea dunked in hot water. And let's not forget the service, I love the service in any of the Starbucks I visited. In other coffee places they have that nasty habit of trying to push add ons on you, cafe coffee day being the worst offender here. Starbucks make suggestions when appropriate, no crazy pushing of vanilla syrup into your Earl grey tea (Costa I am talking to you), no chronically mistaking of orders to charge you more (hello Golria Jean's). and of course understanding that a chocolate iced cake shall not be thrown in the microwave and served as melted blob to the customer (Barista stop that insanity already), heck the thing that need to be warmed up are warmed up in a conventional oven here, takes more time, but keeps the food from turning gummy once at the table.

To the staff at my local one, I am probably known as the tea lady by now. They know me by name and just today, the barista asked me if I would get my usual tea without milk and wrote my name right, without asking me or even having me to have to spell it. The two months of fairly regular visits have turned the staff of a big franchise coffee shop into one of these small neighbourhood one I would frequent back in Geneva. This is also the one coffee shop in the area where I am the more likely to bump into one of my friend as they have pretty much established themselves as a favourite with many judging by the crowd it is likely to see at any time of the day.

Once the school starts, I might make it a point to continue making date with myself and my cup, just to avoid the temptation to pile the chores into my break.



10 comments

  1. Finn Felton2:18 PM

    I love coffee ..I like a full robust coffee with a lot of bite.. just an all around good flavor. It is good to know about Switzerland coffee.

    Regard
    Finn Felton
    Kopi Luwak.

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  2. One thing that most people swear by in Switzerland is owning a Nespresso Machine because it comes with a selection of coffee capsules. Most cafe serve a more generic blend though, but strong enough. I prefer lighter blends without too much of a bite. The Swiss coffee is something I always had difficulties downing, I drank it to be social, never at home and I always needed tons of sugar to get it down, when you are at two lumps of sugar in a tiny espresso cup, you know coffee is really not your thing :-)

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  3. Susan8:53 AM

    Hi Cynthia, I love flavored coffees, Island Coconut and vanilla Caramel especially, that I make in my Keurig machine. Pretty much same idea as a Nespresso machine. I slowly upped my Splenda to 3 per cup, and I was drinking at least 3 a day. That was too much Splenda for one person! It turned into a relaxation and comfort thing for me. Now I'm eating whole foods, clean, with no sugar, no dairy, no wheat, no gluten, etc., etc., with a diet I'm currently following, and I've started drinking tea again. I drink it as you do, no milk and no sweetener. It's been 6 days, and my taste buds are adapting. There is no way I could drink black unsweetened coffee! I started with Lipton tea, but it isn't "clean" and has some weird additives. I've switched to raspberry Twinings, but it is a bit weak. I'll keep searching for a better tea.
    Susan

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  4. I've always preferred tea over anything, inSwitzerland we also have a lot of fruit tisane, which are herbal teas as it is quite common to drink these before bedtime. In Geneva I had over 20 different types of teas and herbal teas in my home if that says anything about my drinking habits, there isn't as much choice in India, but still enough now compared to a few years back. I can tolerate chai with sugar but this is not my favourite I'd rather not drink sugary anything on a regular basis, and Indian chai without sugar is something I just can't drink, probably has to do with the taste of milk. And yup can't drink my coffee black either.

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  5. apple2:30 PM

    In this hear, I suggest you drink more of Lassi and aam panna and jaljeera. There is also something called "Sattu" which a mixture of flour populary used in U.P and Bihar to keep oneself cool during summers. Its a mixture of Oats, Wheat, Barley, Gram, Corn, Millet, Soya bean. It has low sugar so it is perfect for you. I don't know whether it is available in Mumbai. It is said that one glass of Sattu drink keeps you cool and energized for the whole day.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sattu

    http://www.geocities.ws/ayurveda_adviser/ayurveda_sattu.html

    http://qna.rediff.com/questions-and-answers/what-are-the-benefit-of-using-sattu-how-to-us/17655955/answers/17656023

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  6. apple2:52 PM

    There is also something called "Bhel" also know as wood apple (what a queer name) which is offered to Lord Shiva. This bhel food drink is also extremely good for summers. It has a sweet sour taste.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqDbozA_Lg8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdHIwR5fIYQ

    Oh, I forgot to mention the mother of all cold drinks in India, "Rooafja". You must have drunk this blood red syrupy drink. It is used in lass, mango shakes, puddings to enhance it straste. We have very fond memories of this drink in summers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=likev2M38us
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooh_Afza

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  7. I can't drink Roohafza because it contains some pineapple and I am allergic to it :-( my whole mouth swell if I eat even one bite of pineapple. I would not chance it in any preparation.

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  8. Never tried Sattu, but I like jaljeera.

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  9. Alexandra Madhavan2:00 AM

    I love to sit and have tea time in the afternoon too! I like to make a chai or a green tea and go into my office and write. It is like my meditation time!

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  10. I am a tea addict, I can't live without tea, I need tea in my day. In Switzerland I had 20 or so sorts of teas and herbal teas in my cupboard. In immerse I drink less of it, but the moment it gets cooler, that kettle of mine gets fired a couple of times a day to get my fix :-)

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