Take Me to the Coffee Shop


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{Café Creme in the Marais where I met a friendly New Yorker who lended me the wi-fi password}
Most everyone here has a way to document their experience. Some take the old-fashioned route with handwritten journal entries; some collect museum guides, receipts, and postcards for a future scrapbook; others started a blog just for the trip like Brynna with Yes Way Rosé. Meanwhile, the eight boys (out of sixty-something people in our program total) proclaim trust in a photographic memory. Can't blame 'em.

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It's hard work delicately balancing exploring and  documenting (and some sleeping!). I'm lucky to have BOD as my travel log, but in a slew of the chronological posts, sometimes I crave changing things up on here--steering away from 'first came this then came that' kinda thing and revisiting more reflective posts.

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I went through a sleep deprivation spell during my trip to Berlin, causing me to realize something that's been essential on this trip and really, my life in general in recent years: coffee.

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Growing up, I feared developing the addiction I observed in most adults I knew. Every morning, they had a mug in hand with that piping hot bitter, black beverage. The appeal was a mystery to me.

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{coffee date with Merl at Walton's Fancy & Staple in Austin}
I now have a cup of jo daily (black regularly, americano after a long night or early morning and a hazelnut macchiato on special occasions), but this habit developed with baby steps like Starbucks Java Chip ice cream.

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{Einstein's coffee really is as 'darn good' as they claim}
Come college, I had one of those 'aha' moments. I first fell in love with the energetic boost, then discovered the liquid warmth it provided on a brisk walk to class.

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I later just wanted an excuse to buy cute monogrammed mugs, and finally, my taste buds gave in.

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{the first-ever TOMS brand coffee shop opened this year on South Congress}
And it's a good thing 'cause Austin has just as many coffee shops as it does gas stations. Slowly but surely, Europe is catching onto the trend of cafés strictly serving up cups of caffeine.

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I've been to three big cities now (Paris, London and Berlin) and each one has given me a different flavor of coffee culture, yet all remarked similarly on Americans crazy fetish for having their coffee much too big and much too black.

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{photo via Yes Way Rosé}
The Parisians prefer their espressos barely big enough for two sips.

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London (more on this overnight trip with William last weekend to come) isn't short on quaint coffee shops. The British barista at Coffee Republic was notably friendly, so I decided to drink my brew the Brit way and order the cappuccino he recommended.

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I visited Pure Origins Estate Coffee in Berlin and found their options to be completely foreign.

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I played eeny, meeny, miny, moe and chose the café bon bon.

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The liquid candy did its magic after a 3:45am wake-up call.

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For me, a dining experience is six parts about the food four parts about the ambiance and coffee shops are no different.

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I've made being a coffee connoisseur my cultural craft while over here, so on this Monday BOD invites you to a fresh brew of those beans. Off to my favorite area for the day, the Marais!


Unknown said...

i'm dying. My coffee addiction started and has evolved in the same way. I eased my way in with Vanilla Bean frapps and haagen dazs coffee ice cream. Then I made myself believe white chocolate mochas were coffee before I finally came to college and went to the dark side of black coffee and half a sweet-n-low. A soy latte or vanilla latte are always there for a special treat! Coffee is just good for the soul, couldn't agree more with this post