I know that you are totally shocked that I, of all people, would choose to write about such a topic. Okay, maybe not. It’s true, go ahead and laugh, but here’s the scoop for those who don’t know me very well. I’m having a real love affair with coffee. Shhhh… don’t tell my partner… I’d hate for him to be jealous.
Despite my clear addiction, bias and love for a good espresso, I think it’s obvious that whether you drink coffee or not it is one of those subjects that you are sure to see in your Twitter or Facebook feed on an almost daily basis. I can’t possibly be the only one who sees those tweets and posts begging for a coffee at pretty much any hour of the day. Better yet, I love the posts with photos of cups of coffee that make us coffee lovers either drool with envy or motivate us to get up and make one for ourselves. Then, there is that cute little symbol some of you use that looks like a coffee cup. c(_) Truth be told, I’m actually guilty of all the above and I am not ashamed to admit it. I love coffee! I love drinking it, reading about it, tweeting, posting and now blogging about it. It’s official, if by chance there was any doubt left.
That said, last week, I created a new blog that had nothing to do with coffee… or so I thought: http://atelierbellanda.wordpress.com It features a ‘Virtual’ Art Atelier, which shares the before, during and after creation process of my Oil Paintings and One of a Kind Photographic Art. ‘Live’ sessions will be planned so that you can follow, interact and share in the online Atelier experience. After my many visits to museums and galleries around the world, I had always wished that I could have witnessed the artists at work. The concept of my new blog was born with this thought process in mind, and yes, it was born with an espresso in hand.
Since the start of my Atelier Bellanda Blog, I’ve been asked by a few people how on earth I find the time to write books, screenplays, run two blogs, paint, do photography, be a social media manager for a French companies/Chefs, play with my little ones, run them around to activities, all the while being in a good relationship with a wonderful man. In response, I often make jokes about it being the effects of drinking way too much coffee… that, and the help of my Pink Super Cape that I take out in real emergencies. Recently, a Twitter friend wrote, “I’m loving the new Blog… Keep drinking the coffee!!!”
Since then, I’ve been giving coffee a lot of thought. Have you ever wondered how many careers were made while under the ‘influence’ of coffee? How many deals were made over coffee? How many books, scripts or blog posts were written with a cup of coffee in hand? How many of you have ever tried to meet business deadlines or studied late nights with a fresh pot of coffee or cup of espresso? The, “Let’s meet for drinks,” has almost been replaced by the, “Let’s meet for coffee.” Oh wait, maybe that’s just because I am getting old? No need to answer that by the way.
Anyway, I looked back at where my “espresso addiction” began and immediately began to laugh. Of all places, it began in Paris back in the summer of 1990. Okay, my head just began to spin when I typed that date. (*Presently taking a deep breath with the confirmation that I’m no longer a spring chicken.) Yeah, moving right along… It seems so appropriate and somewhat strange that this magical city I now live in, is the place of origin of my very first espresso!
I had always been a tea lover and although I liked the smell of coffee, I hated the taste. It wasn’t until I arrived in Paris during a one and a half month European ‘self-discovery’ backpacking experience that my tea drinking days came to a screeching halt. On one gorgeous sunny but cool Parisian morning I asked myself, what better place to people watch than an outdoor café? I found a wonderful little café. There was an available table with the morning sun shining on it, so walked over and sat down with my little writing journal.
To immerse myself into a culture as much as possible, I often traveled alone. As a result, I was also on my own when it came to trying to communicate with my either non-existent or little foreign language vocabulary. Timidly, I uttered, “Un thé, s’il vous plaît,” with what was probably one of the worst accents the waiter had ever heard. He looked at me with that puzzled, razed eyebrow expression. Seriously, how could I get that wrong? It looked like such an easy thing to order. I spoke a little louder and he immediately started asking me what seemed like endless questions of which I had no idea what he was saying. Even though there was a cool gentle morning breeze, I began to sweat. I kept saying, “Désolé” (sorry) because that was one of the few words I knew.
Eventually, the waiter held up his hand as if to say, wait a minute and walked away. He came back with a box filled with a variety of tea bags, milk, lemon and sugar and looked at me with a smile and an okay, what do you want kind of expression. I thought, my savior! I smiled timidly, as I could feel myself blush with embarrassment. Who would have thought ordering tea could be so complicated?
After making my tea and sugar choice, I sat back relieved that this chapter in my journey was over. Just then, I noticed a man sit down at the next table. He looked at the waiter and said, “Un café, s’il vous plaît.” The waiter nodded his head, and brought him a café. He placed it on the table and that was it! There were no questions asked… no need for further discussion. I think my mouth literally dropped open as I thought, I can do that! Thus began the birth of my coffee obsession.
I must admit that at first I needed to add several sugars just to get it down, but hey, that’s the price to pay when one has the courage to travel alone, yet doesn’t have the courage to ask for tea. Go figure! Over the years, my tastes have refined and I have even left a bad cup of coffee untouched after a sip. Admittedly that doesn’t happen often because I hate to waste coffee, but it has indeed happened as I search for the perfect espresso.
Since Paris is the place that introduced me to coffee, I thought it only fair that I introduce you to one of my favorite coffee places in Paris. STAY TUNED… a future blog post will do just that!
Until then, feel free to add your favorite coffee stories or locations across the globe in the comments section below.
UPDATE: My favorite Paris Coffee Café Blog Post is almost done! The photos have been taken, and the article is in the making.