Coffee Shop Culture

My dear Captain Leslie Richardson (author of Vagabond Days in Brittany) never mentioned anything about Vagabonds being addicted to coffee. However, he was a British gent and therefore drank copious amounts of tea, therefore I can only assume he was unaware of the existence of coffee. This Vagabond leans more towards the French tradition of slurping dark caffeinated coffee-bean goodness at all hours of the day. I know many of you unenlightened are gasping in horror, and while I do not discriminate on your lack of taste (I kid!) I do not understand those that have never tried coffee. I, myself, have many friends that enjoy the smell of coffee, but are unable to adjust their taste buds to the robust flavor. This just isn’t something to which I can relate for I’ve been imbibing this heavenly ambrosia since I was a little scamp…(insert flashback wavy lines). My father, for some unknown reason, has always been unable to enjoy coffee unless it is piping hot. He would carry his mug around with him in the morning as he got dressed for work, and inevitably about half way through, the coffee would become lukewarm. This was the moment my sister and I waited for all morning; as soon as the delicious liquid reached that point, my father would hand his mug off to us kids. As though we were all part of a strange relay race, my sister would take her fill and at that rapturous moment the mug of now ice-cold coffee would pass off to me (no lie, these are very fond memories). A few years down the road, living in my grandparent’s farmhouse, everyone would gather around the table for the holidays and it was often left to me to make the coffee. I never realized it was for the “grown-ups” and more than once left my poor uncles coffee-less as I made sure to fill my mug first. Then, the fateful day arrived that as a spunky teen I discovered a coffee shop and I was pretty sure that it was better than Disney World (end of flashback wavy lines). Yes, coffee has been the staple of my life, the thing over which I have made new friends, and improved first dates, the thing which relieves my headaches and always elicits a contented sigh. I have yet to find a coffee shop at which I do not feel at home. As soon as I walk in and smell that roast a’brewing I cannot contain my excitement! I love to peruse the menu of assorted tasty goodness and choose the beverage that perfectly fits my mood of the day. Do I want iced or hot? Latte or espresso? Drip or macchiato? Decaf or super charged? If I do end up joining PeaceCorps, one of my greatest fears (aside from getting caught up in some kind of unrest) is that I won’t have access to coffee. I’ve been to three different countries, and in each one I’ve managed to order a cappaccino! There is something about coffee that bridges the gap between cultures. Bringing people together over a cup of joe just signifies that Vagabonds the world over were meant to be coffee drinkers. After all, if we cannot  come together over a beverage, what hope do we have? Yes, coffee is definitely the tool of a traveler. When arriving in any new city, my first goal is to become acquainted with the best coffee shops around. Getting to know the baristas, the soundtrack, and the regulars of your local coffee slinger can give you an introduction to a city that can not be found elsewhere. As a Vagabond in a new city, I’m going out to get caffeinated!

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