Do you know why I love photographing coffee? It’s because I can remember all the events and sights leading up to that cup, and the ones that followed. I recall the conversations I had over it, and the feelings I felt… taking pictures of coffee is the best way I know how to photograph Europe, because the rest of it has been photographed much better than I can ever attempt, so why bother? This is the important stuff…
My first coffee in Paris, France, just north of Notre Dame. I didn’t understand the system yet, so I ordered Cafe Au Lait, because it was the only thing I recognized! We had just seen our favorite of all places- San Chapelle, the chapel of glass and light!
Coffee at the Louvre! We had admired Napolean’s coronation only moments before, and afterwards we got very lost in the Egyptian section, where we discovered that the Louvre does not connect in some places and makes for a lot of walking.
My favorite coffee moment in Paris. This was on the Rue du Bac between the Musee D’Orsay and the Taxidermie Deyrolle. This was my first macaroon! I never understood the allure until I popped this pink pastry in my mouth, and now I’m an addict!
Clearly, I had discovered espresso… I believe “Cafe Richard” was a chain of coffee supply because every time we got a cup with the name printed on it, the cafe was nothing like the one before. Perhaps it is the Starbucks of Paris. This was on a busy street corner after having walked down the hill from the Pantheon (quite the Mausoleum!).
Ah, yes, this one! What a day! It was a dreary, cloudy sky that hung over us as we walked the quiet streets of Pere Lachaise Cemeterie. After hours of wandering and petting gravestones of famous loved ones, we settled in the cafe across the street with large Mucha paintings on the walls. Perhaps a tourist trap, but a safe place with hot coffee nonetheless.
We’ve left Paris, now! Here is the sole cup of coffee I enjoyed in Dusseldorf, Germany. A lovely bakery chain where I had my first German pretzel. Yum! Here the cups are twice as large, by the way. Whoa! It was challenging to find a coffee shop with a place to sit. It seems most folks like standing. Same with their bars! How intriguing!
Oooooo, Spanish coffee! This was at a hotel in Zaragosa, Spain, where we had just come from a flight, and then a bus ride to our final destination. A large and fit-for-a-king-dinner awaited us, and coffee was naturally served after.
Okay, this is actually liquid chocolate, not coffee, that I enjoyed with my hosts when we walked the streets to admire Zaragosa at night. This was the only non-alcoholic beverage we imbibed that evening.
Breakfast at Cafe Rodi, a small cafe near the Bodegas Aragonesas Winery in Campo de Borja. A delicious, hand-prepared meal with foods I’d never dreamed of before. And oh the Ham! Jamon with every meal! Woo!
Served after a luxurious meal of lamb chops seared over open fire at the Bodegas Aragonesas Winery in Campo de Borja. There were anchovies filleted with olive oil, mushrooms stuffed with foie gras, pimentoes also stuffed with foie gras… foie gras on everything why not! Did I mention the 16 wines served? I couldn’t keep up…
This coffee was across the table from me because my cup refused to photograph well. The table is at an elegant restaurant somewhere in Barcelona, where several bottles of wine were ordered, and I enjoyed a sinful dish of suckling lamb liver. My gracious host made the evening classy and memorable. Uh-mazing.
My last coffee in Europe 2012. This was in a restaurant down near the Barcelona Airport, where we dined on traditional grilled leeks and the most amazing garlic aioli that made my mouth raw the whole next week. This coffee’s acidity burned right through me, but I couldn’t help having it. Coffee had become a sort of signal that all was right in the world, and gave me a moment of peace to wrap myself up in.
Naturally I came home to our streets of Starbucks and experienced a kind of reverse culture shock. How different a world we live in! How I miss the cafe of Europe!