If I were to ask you what’s the most memorable coffee you’ve ever had, what would you say? If you don’t drink coffee, I guess the answer would be an easy one, but for the rest of us a memory will always come to the fore. In my case, all I can remember about the coffee is that it was a cappuccino in a shopping centre café, in Amsterdam. I sat looking at all the passing shoppers for a good 2-3 hours, because I’d checked out of my hotel and I had ages before my flight home.
The coffee wasn’t particularly memorable – but that moment was a life milestone in many respects. I was in my early 20s and this was my first solo business trip overseas. Knowing I had a long wait that day, I bought a book and ordered at least three coffees during my reading/people watching session. During that time I remember thinking to myself, “I can do this. I AM doing this! I’m all these miles away from home – I’m on my own, and I’m fine!”
I subsequently went on many overseas trips, alone, but with the confidence that I’d be ok. So I look back on my trip to Holland with great affection: it was the place where I finally began to believe in myself. All it took was 3(ish) frothy coffees 🙂
My 8 year old son, who makes me a daily coffee from our Nespresso machine, asked me the other day what was the best coffee I’d ever had. So I thought about it, and then recited the above. I asked Huw the same question, and this was his reply. “My most memorable coffee was made every Saturday when I visited my grandma as a child. We would go to the shop together and buy sliced bread in waxed paper and some cheese and butter. Then we’d walk home slowly. Grandma would then serve up lovely cheese on toast and a large mug of Camp coffee with three sugar lumps in it. The combination of cheese and the coffee brings back these memories back every time.”
Coffee might not be exotic, or exciting, or a luxury extravagance; drinking it is something we rather take for granted – like water from the tap, or milk from the fridge. But it appeared to me that wonderful things happen while sipping a mug of Joe! Take my friend Lisa for example. After having coffee (as part of an Afternoon Tea) at Claridges Hotel in London she got stuck in a malfunctioning revolving door. She looked across to the other section only to see Keanu Reeves looking at her … she was most disappointed when the doors unstuck and the moment past!
I wondered what other coffee-related stories I could uncover, so I asked friends, colleagues and fellow bloggers if they’ve ever had a memorable coffee drink. This is what they told me:
“Funny how a question like this makes you think and recall memories and happy coincidences. This describes a series of events that happened around a cup of coffee (and not the best coffee I’ve ever had mind). A decade ago, I was planning to leave my adopted hometown of Scarborough, North Yorkshire and move south to Cheltenham. I had a new job and a flat ready to move into. I had asked my best friend to come stay with me for the last time in Scarborough for Easter weekend and she duly did. We went out for dinner to a local pub that evening where I met my future partner Martin through a mutual friend (we’ve been together ever since).
The following day, as we’re boarding a train to Bradford to attend a matinee (I’d treated us both to tickets), Martin rang me asking me out. Whhooopp… Teena and I mused over a coffee at a Bradford pub after the show and I remember thinking whilst drinking it – WOW there will never be another Easter holiday quite like this one. I was right. Teena is no longer with us sadly. Her memory lives on in my jewellery designs, inspired by her love of amethyst and pretty shiny things.”
Chris from Fire-drake Jewellery
“David and I went new camera lens hunting in Lincoln. We were desperate for a drink and there was this little coffee shop. It was great – I asked for whole milk (love a creamy coffee) and that’s all they served. The owner didn’t believe in skimmed or semi-skimmed, nor decaff! There wasn’t a spare seat downstairs so up we went into a room with the most amazing painted walls and ceilings. Such a bohemian feel. There were blackboards telling you all about their coffee and where it is sourced.
The coffee arrived on a special platter containing glasses of milk, coffee (yes glass) and one for glass of water, at which point we were told the water was to clean the pallet before and after drinking. Suffice to say one of the tastiest coffees I have consumed and about time we made the jaunt back for another.”
Sarah from Spratt Designs
“We recently stopped for an Espresso at OuseburnCoffee in Newcastle. It is a small artisan factory (rather than a coffee shop) and they only have one coffee machine and a factory worker has to come and make you a coffee if you pop in; they don’t have a dedicated member of staff. It was the strongest coffee I’ve ever experienced.”
Samantha from SamanthaRickleton.com
“This one, at our local independent cafe (Harbour Hub Cafe) at the harbour. We’d just moved here (Wales) from Birmingham and it was so nice to have a random weekday morning coffee with such a beautiful view. It’s become a ritual now – at least once a week we head there for a coffee. Bloody good cup of coffee as well!”
Rachel from Coffee, Cake, Kids
Coffee and Travel
In fact, coffee memories often have a travel link, as the following show …
“My most memorable coffee was at a little coffee shop in San Francisco about 13 years ago. Memorable not for the actual coffee but for the experience of driving over the Golden Gate Bridge to get it; laughing so hard when we parked up outside as we couldn’t get the roof down on the convertible we’d hired; looking like rejects from Fawlty Towers, only for hubbie to sprinkle cinnamon on top of coffee thinking it was cocoa – a coffee I will never forget.”
Christine from Alfie Moon Designs
“Most memorable coffee or bica as its known in Portuguese was at the cafe on the beach at Ponta De Sol in Madeira. It’s a place where I can sit and enjoy the extreme beauty that surrounds me while close enough to watch my son and husband play on the beach.”
“Sitting on the island of Telendos in the Dodecanese having arrived there on a fishing boat and deciding to stay and having nothing with me other than the clothes I arrived in. No cars allowed, only a couple of bars, paradise. It was illy coffee.”
“My first pumpkin spice latte. October 2012. New York City. Times Square Starbucks. Beautiful day, awesome holiday and best coffee! I drink PSL every time it’s out because it takes me right back to that.”
Laura from Mama, Eden & Me
“We were travelling through Malaysia and were staying at the most bizarre ‘English’ guest house in the tea plantations. There was a monsoon rain storm and we were hiding out by a tiny food stall in town watching the rain in amazement drinking the most amazing sweet frothy coffee. I think it had condensed milk in, I don’t normally like sugar in coffee or tea but this was delicious!”
Louise from Pink Pear Bear
“Probably wasn’t the best tasting coffee, but my favourite has to be from June 2012, early morning, on a Mexican beach. Sipping coffee from a styrofoam cup listening to the waves and that is why it’s my favourite.”
Amy from Amy and Tots
“Krabi, Thailand. In an ‘ice cream & coffee’ shop. Perfect combo! Never thought it would be. Awesome views from the beachside too!”
Michelle from Seeing Rainbows
Coffee, Childhood and Life Events
Of course, like Huw, coffee can also be associated to childhood memories like Jenni’s, who told me that “My Dad would take my sister and I to the café after going to the fruit and veg market to buy the stock for our greengrocers in the early hours… He would let us have a Camp coffee – it was delicious and such an adventure!”
And sometimes a memorable coffee is centred around a major life event. My goddaughter had a terrible freak accident and she underwent major emergency surgery. While waiting for her to be brought up to the ward, having been told she was out of danger, her mum (my friend) was brought a Costa Coffee; she remembers thinking that it tasted rather splendid!
Not everyone likes coffee of course – it’s quite an acquired taste after all – but sometimes it hits the spot, like here in Joanna’s case:
“Only ever had one cup of coffee in my life. I’m a tea drinker. I was so cold working at an Arsenal v Tottenham football match. There was fights kicking off everywhere – I wasn’t dressed for the outside as I normally worked inside but the trouble was so bad they drafted us in! I was handed a warm coffee as I was so cold. It was the best thing ever but the experience can never ever be repeated. I’ve tried many times but just cannot enjoy a coffee.”
Did you know that coffee consumption has been linked to improved long term memory? Maybe this is why we all tend to remember our best coffee experiences!