A Cup Collection

In my last apartment, my last permanent residence, I had about 15-20 mugs. I had a few solid colors, a few designs, and a few with inscriptions–varying from funny to inspiring. I lived in a decent sized apartment, but I had started to look at the collection and wonder when I would have enough.

I don’t like clutter, I don’t want to take up too much space, and I want to be practical; I only drink out of one mug so really one could technically be enough, a reasonable person might say two or three to take into account that one may break or one may be in the dishwasher. Okay. I can live with 2-3 mugs.

At this point, far below an alarming number–in my opinion–I had already given credence to the idea that I had a collection, and that I may be on my way to, or already have, a sizable collection.

This was a year ago, before all my travels, before I sold or gave away most of my stuff, and put the rest in storage. This was before I reduced my collection in order to embark on a sort of gap year.

Nowadays, I actually miss my wall of hanging mugs, I miss the variety, I miss having options; at the same time, I know that giving them up and/or putting them away was best. Sometimes less is truly more. We can live with less.

Furthermore, after reading about Mesude Islkll, I realize that my 15-20 mugs was not that much. I’m not a collector. I had a reasonable amount of mugs for my love, my work, and my coffee.

Who’s Mesude Islkll? A woman who has collected 3,000+ coffee cups. She started 12 years ago, and they’re beautiful, some are even antiques. Each one holds a special memory for her. It is her passion and it shows.

I loved my mugs and it was hard to let go. I do love adding another mug to my collection–and look forward to building a new collection. However, I definitely don’t have the time, space, or money to amass a collection like Islkll. And maybe what I’ve learned and discovered is the sweet spot, somewhere between my original 15-20, and her 3,000+  sounds like a decent figure for a cup collection 😉😂

I just have to figure out how much is appropriate . . . 25? 50? What do you think?

While I drink . . .

While I drink my coffee–whether it is morning, noon, or night, I . . .

  • daydream
  • consider my day
  • get ready for the day
  • read
  • get ready for the afternoon
  • write
  • get ready for the night
  • watch tv
  • listen to the radio
  • walk
  • clean
  • cook
  • work
  • do nothing
  • say nothing
  • think of nothing

Sometimes it’s a cup meant for awakening. It’s a time to get rejuvenated or ready for something. Other times, it’s my downtime, a relaxing and warm experience. It’s not a single reason to drink, and therefore not a single experience.

As coffee has so many purposes and so much potential, it allows for much to accompany it.

. . . And what do you do while you drink?

New Zealand & Australia Prelude

I swear I have a job, like a real job . . . well, sort of. Define real job . . . 😉

So, I have been bouncing around Europe, sometimes finding lovely places, sometimes not. I have been trying to keep up with my finds, and other posts, to share some genuinely good stuff. As I’m trying to manage all the pictures, and notes, I am off on another trip!

Upcoming travels and possible posts, soon brought to you by New Zealand and Australia! I will be spending 2 weeks in New Zealand and 3 weeks in Australia, 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼 for something great to share — I’m sure there will be plenty!

Vicenza, Veneto, Italy: Caffé Roma

Vicenza is a city in the north of Italy. Look at a map of Italy, find Verona, find Venice–Vicenza is in between these two famous cities.

I was repeatedly encouraged to visit Vicenza. I was unsure about my visit, and purpose, I had two significant locales on either side of the city that were calling my name. Luckily, I took the local recommendation.

Vicenza is a cute city. It has less international name recognition, but it’s definitely worth a visit. There’s plenty to see, and a lot less crowds, which makes for a wonderful experience.

Vicenza is known for its beautiful buildings–Palladio, a famous Italian architect, dominates the city. I visited several times; I saw only a fraction of what was possible–there are a few shopping areas, a number of churches, museums, gorgeous buildings, and some truly beautiful parks.

With so much to see, a coffee break will be in order. While I’m sure that any coffee place in an Italian city provides good coffee, I have my heart set on Caffé Roma.

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I discovered Caffé Roma through two new American friends I met on my travels–Vicenza is home to an American base, their partners were stationed at this base, so they were exceptionally familiar with the area, and I let them be my tour guides one visit. They are the ones that took me here, and I will forever be grateful.

Caffé Roma has a small outdoor seating area, in that area they included blankets which I really appreciated as I visited during winter. I enjoyed my coffee outside and stayed warm with beautiful, thick, soft blankets. The indoor seating had a few tables and the most adorable coat hangars at the bar. There is a giant mirror located next to the bar itself where I wrote alongside others from all over the world. Finally, the customer service was superb; the people were patient, kind, and friendly.

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All of this was on top of the fact that they had great coffee, and some superb brioche. In fact, my friends took me here specifically for the brioche–they said it was the best they had tasted in all of their travels. I have to agree, it was pretty spectacular.

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So, if you’re ever in Vicenza, visiting this architectural and Italian gem, make a stop at Caffé Roma–get cozy with some blankets, coffee, and brioche, it’ll be just the break and treat you needed.

What to look for . . .

I was recently asked what’s important to me when I go to a coffee shop. Obviously, great coffee is #1, but what else do I regularly note, observe, or look for?

Here are some things I note on my visits:

  • location (what is it close to, what can you do before or after your cup)
  • customer service
  • seating arrangement/options
  • food/food choices
  • milk options (not all of us can handle dairy)
  • plug situation (so many of us go with devices, or go to work, so plugs are important)
  • clean restrooms (we are drinking coffee, we may need to use the bathroom)
  • parking situation (I’m originally from southern California, parking is important)

This is not everything, but these are the most direct and most common range of things I think about when writing and reviewing a place.

As I started this process, I realized that finding a small business, a local gem, meant sticking to a predetermined set of criteria as well as noting the peculiarities of a single place–what makes them particularly interesting or unique–like the abundance of seasonal drinks, the option to exchange books, or the chance to play board games. I’m sure as I continue researching and writing, as I grow as a coffee drinker and writer, I will expand and change my considerations, but for now this is it.

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Taken at Sunrise Coffee House in Las Vegas, Nevada

Italy: to-go

Recently I posted a brief summary on some of the differences between the US and Italy as it pertains to coffee, and coffee culture.

Now, sometimes you notice things right away, and sometimes you don’t realize things until much later. This is a much later realization:

No need for a to-go cup.

The quick espresso, the quick shot of coffee, is a momentary event. It’s served, you may or may not add sugar, you chug it, you leave the bar. That’s it.

Since it’s a brief stop, there’s no need for a to-go cup.

***

I was standing at the bar waiting for my drink, hearing all the glass clinking, enjoying the sounds–I don’t know why but I like the hustle and bustle noise–when it dawned on me: there’s no paper or plastic anywhere.

In fact, once it hit me, I instantly started looking around for any sign of paper cups. Nothing. I looked for cardboard sleeves, wooden stirrers, drink stoppers, and everything else associated with a cup of coffee to-go. Surely, I was mistaken. But there was nothing.

Three weeks into my Italian stay, I started backtracking to every bar and restaurant, had I seen a to-go cup–anywhere? From this moment on, I started looking for signs of a coffee to-go. Any signs, any options, any markings for a to-go option; I looked everywhere. After 6 weeks in Italy, I recall one in Rome, which I attribute to the abundance of tourists, and I found one in Bassano del Grappa. Nothing in all my other travels (Galliera Veneta, Castelfranco, Vicenza, Cittadella, Treviso, Padua, Venice, Verona, Asolo).

Italians may drink a lot of coffee, but they’re not producing nearly as much paper and plastic waste with their caffeinated habit–not as much as we do in the States. It’s pretty amazing and quite the contrast, and while I love the idea and the concept of it all, I sure do miss my big American cup to-go. I miss being able to savor some added almond milk and flavor in the morning. 😉 ☕ So, it’s great for the environment, and I definitely appreciate it, but I’m not a complete convert. For now, it’s just another difference to note. 😊

What is coffee?

My sixth attempt answering “What is coffee?”

Coffee is . . .

  • understanding
  • mandatory
  • reassuring
  • peace
  • soothing
  • essential
  • required
*all responses–me, and a whole lot of other people I imagine

 

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