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.


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.


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.


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.

Happy Anniversary!

On January 19, 2018 this journey began . . .

In one year, I have developed as a blog writer, coffee photographer, coffee commentator, and social media user. I have written about coffee shops in California, Nevada, Utah, and Minnesota. I have traveled abroad, and written about coffee and coffee bars in Italy. I have read dozens of articles on coffee, and inserted them into my posts–as well as learned tremendously from these readings. I have started and kept designated posts for quotes, humor, pictures, lessons, and all sorts of lists. I have managed to keep up with a weekly schedule of 2-3 posts per week, for a whole year!

I’m so proud–aren’t you? 😁

Thank you to everyone who has joined me on this journey, and a special thank you to all of you who have supported me on this new path of growth and development–we’ve accomplished a lot, and it’s going to be even better heading into year 2!

Cittadella, Padua, Italy: Caffé Al Pozzo

For 6 weeks I lived in Galliera Veneto, Padua, Italy, with an Italian family. It was a very small town, in the north of Italy–a completely different experience than 13 years prior when I had studied abroad in Rome.

In a different part of the country, under different circumstances and obligations, at a different point in my life, my life and adventures took a different course. I had done the big cities (Rome, Venice, Florence). Now, it was time for lesser known cities . . .

. . . like Cittadella!

Cittadella was a military outpost in the 13th century, so when you get off the train, you walk a bit, and within 5 minutes you’re in the heart and center of a walled city.

According to what I read and learned, it’s the only walled city in all of Europe! So, it’s a perfect stop to not just walk the entirety of the walled city, it’s enough time to check out the wall itself–that’s right, it has a fully functional walkway nearly 50 feet (15 meters) above ground.


Once you’re done walking the walls, checking out the shops, and feeling like a local, make a stop at Caffé Al Pozzo.


Every coffee shop, every coffee bar, is lovely. Every gelato place is excellent–you can get coffee there too. Nevertheless, I have a special place in my heart for Al Pozzo.

It’s small, but most bars in Italy are small. It has a lovely outdoor seating area, which on a sunny day must be magical; I was there during the winter, so I stayed indoors. The decor is a little fun, orange is one of my favorite colors. The coffee is superb; I got something different each time, and every time, it was delicious. Al Pozzo was also the first place I had brioche, a chocolate brioche, during my travels. This is heavenly. Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, the customer service was superb.


I truly appreciate anyone who patiently waits as I try to think of the right words, and fumble through my coins trying to figure out exact change. Al Pozzo does all of that–and more.

So, if you’re ever in Cittadella, stop by Al Pozzo–they’ll not only treat you well, but you’ll be able to enjoy some great coffee and brioche too.


How much caffeine?

So I recently found this in a Google search: The Coffee Chain Flat White that Contains More Caffeine than Three Red Bulls.

There are moments in life when something pops up in your results, or your feed, and you have to make a decision–Do I really want to know? Should I click?

Well, I clicked on it.

Short answer: Costa Coffee.

Immediate reaction: Thank goodness I don’t have any near me, and I actually have never been. Now I know.

Next thought: Should I look up my caffeine intake?

I normally have my coffee in the morning; as stated in the article, caffeine intake should be monitored for the purposes of sleep. My caffeine will have left my system by bedtime if I just drink it in the morning.

I don’t drink energy drinks, tea, or soda. I normally have one big cup of coffee at home, or a fancy drink somewhere else. I’m really not ingesting caffeine outside of coffee.

I’m going to go ahead and keep my fingers crossed that my caffeine intake is a healthy dosage. However, if I ever make it to Costa, I’m definitely skipping their flat white!! Unless, I need it. 😉 😂

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.

Taken at Sunrise Coffee House in Las Vegas, Nevada

Chino Hills, CA, USA: Platform 909

I have recently enjoyed some time in my hometown. Nearly three weeks of uninterrupted time has given me the chance to leisurely explore, and to find a new appreciation for my particular section of southern California.

On one particularly eventful day, I drove over to Chino Hills to visit Chino Hills State Park. In October, it happen to be 90 degrees, quite the unusually warm day to visit and hike around a park.

I enjoyed a nice breeze, some outstanding overlooks, and a short sweaty hike. It was a brief but beautiful visit. At its end, I really felt like something more than water, perhaps a good cup of coffee. Hello Google.

I had been researching local coffee shops since my arrival in southern California and I had stumbled upon Platform 909. It had peaked my interest but I hadn’t been close enough to make a stop. Turns out, it’s less than a mile from Chino Hills State Park!

Platform 909 is a Harry Potter-inspired coffee shop, which I did not realize until I entered it. For some reason I had focused on the 909 part, and fallen in love because this was my area code as a child. I just felt that it would be fun to go somewhere that was somehow honoring my original and specific Californian identity (someone from the 909).

Anyway, I walked in and was thrilled to see the sprinkles of Harry Potter decor. It made me think of Bad Owl, it made me feel like I had been transported to my other home: Las Vegas, Nevada.

The venue is relatively small, but there are plenty of options for seating (tall tables, small tables, a couple of cushioned chairs). The lighting is excellent, lots of natural light, which is my personal favorite. The parking is free and plentiful, which is important anywhere but certainly in southern California. Finally, the customer service is absolutely outstanding.

The woman answered all of my questions: they’ve only been open about a year, this is their only location, they serve tea along with coffee, and yes this a Harry Potter inspired place.

The barista also explained their Spanish latte.

Spanish Latte: coffee, condensed milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Not overly sweet, not as much as you’d think; great hot or iced.

I decided to go for it–I purchased an iced Spanish latte.


It was delightful. The condensed milk was not overpowering, the drink had only a bit of sweetness. The cinnamon on top I immediately mixed into the drink, so when I was drinking I had hints of cinnamon here and there. The combination, the balance of condensed milk and coffee, was perfect for me. I had enough coffee and enough milk to enjoy my drink as well as get a dose of coffee/caffeine for the day.

If you’re in southern California, close to Chino Hills, make a stop at Platform 909, the coffee is magical.

But what about this place?

  • Let this be the next segment of “But what about this place?”
  • Let this be an addendum to my previous statement “Bring the suggestions, I will always go!”


I recently stumbled across the following article: Coffee Shop with Fish Swimming Right at the Foot in Saigon.

I did some digging and read more on this coffee shop and the concept. I have come to the conclusion that I just can’t do this.

I feel like I’m adventurous, but I don’t think I’m that adventurous.

I can’t sit in ankle deep water, in an artificial tank, with fish just swimming by my feet as I try to drink my coffee. I would be too jumpy and end up spilling my coffee! And honestly, it just sounds gross. I don’t want the smell of coffee disrupted by the smell of feet, or fish.

Maybe I am overthinking it, but this is one place I don’t find appealing, one place I cannot say I will put on my list of places to try–but maybe you could try it and let me know how it goes? 😬

How long should I stay?

Quite a number of years ago, before I was a passionate coffee drinker, I read this article in the New York Times: “How Long is it Okay to Linger in a Cafe or Restaurant?”

The question and commentary stuck with me for some time, and obviously still resonates with me.

Two years ago I really started making the local coffee shop my work space and personal space. I started drinking coffee to relax my mind and take a break from life. I started taking online classes and made the coffee shop my place to study, write, and learn. Throughout this development, I monitored my time, not out of this article’s inspiration per se, but out of a genuine feeling that a couple of hours was enough time for me.

Recently, as I have started researching and doing more business in coffee shops, I have still paid attention to the length of my stay, but now out of appreciation–I want to make sure that I am a fair and polite customer.

In this pursuit, I wanted to determine what exactly “fair” and “polite” looked like–especially given that I started to take note of others’ behavior.

“7 Rules for Coffee Shop Etiquette” and “How to Work on Your Laptop Without Being a Jerk” summed it well.

Basically, I have followed a standard that is appropriate and amenable. I have been on the right track, my instincts were on point.

How long should I stay?

  • Well, as long as I purchased something reflective of my time there–one hour means less spending expected, four hours means more purchasing expected–I am good.

How long should I stay?

  • Well, if I ‘ve been parked in my seat for some time and it’s empty, I am welcome to keep sipping my cup or sitting next to my empty cup for a little bit longer. If my seat is needed and I do not plan to purchase anything else, I should relinquish my seat, or buy something else, out of courtesy to the business and other customers.

How long should I stay?

  • Well, allow me to defer to my own high expectations. If I were a business owner, how long would I expect a person that bought a $5 coffee to stay?

This concept, this rule of thumb, this etiquette lesson, is my own guiding outline. There are no hard and fast rules, but generally speaking a coffee shop is a business, it’s not your home and it’s not your office, so make sure to treat it with respect and patron appropriately.


If there are other considerations or input to this etiquette question and lesson, please feel free to comment–often times there are multiple ways of answering behavioral questions.

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