A glance through my bank statement can tell anyone much about my life and vices – restaurants, bars, clothes stores and most frequently, coffee shops. Coffee has long been my drink of choice, despite my parents and now my partner too, being confirmed tea drinkers. Tea never appealed to me whereas my brother would have it in his bottle. From about 4 or 5 I began to have a coffee once a day when my Mum did and by the time my teenage years arrived – I swear there was more coffee pumping round my body than blood, especially when I was burning the midnight oil, revising or writing an essay! (Not that I leave things until the last minute you understand!) Now around my teens too, I began to visit Starbucks on quite a regular basis and some of mine and my friends teenage woes were discussed at length in the comfy armchairs of Starbucks. Who would believe that Starbucks started out in 1971 as one store in Seattle? There are now over 17000 Starbuck’s branches worldwide. The name is from Moby Dick, Starbuck was the chief mate on the Pequod ship. It cleverly encompasses the integral relationship between the sea and coffee imports of the past.
Alongside Starbucks sits Costa, set up by two brothers who funnily enough, served their first coffee to local caterers in London in 1971 too and the first coffee shop opened in 1972. I used to meet two of my close friends who now live in the North and spend many a Sunday morning discussing men and such like in our local branch; dissecting everything the latest man had said and searching for hidden meanings, that probably weren’t there.
Then lets not forget Caffé Nero which was formed much later by Gerry Ford in London in 1997. His aim was to bring an authentic Italian styled café to the UK. They too now have more than 500 stores around the world.
Now which of these great chains we decide to buy our coffee from, I suspect is much to do with which crosses our path at a particular time but for a moment lets just pretend you have all three in front of you, which would you choose? I would love you to comment on my blog and let me know. Apparently Costa is the nation’s favourite based on research carried out by a strategic research company in London in 2010 & 2011. My personal favourite is Caffé Nero, whose raspberry and white chocolate muffin on a Monday morning is to die for (I’m telling myself the fact it has raspberry in it means it counts as one of my 5 a day!) Now Costa does also do a raspberry and white chocolate muffin but for me it just doesn’t compare as it contains a kind of centre of raspberry puree, a bit like a jam doughnut. Starbucks range of speciality seasonal drinks does tempt me away from Caffé Nero one month a year however. I was counting down the days last year until they began serving their toffee nut latte!
Anyway, now you have decided which chain to get your coffee from, there follows another extensive list of questions; decaf/normal, skimmed/full fat milk, sugar, one shot or two and of course the all important type of coffee. Is it a cuppachino, a latte, an americano, mocha, espresso or a macchiato that floats your boat? I only found out what a macchiato was the other day so in case you are as ignorant on these matters as me, it’s an espresso with a dash of milk or foam. Even that is not the end of the questions as then there is the necessity of size and you’ve guessed it, not just simple; small/medium/large that would make things far too easy, no each branch has its own terms; for example large in Caffé Nero is ‘Grande’ and in Starbucks is ‘Venti’. A college professor in English upset a Starbucks Barista in New York City because she refused to use their terminology.
The social element of popping out for a coffee has long been enjoyed by Europeans but here in England we have been slow to catch on. Perhaps it’s because in the UK much like the US, we are always in too much of a rush to just relax and let the world go by. I love to sit and people watch in a coffee shop. There is always such a diverse snapshot of the population in there. My partner refuses to frequent these places as a tea drinker however as he says the tea is rubbish and they give you a cup of hot water and a tea bag so you pretty much have to make it yourself and pay for the privilege.
Now enough about coffee, lets move to my fashion vice. I have been snapping up some spring/summer trends such as this gorgeous tropical print top from Oasis and this funky pencil skirt, also Oasis.
In the absence of winning the lottery, in place of the Cleo B sandals I mentioned in my last blog, I have treated myself to a New Look pair in preparation for my holiday.
After reading Fabulous magazine, they suggested these RiverIsland sandals to follow in the art deco trend, shown by Gucci. I went for light brown rather than the black they suggested though as I felt they were more summery.
I also couldn’t resist these coral sandals and a parrot vest top from New Look. Don’t you just love summer? I am counting down the weeks until I go to Crete.
Drawing two of my obsessions together – shoes and coffee, when my other half and I first got together, he bought me this mug so I could feel at home when I visited.
The stimulating effect of caffeine in coffee has long been linked to health problems but to me the caffeine is part of the point of drinking it – I need something to make me human in the morning and give me energy for my shopping. As a guy at work likes to call it decaf is just brown water. It seems I’m not the only one with a passion for coffee, especially in America where they even have a National Coffee Day on 29th September. Sadly as yet no National shoe day as such that I have heard of.
Anyway I shall close there; time to put the kettle on I feel.