Sep 18, 2014

Coffee Favorites

I first took notice of coffee when I was a passenger on Varig Airlines, the Brazilian carrier we used to fly from Los Angeles to Panama when we first moved to CA. It was in the early 70's, I was in my teens. 

I remember Varig for many reasons. The plane was a wide body jet because of the long haul route: Brazil, Panama, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and then back. The  service was great, they even had cloth napkins in coach. And prior to every descent, the flight attendants served a tiny cup of Brazilian coffee, the consistency was thick like maple syrup. It was delicious and what a JOLT of energy this tiny beverage provided.  I loved the tiny cups, they served both with cup and matching saucer. I loved the anticipation, I loved the profound coffee flavor and the coffee high I had for a many hours. 

Cappuccino @ Home, Atlanta 

Fast forward to college. I drank coffee because I had to. I had a thick white ceramic cup with a tiny green frog inside at the bottom. One of those novelty items I picked up somewhere, the green frog was great company for three years I attended Cal State Northridge.  I don't remember enjoying coffee; the beverage served a practical purpose, keeping me awake doing homework. Back then I had to type all my college papers. Yes, TYPE.  Certainly in the late 70's I don't recall any social norms or graces associated with drinking coffee. Starbucks was not invented yet. I drank Folgers because that was the brand my parents had when I was growing up. On campus I drank Coca Cola, the coffee in the cafeteria was bad. 

Cafe Unidos, Panama 

The best cup of coffee, or cappuccino I've ever had, the one pictured above, served at Cafe Unidos in Panama in the Coco del Mar location.  I was there in July of this year, JoAnn and I went early on a Sunday morning. I remember the surprise, the delight, the taste so different, almost with floral like qualities. Later I learned the freshly roasted, "La Harpia" blend was a combination of beans from several growers in Panama. I went back 2 days later to confirm that it was indeed superb coffee and the 2nd time, the magnificent flavor was just as I had remembered.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Thanks JoAnn. 

Loi Suites Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina 

Coffee at the Loi Suites was an early morning and early evening routine, everyday.  And it was always elegant, beautiful and delicious. The hotel is perfectly situated in the Recoleta area of Buenos Aires. This coffee tasty and always served tall and graceful with the layered look.  

Mon Ami Gabi, Paris Hotel, Las Vegas 

The largest cappuccino ever, pictured above. I had no idea it was going to be this size. It was more Las Vegas than anything else. Every time I go to Vegas I go to Mon Ami Gabi.  It's easy to close your eyes and imagine sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris. At Moni Ami you also get a front row seat to the Bellagio Fountain show across the street. The service is wonderful and the warm endless, baguettes are irresistible.  

Madam Ceci's Kitchen, Kissemah Village, Ghana 

One of the friendliest cups of coffee is served at Ceci's outdoor kitchen in the Kissemah Village compound, in Kissemah Village, in Ghana. When I stay in the compound I take my coffee, black, no sugar. What I love about Ceci's coffee, it represents and embodies so much more than a hot beverage. There is familiarity, safety, satisfaction, patience and friendship in every cup. Ceci is indeed a wonderful host. 

When I first came to Atlanta in 1996, I lived with my brother and his wife for 9 months. During that time I had a cappuccino at their house everyday. Carlos had a old world, Italian Riviera Eagle Espresso Machine, and everyday before work we all had one of his wonderful coffees.  When I moved to my own house I continued the daily consumption of "the dark brown drink" and got my own little machine. Nothing like his, but certainly capable of making a coffee beverage that can never be matched at Starbucks, a cappuccino with love.  Even Maddie and Morgan are part of the daily routine. They always get a tiny bit of milk foam in the morning. They position themselves in the same spot almost everyday and are always ready to enjoy their treat. Carlos thanks for all the coffees from long ago.  

A few more of my favorites. 

Somewhere in the north of Italy 

Cappuccino @ Roger and Maria Elena's in Panama 

Cappuccino @ Cafe Coca Cola in Panama 

 Cappuccino @ Ana & Parker's in Florida