In Paris, there are lovers on every cobblestone corner, regal weddings parading about locking their love on a chain link fence, and old married couples closing up the shop after a long day of work, interlocking fingers as they walk home.
Love is in the air and cupid strikes when you least expect it to.
Even on a train…
in a cafe…
or on the street.
Cupid can also strike in many different forms.
Of the edible kind.
On our third morning in Paris, my mom, sister, and I were lingering over a delicious breakfast before heading out to explore.
My sister was downright giddy over how delicious her coffee was. We were running on negative 3 hours of sleep (yes you can have negative sleep!) and she was oddly chipper that morning. Surely it couldn’t have been from that 3 mile run before breakfast because I still thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t going to be operating any heavy machinery anytime soon.
Kristi loved the coffee so much I thought we might just stay in the restaurant all day, watching her order pot after pot of delicious French coffee.
Quite frankly, it was amusing to watch.
With each cup, her eyes lit up a bit more, the conversation became a bit more vivid, and I almost started to forget that I was sleep deprived myself. And the smell of that coffee was downright intoxicating. Illegal in some countries perhaps.
She was jumping circles around me…
While I felt like I was hit by a truck.
‘Ange, you HAVE to try this coffee. It is the best coffee I have ever tasted.’
I was slightly intrigued, but also a bit uninterested at the same time.
I also had visions of nasty, bitter coffee that I tried a couple times in my life. I never tasted any coffee that made me think I was missing out on anything.
However, I knew it would make her day if I tried her beloved coffee.
‘Sure’, I said with a sly smile, ‘I will try it, but I’m warning you, I am not a Coffee Drinker…’
The coffee mug in front of me was full of piping hot coffee before I could even finish my sentence. She poured in some of my specially ordered soy milk and plunked a golden caramel cube of sugar into the mug, stirring it until just right. She had that look plastered all over her face like defeat was already hers.
I sniffed the air. It surely smelled delicious. Was it possible to get caffeine from the air? I chuckled to myself.
I took my first anxious sip, expecting my lips to quiver with repulsion, but instead I tasted creamy, comforting, and deeply rich coffee embracing each taste bud as it floated by.
There was a slight hint of caramel- a sweet note perhaps- that blended so well with the richness of the coffee I would have told you that someone sampled hundreds of coffee and sugar pairings to get it just right.
I mean, in France, this is someone’s job, right? Or better yet, an entire office building dedicated to workers sampling coffee and sugar pairings? I will pretend that it is just to humour myself.
As I sat there with my mom and sister, I took my first real sip of coffee. My insides tingled as the coffee traveled through my mouth and warmed my stomach like no other. It wasn’t coffee what I had tried years ago, it was an imposter, bitter sludge.
This, before me, was art.
I expected to look down at my coffee and see Van Gogh’s Starry Night swirling away or the Mona Lisa tipping her cup at me with a sly smile.
And this was the day I fell in love with coffee.
[See you for Part II: The French Press, on Tuesday.]