Stop and smell the coffee.

Posted: October 25, 2016 in Travel, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Although I love the smell of coffee, I don’t like the taste unless it’s tarted up with chocolate (dark, for preference) in a mocha or comes as a cappuccino, a drink with a venerable history. I’m a tea drinker on a daily basis, with the occasional mocha/cappuccino thrown in for variety.

But when I’m in Europe and it’s after dinner, cappuccino is my tipple, while my s-i-l chooses un café. And while on an extended walk through a lovely town, when the need for a bathroom (toilet) strikes, unless you wish to use the public toilets, which may or may not be nice, you don’t just waltz into a McDo and use the facilities.  No, it’s into a bar and order something. Of course, simply sitting and having a coffee of whatever sort, is also the perfect excuse to sit outside and people-watch.

While in Plombières-les-Bains, the need for a bathroom break prior to the drive home was a priority, so we nipped into a small corner bar, eschewing the more attractive outdoor tables to avoid a smoker.  When my cappuccino arrived and the server had left, my s-i-l and I exchanged one of those glances where you widen your eyes while making a small, disbelieving face.  This topping, complete with sprinkles,  reminded me more of something I might get on top of a sundae at the county fair or Dairy Queen!!  To say I sipped cautiously was to understate, but the coffee wasn’t bitter and the whole thing worked wonderfully.  If it looks overly sweet, remember that whipped cream isn’t sweetened the way it is here and that cute, wrapped sugar cube was still there when we left.

© janet m. webb 2016

After we sneaked onto the grounds of  Chateau de Villersexel, escaped unscathed, and explored a bit, we were ready to sit and yes, take advantage of the ladies’ room.  This time my drink looked more normal, not so over-the-top or so much on the top and no swans or other decorations swirled on by a dedicated barista here! We enjoyed the view of the church across the narrow street while we sipped.

© janet m. webb 2016

Although my s-i-l and b-i-l used to start their day with innumerable shots of espresso, they’ve now converted to tea.  Although we still share a bottle of champagne or wine sometimes, they’re both in training for distance running and non-alcoholic beer is on the menu daily.  My b-i-l brings this back from Germany and the Germans know how to make beer, with or without alcohol. One brand tastes exactly like beer, while others have different but very refreshing flavors.  It’s difficult to beat sitting on the patio at the end of a long day with a glass and some snacks prior to a delicious dinner.  Santé !

© janet m. webb 2016


  1. Sue says:

    Those Capuccinos look way over the top! I’m a black coffee person myself, and had some great Café Solo in Spain on my recent visit!

    • If the cream on top were as sweet as cream in the US, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate it. But at least in the ones I had, it blended in smoothly, taking the edge off the coffee, just right for me. 🙂


  2. the cappu is the magic potion I would need now :o) …and we import our beer from germany too, the erdinger weissbier without alcohol is fab for a summer evening… I’m not a beer drinker, but the guys love it :o)

    • I liked the non-alcoholic beer that tasted like beer, although I’m normally a dark beer drinker, but the ones that had a bit of fruit flavor were so refreshing and tasty.


  3. I find if I want a milky coffee, I often order a café crème as a safer bet than a cappuccino. We have one local cafe which serves the best cappuccino for miles around, they do it just right! But elsewhere I have had the horrible sweetened cream version which is quite undrinkable and so I prefer to play it safe!

    • I’ll keep that in mind for my next visit, Susan. I got lucky on this trip. 🙂


    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Thanks for that tip, Susan. Ordering coffee has always been one of those really interesting experiences when travelling. I never know exactly what I’m going to get … although I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad coffee in either France or Italy 🙂

  4. This post quickened my pulse – great coffee and beer. It doesn’t get much better than that. 🙂 Europeans really know how to make good beer and coffee, and I take advantage of those skills every time I visit.

    • I rarely drink coffee at home (just those two versions once in awhile), but I do drink beer. However, here I go for dark beer, the smoother, the better and if it has undertones of chocolate a/o coffee? Mmmmmmm! My s-i-l ordered me a dark beer in Colmar, but it wasn’t dark at all, not even quite an amber ale. But it was good.


  5. Lena says:

    Weissbeer is one of my absolute favourite beers, it is really delicious, but that so called coffee you are drinking??? Janet, it is not coffee it is candy, he he he!!

  6. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’m not a beer drinker, but mmmmm – coffee. There is nothing finer in the morning 🙂
    I rarely drink more than 1 cup though … or I’ll be just a wee bit too hyper!

  7. Norm 2.0 says:

    Coffee has become a morning drink for me these days. If I have one any later than mid-afternoon I find I have trouble sleeping. Non-alcoholic beer or really, beer in general is not high on my list.
    Wine? Now we could talk wine ALL day long 🙂

  8. Dan Antion says:

    Oh my that looks good. I missed lunch today, and that is making me hungry too. That beer looks very good.

  9. That reminds me, time for another morning coffee. I drink coffee in the morning and herbal teas in the afternoon. Great post

  10. bythebriny says:

    Not a coffee fan (or a beer fan either) but those cappuccinos are works of art!

    • Last year, when visiting our daughter in California, I had a matcha latte at Urth Cafe and they did a swan design in the topping. The top wasn’t piled high like this, though.


  11. Su Leslie says:

    Wow! I have never seen cappuccino made with whipped cream before. In all my coffee books it’s made by adding really frothy milk to a shot of expresso. I just did a search (thank you google) and found that there was an Austrian drink called kapuziner which sounds like it’s morphed into your cappuccino. If / when you do come to NZ you may want to stick to tea or iced coffee. We make cappuccino the “trad” way.

  12. I agree, the coffee looks like a DQ sundae. Yummers!

  13. I adore both coffee and tea, and yet I never think to go for a cappuccino. I tend to drink my brews black, so this fanciful concoction definitely looks more like a special treat than an every day drink. Gotta love the sprinkles on top though… That DEFINITELY makes it special!

    • We thought it was special, too. 🙂 I drink my tea straight, whether black, oolong, green, white, mate, or non-teas such as tisanes or rooibos. I’m not a fan of chais, which many people drink with milk. Working in a tea shop part time makes my tea life so much fun. 🙂


  14. Emilio Pasquale says:

    I’m a coffee drinker myself. love the smell and the taste. But those cappuccinos are way to over the top for me. I drink my coffee black and love espresso with a slice of lemon peel. An affectation from my Italian side.

    • I agree that they’re over-the-top, certainly in looks. But they weren’t as over-the-top in taste as you might expect, although for a black coffee drinker, they’re probably too much. For mostly-tea-drinking me, they were just right.


      • Emilio Pasquale says:

        Well, I’ve been known to add some cream from time to time. But what’s really interesting is there is something called “bulletproof coffee” which I’ve tried and it tastes pretty good, actually. Coffee with butter. Yup! Very smooth and tasty. No real butter taste.

      • Ewwww, this does NOT sound good to me,Emilio, but I’ll take your word for it.