Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Coffee, Coffee, Everywhere--and Lots of Drops to Drink

In December of 2011, for the first time ever I accompanied my husband on one of his overseas trips.  He was the captain of the airplane, and I sat up in business class (it's the only way to go, baby!) and flew across the Atlantic for the first time in my life.  My husband had been an airline pilot for 24 years by that point, and he'd been flying internationally for 15; yet I'd never seen Europe and didn't think I was really missing anything.  I had kids at home to take care of, and the thought of leaving them to fly off to exotic destinations terrified me. (Flying in general terrifies me, you understand.)  But when our baby left for college last fall and I found myself presiding over an empty nest, suddenly the idea of tagging along when my husband went to work sounded like a pretty cool idea.

And was it ever!  Since my maiden voyage was a four-day trip for my husband, we had two whole days to sight-see in Nice and nearby Monaco.  I wrote about this too-good-to-be-true trip extensively, and if you want to know more about it you can go back in the "Travel" archives and check those posts out.  The main reason I brought up that magical trip to the Cote d'Azur is that while we were in Monaco (and I realize that sounds very snooty, saying "While we were in Monaco") sitting at an outdoor table at the Cafe de Paris, right across from the Hotel de Paris and near the famous Monte Carlo Casino, I had the most glorious cup of coffee--that is, cafe au lait--that I'd ever had in my life.  Before tasting French coffee, I was sure that I was a dyed-in-the-wool Dunkin' Donuts/Maxwell House Lite person.  I was tres, tres naive, mes amis.  I am most definitely a cafe au lait fan.  Here in the States, I hate the way my coffee tastes with milk in it and always insist on half and half; I don't know why the milk they put in coffee over in France is so delicious, but just trust me, it is.
Here's how they serve it at the Cafe de Paris in Monaco.
Well, this morning I'm here at my home in New England, making myself a pot of coffee.  I'm not a world traveler today, so I can't expect anything as exotic as real French cafe au lait right?

WRONG!  The coffees of the world have come to my very door--thanks to my middle son, who got me a membership in the "Coffee of the Month" Club from Amazing Clubs as a Mother's Day/birthday gift--and today, I'm having a heavenly-tasting brew called "La Pastora" Costa Rica Tarrazu.  As the Amazing Clubs brochure touts, Costa Rica has some of the best coffees in Central America.  This particular variety is SHB (strictly hard bean) and EP (European preparation), and it is regarded by many coffee aficionados as one of the best coffees in the world.

Maybe it's the fact that it's EP, and I've already determined that I like coffee prepared in Europe--but I must agree: this Costa Rican coffee is fantastic.  And served in my exquisite Russian "Catherine the Great" china (which my husband brought home from a trip to Moscow many years ago), I think this cup of coffee would be able to hold its own at any cafe in the world.
Here's how we serve it at the Cafe de Pearl in the good old U S of A.
The other coffee that came with the latest shipment from Amazing Clubs is called Ethiopian Harrar.  If the five coffees I've already sampled from my "gift that keeps on giving" are any indication, I'm sure it's going to be a winner.

Drink up, coffee achievers!  (And if you're getting tired of your pedestrian brews, check out the offerings from Amazing Clubs!)


  1. That looks delicious! Our french press broke yesterday so right now I'm trying to figure out how to make coffee without it...hmm...

  2. That looks delicious. I've been too scared to use our Russian china!!

  3. Kate, I don't have a French press...but it sounds like something I should get! :)

    And Renee, I don't use my Russian china very often, but I decided I'm going to break it out every now and then for my morning coffee, even when we're not having company. It's so pretty, it gives me a lift. (And those cups are nice and big, which is a plus.)