sunnuntai 7. elokuuta 2011

The coffee thing

Ordering a coffee is the most simple thing in Finland. Anyone foreign would probably be confused there because of the simplicity. The basics of a Finnish coffee order are as follows: "One coffee please." "Milk or sugar?" "Yes/No." And you have your coffee.

This is not the case ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.

I spent three months doing an internship in New York and it took me about the whole three months to get the hang of an American coffee order. There's no counting how many queues I managed to stall in different places around Manhattan and Brooklyn before I finally got it right.

There's no such thing as "just coffee". First you have to choose what kind of coffee you want. There's Americano, Latte (not to mention all the different syruped lattes like Caramel Latte), Macchiato, Moccachino to name a few. And that's not by far the end of it. Then you have to decide what size you want it. If you go to a Starbucks you'll get weird looks if you ask for a "small" latte. There's no such thing. Even though common sense tells you if you ask for something "tall", it will be big, but the Starbucks scale is - from smallest to biggest - tall, grande, venti, trenta. Similar scales are used in other coffee shops as well. And then you have to choose the milk, if you want some. Theres whole milk, skimmed milk, 1% and a few other kinds I can't even remember.

In China they have a thing called Mattcha Latte. First you have to figure out what the heck is mattcha and when you find out it's a Green Tea Latte (it's great by the way, try it if you find it!) you need to know if you want it hot or iced. That's also the thing with a foreign coffee order. Always remember to tell the salesperson if you want it hot or iced. From what I've gathered the only places where people don't regularly order iced coffee is in Scandinavia and Siberia.

Here in Australia I found another new coffee surprise. There's a thing called "Flat White". Arriving at Perth International Airport at 5:30 am I was desperately craving for coffee with milk and with eyes looking in different directions I ordered one of these flat things. And lo and behold it was a coffee with milk!

Traveling makes you learn new things all the time and I love it but never in my life did I imagine my travels would teach me so much about coffee. You have to be a barista these days to be able to make a coffee order. So far I've been doing okay but let's see how I do when I get back to the States. I might be a little rusty in my old coffee and bagel order: "One tall iced latte with skimmed milk no sugar and a lox bagel on whole wheat with low-fat cream cheese, onions, lettuce and tomato, toasted please."

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