Mention moving to London to many in Australia and they will immediately voice their sole concern — ‘but how will you get a decent cup of coffee?’. Why this is their first concern, I’m not sure. Maybe I give off an air of a true addict, like I’ll be standing shortly after my arrival in the middle of screaming for caffeine, shirt pushed up to the elbow, yelling ‘just hook it to my vein…’
Acknowledging a decent addiction, I did in turn hold similar concerns, only heightened on arrival by 24 hours curled in ball in a space smaller than a cinema seat pre the Gold Class revolution in a flying metal tube (what happened to steamboats, anyone?). The prospect of staying awake for the equivalent of an Australian all night bender, except without the assistance of alcohol or loud music, was too much.
After dumping my bags at my reluctant host’s place (the benefit of blood relatives — they can’t say no) I went to the nearest high street determined to prove the naysayers wrong. The first shop I came across (after walking past the Costa and Starbucks on diagonally opposite corners) was a cute Italian trattoria, baked goods in the front window, a beautiful old coffee machine, and happy (!) people wandering out clutching proper takeaway coffee cups, ready to take on the day in caffeinated good humor. Success! Stick that in your coffee cup and drink it you Antipodean misanthropes.
I will imbibe decent brew. I will live a London life that involves good coffee, dancing down the street with my organic recycled take away cup in hand on a wave of black gold inspired euphoria.
Or I will….. gag on burnt coffee grounds.
The icing on the cake? The cute, independent, locally owned and run by old Italian nonnas wearing floral skirts and kneading their own bread out the back, was in fact, as my host gleefully informed me, part of a chain store.
Lesson 1 learned. The search for a decent cup may take a while. I will keep you posted. Or feel free to point me in the right direction…