An image came up on my Facebook feed this week and sparked the idea for this blog post…
Coffee and Writers go together like Petroleum and Grand Prix.
Coffee and I began our love affair
lustful addiction in a town on the southern coast of Greece, 50kms from Athens. I was 21 and on my first overseas trip to visit my BFF in Greece. I left South Africa innocent of the vice that was soon to have me addicted, enthralled and enticed. In Greece my two drink options were Coffee or Ouzo. With that first sip of dark viscous liquid (I am speaking about the small cups of Greek coffee not Ouzo. ;) Ouzo is a post for another day. ) that looked like a cross between mud and volcanic ooze I was hypnotized and Coffee became my favourite vice. From there it was a short fall to sipping the sweet, strong, rich goodness of a Greek Frappé. (I am not talking about the Westernised Frappucino that tastes more like a milkshake than any cousin of the original Frappé.) The lustful addiction had entrapped me and I was lost to the rich, decadent embrace of caffeine.
Writers drink coffee. Writers love coffee-shops or cafes. There is an ambience to writing in a coffee shop that is akin to a GP racing car driver at a race track. Just like the aromas of petroleum and exhaust fuel excite a professional GP driver so do the aromas of caffeine and the inexhaustible supply of dialogue inspiration and quirky characters at a coffee shop excite the writer. This is especially true for the writer who writes full time. Writing is a lonely job at the best of times but when you are tucked away in your writing cave – just you and the voices of your characters – it can be very lonely. This is when a visit to the coffee shop offers fresh inspiration. You order your favourite order of coffee, tuck yourself in at a corner table, open up the laptop/macbook/pen&paper and start writing. I like to choose a corner table with a view of the baristas & coffee machines and a view of the comings and goings of the coffee shop patrons. At this spot, I can keep an eye on what is happening around me but also make sure that nobody sneaks up behind me: very important since my pages/screen tend to be filled with ghostly hauntings, chilling killers stalking my main characters and dark places.
Luckily great coffee is never difficult for me to find since I live on the northern coast of Auckland-New Zealand, rated by Conde Nast traveller as one of the 9 BEST places in the WORLD to have a Coffee.
Every time I drink a cup of coffee I am transported to the places I have enjoyed great coffee…from the coast of Greece to the souks of Dubai to the alleys of Melbourne to the many cafes of Auckland…coffee is a passport not only to creativity but to the memory of the places I have been.
There are still a few places I want to travel to enjoy coffee in…Rome, Vienna, Barcelona, New York but the top of this list would have to be…
My Coffee-Passport Bucket List
I would love to walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre in Paris, another of the 9 best coffee places in the world. Every writer should travel to Paris and soak up the literary ambience. I shall save that for the Bucket List.
In the meantime, excuse me while I brew myself an Espresso Macchiato and open up the next page in my WIP. Mmm I can smell the rich smell of that decadent nectar now and it is sparking some fresh words in the WIP.
Do you have a love affair with coffee? What are your favourite coffee orders?
Do you write in coffee shops?
Where in the world is your favourite place to enjoy coffee? What place is on your coffee-passport bucket list?
Below are some of my favourite coffee-writer quotes and some of my favourite coffee orders.
Oropos, Greece – where Coffee & I first met
“Coffee. Creative lighter fluid.”
My favourite ways to drink the decadent dark nectar
Greek Frappé in Santorini, Greece
Make your own Greek Frappé
This recipe makes enough for one serving.
- 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee (Nescafe Original red label is the most popular brand)
- (Greek Nescafe is super strong so for all other Nescafe use 3-4 tsp coffee)
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- Ice cubes
In a shaker or blender mix together 5 Tbs water, coffee and sugar to taste.
Shake contents for about 30 seconds or blend for about 10 seconds. The result should be simply foam.
Pour into tall glass and add the ice cubes. Add remaining water and milk to taste. Put in a straw. Milk and sugar are according to taste. It is not obligatory to add them.
- Recipe courtesy of http://www.ineedcoffee.com -
1 shot of espresso top with foamed milk
“Coffee falls into the stomach … ideas begin to move, things remembered arrive at full gallop … the shafts of wit start up like sharp-shooters, similies arise, the paper is covered with ink …” -Honoré de Balzac
Espresso Con Panna
A double shot of espresso top with whipped cream
“The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce” - Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
A double shot espresso + 2.5oz frothed milk + 2.5oz steamed milk
“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons” -T. S. Elliot
Ernest Hemingway wrote, “It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old water-proof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write.”
- Wow! Who Knew All The Things You Could Do With Coffee (theafterburnsg.wordpress.com)
- The Best places in the World to drink Coffee (cntraveller.com)
- Coffee Culture : Favorite cafes around the World (mymedinabookclub.wordpress.com)
- Coffee Shop Confessions (uloop.com)
- Writers Among the Highest Coffee Drinkers (with Infograph) (keikihendrix.com)
- Writers and Coffee: the Buzz behind the Brew (phantomimic.weebly.com)
- Coffee, the literary elixir (floridawriters.wordpress.com)
- Coffee and Writers (amielouellen.com)
- Balzac, coffee and writing productivity (davidraschphd.wordpress.com)
- Writers: The Coffee Achievers (joefinder.blogspot.com)
- Why you should keep making your morning coffee (or whatever else you do every day) if you want to be creatively successful (sustainablycreative.com)
- Good News! Coffee Shops really do inspire creativity. Here’s why (thestar.com)
- Study of the day: Why crowded coffee shops fire up your creativity (theatlantic.com)