Kim-AvatarWriterCoffee

Call me Writer 007 ~ I take my Coffee Shaken or Stirred with Words on the side


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

Paris, France

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

Image credits: Apostolos J. Doulias @ http://www.panoramio.com/photo/49551457

Image credits: Apostolos J. Doulias @ http://www.panoramio.com/photo/49551457

“Coffee. Creative lighter fluid.”
–Floyd Maxwell

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
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • 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 -

Espresso Macchiato

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. 

Cappuccino

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.”
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11 Comments

  1. Kim, this is just precious!
    My morning ritual is a cup of strong, black French press and my 30 minutes of writing- it’s how I begin every day. Couldn’t function without my brew.

    Other than my morning ritual, I do most of my writing in coffee shops, here in Coffee Mecca: Seattle (wave wave to Habisha!), though I will admit to an abhorrence of hometown hero Starbucks. Much affection for the company, can’t stand their coffee. Fortunately, we have many outstanding small batch roasters and brewers.

    I’m a purist- strong and black is the only way I’ll take it!

    I lived on the South Island for 2 years, first in Christchurch, then in a wee village south of Kaikoura. I went to culinary school, then worked at a restaurant in ChCh- learned to make flat whites, long blacks. I adore the café and coffee culture of NZ.

    And yes, Paris – to trace the steps of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast – is divine.

  2. I was fortunate enough to attend high school in Europe. In my final year, the advanced lit course spent a week in Paris following in the footsteps of The Lost Generation. We went to the cafes Hemingway mentioned, visited the bars, walked the same cobblestone streets. It was magical, and I am so grateful to you for reminding me of that experience.

    I am drinking my morning coffee as we speak. I take my black, with a spoonful of honey. Delicious!

    The best coffee I ever had was Turkish coffee at a restaurant in Mons, Belgium. Second best coffee was in Sydney, Australia. Third best is pretty much any cup I had after a night where I’d had too much “fun!”

    Sylvia Plath once wrote in her journal of “awaiting the coffee revelation,” and I think you and I both know what she meant and how she felt when she wrote that phrase. :)

    -aniko

  3. I desperately need to have a coffee now. And I might even see if I can sneak away from the family and hit up a cafe. It’s been far too long! Thanks, Kim. Great post :-)

  4. I grew up in Ethiopia, and like you, have this absolute passion for coffee. Mine needs to be Ethiopian with its taste of the highlands. Fortunately, my local coffee roaster here in the Pacific Northwest has TWO varieties of Ethiopian coffee for me to choose: Yergachaffe (pronounce the last e), and Sidamo. So I get my Ethiopian fix every day. I also live in the Land of Starbucks and Tully’s so there’s a coffee shop on every other corner. Makes it easy to get a fix.

    I like the recipes. I’ll give them a try.

  5. Great post! Can’t wait to try the recipes. I, too, love coffee in all its many forms. I haven’t travelled much so I can only live vicariously through others and believe you when you say that the Greek cafes are wonderful. :). The pics certainly seem to prove it.

    • HI Cheryl :)
      Be warned…these coffee recipes come with a strict warning…one sip and it is an easy fall down a slippery slope into caffeinated decadence..
      Yes Greek cafes are Wonderful..a must do if you ever get the chance.

  6. Great post. I have reblogged for you.

    I too love coffee in all its forms, however find myself stuck with either cheap brand instant coffee or the crappy stuff my office machine makes. However, even that is enough to fire up the creative juices.

    • Cool Coffee Beans :)

      Thanks for reblogging Alex – saw that.
      I splurged a few years ago and purchased a gorgeous Italian coffee machine. This miracle-machine now lives in my writing cave and a perfect espresso macchiato (or espresso con panne for those decadent days) is now never far from my lips.
      Glad you enjoyed the post! :)

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