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Around the World in Coffees: The 2013 Edition
About one year ago, I collected all my coffee photos from my previous years of travel and combined them in a photo essay called “Around the World in 80 Coffees“. This post didn’t cover the whole world, nor 80 coffees, but it presented a view of the world through the eyes someone who loves coffee and travel equally.
From fantastic Portuguese galois on the beach to spectacularly good espressos in hip London coffee shops like Prufrock, 2012 was a great year in “caffeine travel” for me. So I ended my 2012 coffee post with the resolution to travel more and to drink even more coffee abroad in 2013.
Today, I’m not too sure I managed to live up to my travel and coffee expectations in 2013. Still, if there’s one thing I can say for sure: I drank A LOT of coffee in 2013. I spent the first four months of the year tied to my desk, writing my Master’s thesis, drinking up to 12 cups of (black, extra strong) coffee a day. I know, I know, it’s unhealthy and I’m an addict.
When I finally handed in my thesis in early April however, I started to cut back my exaggerated coffee consume — and somehow, I sometimes even forgot drinking coffee while traveling.
Looking back at the (shockingly) few coffee photos I collected in 2013, I’m a little surprised with how this year turned out. In the beginning of the year, I had no fixed travel plans at all, but although I faced tough professional and personal changes as well as a chronically empty bank account, I managed to drink coffee in several different countries and regions this year:
My wonderful weekend-trip to Strasbourg back in April to meet up with my friend Ashley was the first real trip after I got rid of my thesis — and I don’t know if it was finally experiencing delightful spring weather, the joy of traveling again, or if I was just over coffee at that time, but I traded coffee for beer and hot chocolate in Strasbourg. But on our daytrip to gorgeous medieval Colmar, we found a cute café right next to a little flea market and we just had to stop there for some café au lait. Because people-watching is just the best coffee side dish — especially abroad.
This incredibly spontaneous road trip in May (with a left-behind dSLR, and a close to empty tank on the Autobahn) resulted in the realization that I’m simply too poor to afford coffee in Switzerland. But thanks to the fabulous AirBnB hosts who owned one of those super-fancy espresso machines, I was still able to drink delicious coffee in Basel — on a majestic rooftop terrace with a view over the whole city!
Obviously, I drank a lot of coffee during my stay in Rotterdam in May, because travel blogging conferences are definitely not made for sleeping. Forgive me though, after dancing the nights away in Rotterdam’s clubs, photographing my daily fuel was not my biggest concern on the mornings after. I did take a picture of my cappuccino with the backdrop of the Rotterdam harbor (on the only sunny day!) however, and I’m really happy with how that turned out.
Utrecht is made for drinking coffee: Old cafés with diverse history and restaurants along the famous grachten create the perfect environment for my favorite hot drink. Utrecht might not be famous as a coffee destination, but maybe it should be (especially if you’re into cake and coffee!)
Speaking of perfect coffee locations: It doesn’t get better than Paris! And even though the coffee itself might not be the very best in Paris, its cafés, views and surroundings make it all worth it. Plus, there still is my favorite discovery during my June visit to Paris: Australian coffee shops! I loved the hipster vibes and the artisan coffees there, and I cannot wait to go back to Paris to try more Australian coffee places.
You know, Belgium is famous for beer. And rightfully so. Why would I even start talking about coffee in Belgium? Can’t you see how the beer is sneaking up on my cappuccino in my photo from my July birthday getaway to Bruges?
From what I hear, Berlin has brilliant coffee. It makes sense: Berlin is Europe’s hipster capital, it’s buzzing with creative energy, and has an incredibly high rate of expats from all over the world. The coffee has to be amazing there. But I didn’t manage to properly try it, because it was so hot during my weekend in the city that the thought of a steaming hot beverage during a July heat wave made me nauseous. However: Iced lattes for the win!
After “traveling up” all my financial backups throughout the year, I had to work an office job for the summer. It meant taking the bus back into the little student town Gießen in the state of Hesse, where I lived during my undergrad, every day. Although it felt weird to go back to all my old coffee places there, meeting friends I hadn’t seen in years for coffee might have been my favorite thing in August of 2013.
I always love coming back to Frankfurt, and sipping coffee at a family-run coffee house chain that has existed in Frankfurt for almost century makes my visits even sweeter. Combined with showing a good friend around town in the perfectly warm September sun this made one of my most precious coffee and travel memories of 2013 — even though I only traveled in my extended backyard.
Similarly to my time in Rotterdam, I had to drink a lot of coffee in Ireland where nights were long and the days expected proper functioning of all my brain cells. When the blogging conference in Dublin was over though, I luckily found time to indulge in less strong afternoon coffee and sweet treats — my Ireland experience sure wouldn’t have been complete with some pretty lattes accompanied by scones and cream.
My big professional opportunity as a medieval studies specialist didn’t lead me to a far-off place — only to a new city and a new state in Germany, where I moved mid-November. Nonetheless, I sometimes feel like I’m traveling, because I’m experiencing so many new things every day, because I get lost, because I’m testing restaurants and coffee shops in search of a new favorite. I’ve had some great coffees so far in Göttingen, and I can’t wait to learn what other coffees are out there waiting for me.
What was the best coffee you had in 2013?
And what are your favorite coffee destinations around the world?