Soy latte, extra hot, no foam. That is my morning drink of choice. Depending on what I did the night before and what I have planned for the rest of the day, I take it with either a double shot or triple shot of espresso.
A triple shot soy latte now sets me back more than $6 at most coffee houses. Wow. It just goes to show, coffee/espresso drinks have now become the preferred day-time drug of choice, and the demand is continuously driving up the prices.
Here are some other observations I made while traveling:
1. It’s true, the Italians and French really do love their espresso. However, they don’t bastardize their potent shots with hot milk foam like we, americans, do with our cocktail list of lattes, mochas, caramel macchiatos and frapps. When traveling, “do as the Romans do,” and please don’t ask for your skinny frapp mochachino and pout if they can’t accommodate you. Don’t embarrass yourself and all your countryfolk.
2. You can get yourself a freaking great glass of wine for $6 in a restaurant in France. You can buy a whole bottle of greatness for $6 at a local marché. I’m not talking Two Buck Chuck quality wine. I’m talking GREAT Côte du Rhône variety that would cost me four or five times that price tag here in the states. To be honest, I’ve drank enough wine in France to single-handedly keep a few vineyards alive, but I have never experienced a bad one. Nor has it ever hurt my wallet.
3. In France, you can buy a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers for $6 at the local market. I’ve seen bunches sold for less that 2 Euros. Buy three and you have a centerpiece. For approximately $6. Amazing!
4. Aside from Tokyo, it was extremely difficult to find coffee shops in Japan that actually sold coffee! The Japanese are still big on tea, so coffee still remains the dark horse. And why shouldn’t tea take center stage in Japan? Their tea is freaking delicious! Have you ever tasted fresh genmai matcha? I’m not talking about Celestial Seasoning. Or attended a traditional tea ceremony? Out of this world! And the Japanese live to be like 120 years old. They are one healthy group of human beings. Therefore, when I go to Japan, I do as the Japanese do and drink tea.
5. Koreans worship coffee. There are more coffee shops in Seoul than all the other aforementioned countries combined. I kid, but it certainly seemed like it. Everywhere I turned, there was a coffee shop or at least two on every block to cover each side of the street. Koreans pack coffee shops morning, day and night. Outside of France and the U.S., I’ve never witnessed a bigger group of addicts. And you think $6 is a lot to pay for a grande triple latte? Ha! For $6, you might get a single shot of espresso or maybe drip coffee in a thimble-sized cup. Prepare to shell out about $10 for a proper sized espresso drink. You want ambience? Prepare to pay about $15.