Learn from Smart Women

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Let’s be honest – travel wears a girl out.  Overnight flights, train rides, crowding into hostels or strange hotel rooms, long days of working, exploring and walking; plus late nights making sure you don’t miss one single thing all add up to longing – craving – aching for a cup of coffee.

But no worries!  Coffee is abundant and decadent everywhere you go (even abroad).  You just need to know what you’re looking for, and how to order it.


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First, when you’re on the road, ditch your Starbucks habit.  Now don’t raise your fingernails at me in a cat hiss.  Few things make me happier in the morning than a venti dark roast with a shot of mocha and a splash of milk.  However, when in Rome, or Paris or Nashville or Atlanta, embrace the local culture!

If you’re in a new town, find the local coffee shop the one with the menu handwritten in chalk on a blackboard.  Ask the barista, ‘What’s your specialty?’ and observe the locals.  Are they all drinking iced coffees?  Maybe you should try one on this hot summer day.  Is there a house specialty, like the chocolate monkey at JoZoara in Nashville?  Then you’ve gotta try one!  It’s like a chocolate, banana, peanut butter milkshake with your daily dose of java all swirled into one.  Phenomenal!  At Kofenya, in Oxford, Ohio, the house drink is a Lumberjack Latte sweetened with maple syrup.  They might know something you don’t.  Why not give one a try?

If you’ve wandered further away from home, embrace the coffee in your new land.  Most of the world drinks coffee too, but usually everywhere else it’s strong!  Order café in France, Italy, or Spain, and you’ll get a shot of espresso in an itty bitty tiny white porcelain cup.  It’s strong, robust, and will wake up your taste buds...and then your brain.  If you’re used to a venti back home, you might want to order two, or drink one first thing, and another later in your journey.

Me?  I’m a ‘with milk’ kind of girl.  So in France I order a café au lait.  In Italy I get a cappuccino.  When in Spain, my daily order is a café con leche.

I also prefer a little sweetness.  Don’t look for Splenda, Equal, Stevia or Sweet N Low though – cause those chemicals are bad news, and hard to find in foreign lands, perhaps for good reason.  Use sugar: it’s natural and it’s sweet.


Girls on the go need their cup of joe.  Here’s how to enjoy your java all summer long no matter where you’re headed or where you end up.


Next, consider your budget.  In other countries, order your coffee to go a emporter (in French), porte via (in Italian), para llevar (in Spanish).  You’ll save a small fortune, and maybe even be able to afford coffee again tomorrow morning.  

If you absolutely can’t stand a plastic cup or need a minute to look at your map, reapply your lip gloss, or text a friend, then order your coffee at a counter, or while standing up at a café table.  Don’t be fooled by the charming waiter pulling out a chair for you.  He may think you’re cute, but he also knows that if he gets you to sit, you’ll pay two to four times as much to drink your coffee.  Who knew sitting was such a luxury?  And on the days when nothing sounds better than sitting at a table for an hour to people watch, read a book, or let your mind wander, splurge and sit.

We’re all a bit like coffee.  Some of us are dark or light, tall or short.  Some of us are strong or sweet or hotheaded or cool.  God created sassy versions and frothy versions, and simple and dependable versions of people.  But we’re all delicious.  Don’t forget that.  Let your true reflection shine wherever you go, and in whatever kind of coffee you drink.  Now that you know how to do it, go and open your eyes and taste buds to the rich, frothy sensation of a coffee, wherever you’re traveling this summer.  Sip.  Enjoy.  Repeat. 


Get a FREE copy of Laura L. Smith’s novel, It’s Complicated, when you sign up for her blog at www.laurasmithauthor.com.  It involves lots of coffee drinking--some of it in Paris!


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