Wednesday, January 19, 2011

favourite things: 35-cent coffee

You'll have to use your imagination here because I don't have a camera, other than the built-in one in my computer. Cafés in France are quite different from ones in North America; coffee is served in real cups, there are usually no goodies to accompany the coffee, and people tend to sit down to enjoy their cuppa (if they're in a hurry, they stand at the bar and drink up fast). Although Starbucks has made it into Paris, and perhaps other large cities, it - and anything like it - has not entered my part of Province (anywhere outside of Paris). No large to-go cups anywhere to be seen! French people say it's something they see in movies and on tv, but you'd never see someone sipping a coffee while walking down the street. In most institutions and places of work, however, there are coffee machines that serve up espresso, café crème and cappuccino for quite cheap. At the schools where I work, the price is set at 35 cents and the coffee is even fair trade! The cups are small - maybe 2-3 tiny espresso cups large (a dixie cup size?) - and you can choose how much sugar, if any, you want. It's somewhat refreshing to be presented with reasonably-sized amounts of coffee, especially after being immersed in Starbucks culture where a tall (the smallest cup on the menu, even though they do offer a smaller short) means 1.5 cups of liquid and a grande is a full two cups. All for the low price of $3-5! It's amazing what we come to accept as normal with portion sizes. I'm happy to have access to my little 35-cent lattés at work. I just wish they would make it possible to use a real cup instead of a plastic one that is automatically dispensed.

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