The tiny cup sits in front of me aloofly with its still cap of perfect carmel crema. Pour the sugar in one place, don't sprinkle it around, they told me. Stir it in a focused circle, not a back-and-forth swish. I should drink it in a fast gulp, but I can't. I sip, savoring its brightness. Back home, bright would mean sour or weak or brewed too fast. But here, somehow, the flavor is strong and deep and still bright like a summer day. It's round and light and rich and smooth and pleased with itself, so I am pleased too. One last swirl gets the crema off the side of the cup, and I finish it, wistful about its small size. I want more, but espresso is a lesson in moderation and loving the smallest of moments. So the cup clinks on the saucer, and I smile at the coming day and the best euro ever spent.
I'm a writer and editor in Seattle. I started this blog in 2008 to chronicle my travels in Latin America, and continued writing through jaunts in Europe and Asia.
Now I'm back where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and can't stop hiking to fire lookouts in the Cascade Mountains. My guidebook, Hiking Washington's Fire Lookouts, will be published by Mountaineers Books in May 2018.