A Proper Coffee || Espresso Epicenter

Beans DipticOur nighttime bus from Hampi arrived in Bangalore* at 6 the next morning. We stepped off the bus and didn’t get swarmed, a welcomed surprise that left us feeling pretty good despite our lack of sleep. We even had some pleasant conversations with rickshaw drivers who directed us to one of the few breakfast spots open at that hour. When we walked in, the place was empty save for a nice lady working at a small counter near the door. We weren’t sure how this restaurant functioned. There were no chairs anywhere. Only tall stainless steel tables furnished the large cafeteria. It took us a little while to figure out how to get food, but thankfully the nice lady helped us through the process. We placed our order with her at the small counter and paid. Then we brought our receipts across the cafeteria to the counter that separated us from the kitchen. There were two men at different stations on the kitchen side of the counter. One was the chai guy, and the other was the food guy. There was no way for us to know this, but we eventually got the right receipts to the right guys and they prepared our order. We were clearly the first customers of the day. We had chai and idli, a typical south Indian dish consisting of steamed rice and lentil cakes served with sambar, a vegetable stew, and coconut chutney. Characteristically in restaurants like this one, patrons come in for a quick bite and eat while standing at a table. Unlike the locals, we loitered for over an hour while we waited for the city to wake up. We’ve since become accustomed to this receipts-and-guys system and are now much better at it.100 Rs NoteOur stop in Bangalore was going to be short, as we had already booked our onward train tickets for that afternoon. We knew two things about Bangalore: we didn’t have much time there, and Bangalore has good coffee. With this information we decided we’d spend our long morning in Bangalore drinking coffee and recovering from the bus ride. Throughout his travels with us, Gonzaga joined David tirelessly in the quest for a “proper” coffee. We determined that there were two promising coffee shops in town and made our way toward them. One was a chain coffee shop called Café Coffee Day (affectionately known as CCD), which we’ve frequented before in other cities. It’s definitely not the best coffee one could hope for, but it is a truly great option when you’re tired of the Nescafe that otherwise abounds in India. (For the record, Gonzaga always held out for a quality coffee – sometimes incredulous that it could be so difficult to find – while David always settled for Nescafe in lean times.) The other place that gave us hope was a new coffee shop in Bangalore called Mateo, which gave us the impression that it was a very hip place to drink espresso. We made our way to CCD to order our first round while we waited for Mateo to open just down the street. Upon arriving to CCD we found that we were in the espresso epicenter of India. Across from Mateo was a Starbucks. And next door to Starbucks was a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. Needless to say, we spent our morning bouncing between coffee shops and eating doughnuts. It was unanimously agreed upon that Starbucks provided the most enjoyable coffee experience that day. Krispy Kreme won the prize for best doughnuts. CCD received an honorable mention for opening before 9 AM and providing 30 minutes of complimentary wi-fi.IMG_1334After getting sufficiently caffeinated we made our way to the train station. Our train was an hour late which allowed an opportunity for David to befriend a nice Ayurvedic doctor on the platform. They discussed the ancient nature of Ayurveda and the body’s intrinsic ability to heal itself. The doctor described his work as helping to bring a patient’s body back into balance, rather than seeing a person’s symptoms as though they were the illness. He also explained how sometimes the most valuable treatment he can offer his patients is simply to listen to them, and that Western medicine has never applied this technique. After they parted ways, David noted that for someone who extolled the importance of listening, that doctor sure knew how to talk.50 Rs NoteWe didn’t find the coffee that Bangalore is supposedly known for, but we are never disappointed to have an excuse to loiter in coffee shops. (On our subsequent visit to Bangalore, we learned that the coffee for which Bangalore is known is most often exported, and not readily available within the city.) We caught our train to Mysore and watched the world roll past our window.500 Rs*Bangalore has recently been re-named-again Bengaluru. The city’s name was originally Bengaluru before it took on the anglicized version “Bangalore.” Nine out of ten people agree, “Bengaluru” is more fun to say.

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5 thoughts on “A Proper Coffee || Espresso Epicenter

  1. Nescafe, of how you remind me of travels through Central America. I remember the first time we met. You in plastic and ready for hot water, me confused as to why someone would purchase decaf Nescafe. Then my gentle host gracefully dumped a few scoops of you into a mug, poured some scolding hot water over your instant grounds (someone screamed, was that you or me?), and then you were swirled into a brown water tornado. When the powdered creamer got busted out, I knew it was time for me to hightail it out of there. Thankfully I found a Starbucks and grateful to have found it as far as way as possible from the instant unbliss of you, Nescafe. Much like when on a rode trip, this was the only time I was happy to see a Starbucks. When you come back to Portland, I know just the place to take you for a blissful coffee experience 😉

    • Sprouts, this letter to Nescafe is a wonderfully honest ode to the strange creature that is instant coffee. I so appreciate this! I speak for both David and I when I say that I am so excited to join you for a proper coffee in Portland. Looking forward to catching up with you over a cup of not instant not decaf blissful coffee. Yes! -Austin

  2. Hey you People! This was good Reading With my morning coffee !! How long will you stay on the road ? What are Your NeXT plans ? We all say hello !
    Gunnar & gang

    • Gunnar,
      We hope your coffee was not too hard to locate. I can’t imagine a much nicer place to have morning coffee than Moss or the cabin. We are not sure how much longer, but our next stop is the Indian state of Bihar and then Thailand.
      Thank you for saying hello!!!!

  3. Pingback: Bengaluru Redeux | Fodenvensel Studios

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