Between Dusk and Dawn…

Some *scribble* *scribble* by Ameera

Now Open: Cafe Winter!

In my hand, one of the many cups of coffee from last winter. Picture courtesy: Me =)

Nothing defines winter for me like coffee does. A mug of caffeine heaven is a perfect blend of milk and coffee grains whipped up with sugar and a few drops of hot water. To take it a notch higher, a few grains of coffee, just slightly crushed between the finger tips, sprinkled on top… perfect. Alhumdulillah! 🙂

Giving the mug a slight twirl makes the sprinkled coffee grains swim about in the froth, leaving a chocolate-brown trail that engages the sense of sight as much as the sense of smell. Coffee… how does this hot beverage manage to drive me nuts every winter? Why does the thought of whipping up a quick cup not sound like a chore at all? Why does tea suddenly get bumped from the priority list?

Where I come from, expressing such love and admiration for a ‘foreign’ beverage could make me seem like someone who’s either not a local, has lived abroad for years or at least wishes to give others that impression! Being an elite, a snob. Cafes and restaurants in the upscale side of town offer most types of coffee that are well-known in first-world countries. These have foreign names and cost anywhere from six to eight times the price of regular cup of tea or at the less-expensive, more desi restaurants.

At such places, you’ll find groups of teenagers or college-going youth busy chattering away about the latest fad, fashion or news affairs over coffee and desserts. Also, office-goers and businessmen, women having informal meets or simply enjoying a pleasant evening with good company. We’re a third-world, developing country but visiting every weekend or more frequently for a hot cup with a freshly-baked croissant or a slice of cheesecake is something that’s a very normal part of these people’s lives. No wonder then, with the kind of clients these cafes usually cater to, that to profess such love for coffee singles you out as one of them… which could be taken as meaning anything from being a ‘snobby elite’ to a ‘wasteful over-spender’ or even a ‘wannabe’!

Image courtesy: Boston.com

I’m neither of those! I didn’t even know coffee well until two years ago when I happened, one winter, to have more of it than usual. That set the mood for winters and, ever since, I’ve eagerly waited for the weather to turn frosty just to be able to have a warm mug of heaven between my two palms. The idea of going out to have coffee in a comfortable, trendy cafe is quite enticing, yes… where, amidst the aromas of warm cookies and cakes, the waiter places a cup of capuccino before me, leaving me enjoy it at leisure! Of course, who wouldn’t like pampering themselves occasionally like that? But not too often (for my wallet’s sake!) or for any other silly purpose like showing off or being in the popular crowd! That would be an insult to coffee, wouldn’t it?

I love having coffee at home, whipping it up, trying to get as much froth as I can. The thicker the froth after a quarter of an hour spent whipping, the bigger my smile! And of course, very rarely, with a doughnut on the side… there’s nothing left to desire. Forget the need to have a meal, this is more than enough to satisfy hunger and appease all my senses. Turn on the TV to an interesting program or, as is usually the case, if I don’t find anything worth watching, an entertaining animated movie or the day’s newspaper (if there’s anything leftover to read after the breakfast session) will do. Some days, I’ll whip up an extra cup or two for my sisters and we’ll have that rare cordial and girly (and sappy!) chat in the lounge, with the sounds of happy sips alongside all the funny stories being shared.

Sounds too idealistic? Let’s burst the bubble here to come back to reality. My mother does not understand my love for coffee and will try to prevent me from having it too often. I assure her it’s just for the winters and I’m not having lots of tea alongside (my mother and her family loves tea!) so that brought the opposition down to the level where my coffee-ing is ‘tolerated’. On the rare occasion, she’ll even accept a specially made half-cup of coffee (not too much caffeine, she says), particularly when my father requests a cup (he enjoys it occasionally too).

Today, however, I took one sip of my coffee and loved it so immensely that I thrust the mug at my mother, insisting she try it. She took a look at the beautiful foam, seemed to admire it for a second… and took a sip. I knew she loved it because she went for another sip without a word!

‘Mmmm…’ was the response, while I grinned in satisfaction.

‘You can have it all!’ I insisted, glad to see the ‘conversion’, hehe. She did but several sips later, it was handed back to me.

‘Too much caffeine for me, I’ll have trouble sleeping.’

Oh well, she loved it anyway! 🙂 And I’m thinking, the next time I want to make muffins or doughnuts and I’m concerned she’ll be angry (too many calories, must not gain weight), I’ll dress up a special plate for her with a small cup of coffee alongside... perfect to make anyone’s day and sure to make a mother happy too, Insha’Allah.

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10 responses to “Now Open: Cafe Winter!

  1. Anas Imtiaz December 2, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Coffee – when done well – is the best thing ever!

    Colder the weather, more you enjoy coffee. Its all good as long as it doesn’t become a habit…coming from someone who cannot function without a cup of strong coffee in the morning or a good 30 minute run..usually its the coffee 🙂

    Nice post!

    • Ameera December 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      JazaakAllah khayr Anas! 🙂 Yeah, it’s hard to imagine any hot beverage competing with a perfect little cup of coffee! As for it becoming a habit, well, why not? One cup in the morning every day, during winters, should be good. Oh, but what I do feel is that it shouldn’t be *used* for something like wanting to stay up all night, unless very rarely… that takes away some of the charm of coffee, for me at least. 🙂

  2. Aly B - DiscoMaulvi December 2, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Good one…. the imagery used is great and brought into my mind my days as a caffeine addict… Alhamdulillah those days of not being able to function without a tub full of coffee are gone but I still love an occasional coffee (like the great Cafe Mocha I had a Espresso this morning with my breakfast!) especially if it’s cold!

    • Ameera December 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      A tub full of coffee? I cannot imagine what that is like!

      Oh, and you throw in Espresso, too! 🙂 That’s the place I’ve linked to in this post too – a review by my friend (I see her as an elder sister really) Sadaf baji, who’s also commented here. I think I’ll have to go try that Mocha now. I very rarely venture out for coffee and Mocha is something I haven’t tried yet, despite being a terrible chocolate addict.

  3. sadaffarooqi December 2, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Ah, coffee. Haven’t had it yet this winter, because usually I get to go out in the evenings – a time when I avoid coffee, as it makes me lose my sleep.
    Thanks for conjuring up images of a lovely, frothy cup of cappuccino with a cookie/muffin/cheesecake in my mind again! I can see myself going out soon to have one, insha’Allah. December is here!
    Oh, and I agree with what you said about the kind of crowd that is usually found at the expensive cafes. I think people like you and I (*hint*) should also be seen there sometimes – occasionally – in order to enable the staff at these joints to get used to, and expect, customers like us as well.

    • Ameera December 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      Hehe, I’m glad if I can inspire you to go out an try a new place for coffee. And the reviews later are extremely helpful. 🙂

      What’s surprising is you’re unable to sleep after coffee! I’d thought being a regular coffee-lover, it would have ceased to affect your sleep by now. I can easily sleep after having a cup of coffee… but that’s actually when I’m studying. 🙂 Long, boring chapters have great sedating powers!

      And yes, *our* kind should be seen… judging from the Ole experience, it can leave a good impression on the staff… although the Chatterbox time was just idiotic! Hijabophobia? Or maybe because we didn’t have dinner there! 😛

      Jazaakillah khayr for commenting Sadaf baji! I’m looking forward to hearing about the newest cafes on your blog soon. 🙂

  4. Sara December 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Assalaam Alaikum Ameera,

    Lovely post! Though I’m not a coffee addict or even lover (I prefer a nice warm mug of hot chocolate during the winter months ♥), the vivid imagery and eloquence with which your wrote your post could cause almost anyone to desire a cup.

    • Ameera December 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm

      Walaikumussalam Sara!

      Jazaakillah khayr for the kind and generous words. 🙂 I’ll put it down to the after-effects of coffee. I wrote this post a short while after enjoying a cup and suddenly felt like writing about it. Come to think of it… much of the Harry Potter series was initially written in a coffee-shop. Coincidence or is there some substance to it? 🙂

      Oh and hot chocolate deserves a post of it’s own… although, I don’t think I can really talk about it unless I’ve tried the *real* authentic kind which really *is* thick chocolate. Hot, chocolate-flavored milk is great too but I hear the real thing is something else entirely! *dream*

  5. Sara December 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    You’re most welcome Ameera, but you deserve them. I think you write beautifully, Masha’Allah. I enjoy reading your thoughts! As for coffee/coffee shops inspiring one’s imagination, it seems to be true, lol. No wonder writers frequent them.

    Oh you must try authentic hot chocolate! It’s beyond delicious. In my opinion a hot cup of chocolate milk can in no way compare to the foamy sweet goodness known as hot chocolate. When you do try it let me know what you think. =)

  6. Uncarved December 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Cute post! 🙂

    I couldn’t stand coffee and its scent untill a year back. And then I discovered latte – lol! More milky more chocolaty – that’s my cup’a tea .. err coffee! 😀

    I usually like it from the cafes though, cause I just can’t whip it at home like that :S

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