Saturday, October 26, 2013

Best Espresso on Two Continents

This is not an advertisement. It is a testimonial. Among the wonderful things about the Netherlands is its coffee. Particularly in restaurants, the coffee actually has flavor. Sorry, Americans, but most of you wouldn’t know a decent cup of coffee if it slid down your throat. Yes, that’s harsh, but very, very true. Coffee in most American restaurants is brown water weaker than herbal tea. If I want a good cup of coffee here, I have to brew it myself or go to a Greek or Turkish restaurant. Even espresso, which is the strong coffee drinker’s best bet, is almost always lacking, and not just in Montana. The nice thing about Dutch coffee in restaurants or even in bars is that it comes to you strong, and is accompanied by some sort of cookie or biscuit or chocolate. You have to pay for a refill, but mostly you drink your single cup and move on to the next place expecting a similar experience. When they serve espresso they accompany the cup with a short glass of water to serve as a chaser in case you are overwhelmed by the strength. And yet – the espresso I had in Amsterdam, in den Haag, in Arnhem, and in Ootmarsum did not warrant the polite chaser. In fact, the standard by which I now judge espresso was set for me right here in Lakeside. Like I said, this is not an ad. Over the past few months we have gotten to know and come to really like a young couple trying to make a go of a small coffee shop slash cafĂ© right here, called cleverly Glacier Perks. The relationship is growing, and we really hope they can stumble through the winter. They should – they make wonderful baked goods and incredible sandwiches, and, literally now, the best espresso on two continents. Both Ashley and Miah are marvels with the espresso machine, bringing out consistently rich, strong and flavorful double shots daily. Nothing I tasted in Holland came close. Last year, an Italian visiting the area was so excited to find “a real cup of coffee” in America that he tweeted the information gleefully, for all to see. I consider this to be an issue of international importance. Man does not live by coffee alone, but no man or woman should have to live with weak and tasteless brown fluid in a cup. I don’t care where you are. But if you’re here, come on down. And if you are our guests – the door is always open – we’ll even treat!

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