Greeted by name, it makes you smile, but you also have a small doubt that maybe you do come in here too often, especially as you now see the maestro coffee maker at work already making your cup of choice, before you have even placed your order.
Micheal Buble croons along in the background, his velvety tones a subtle backdrop to the myriad of voices that are the real coffee shop soundtrack. Voices that speak in different languages, that cross different ages and from different walks of life yet are harmonized with the common lyrics of cappucino and expressos. This constant melody, an a capella version, punctuated with the baritone sounds of 'One ice blended frapuccino' and 'One tall asian dolce latte' are joined by the percussion of rattling crockery and the hissing of steamed milk.
As you wait to collect your cup of instant happiness, your eyes drift around this caffeine palace, to the many followers who pay homage to the Rich Dark Roast. Mostly, their heads are bent over small instruments of technology, fingers tapping at minuscule keys. Ear budded teenagers watch moving screens, their feet tapping to silent music, as they share a common non conversation. Smaller children are pacified with more moving images- this time of strange cartoon type characters, that beep tinny sounds, which mothers have an inherent skill of appearing not to hear.
Your cup arrives, the steam rising from the perfect latte. As you make your way into a quiet corner there is the anticipation of the milky taste as the hot cup touches your lower lip. Yet too hot. Sitting, you blow gently, ripples move across the surface like a still, cream frothy pond. You vacuum off the foam at the top, in one small sip. Smooth and silky it fills your mouth with warmth and the liquid glides effortlessly down your throat, tantalising and tingling.
In the background the music changes tempo, to a more up beat rhythm. Occasionally, chairs scrape as followers leave and others take their place. But you are not going anywhere for a while. The latte is cooler now and you take a mouthful of coffee goodness. Sinking back further into the soft brown chair, each mouthful releases the tightly wound up, invisible cords that appear to pull tight across your shoulders. Each sip eases them and as you sink further into the chair, it envelops you fully, until finally, you relax.
Just sharing a simple moment in January with Alexa.