Take your coffee standing or seated but never on the run here in Spain. Might I also add shame on you if you detour to Starbucks when surrounded by a sea of prime coffee beans. I went once in the early days and you know what? It sucked. It was also WAY more expensive than the average cup of cafe con leche.
As most Americans do, when I first arrived and went cruising through the city center I thought “oh I’ll just grab a coffee and walk around.” I know for a fact that back in the US if I wanted to multitask and do this, I would have plenty of places to pursue this opportunity. Not so in Spain. This country is here to remind you that you are in fact in pursuit of two separate tasks, and not one (or more if you add texting, emailing or otherwise socially humping your Blackberry). Item #1? Grab a coffee. Item #2? Walk around. The fact that there are 3 Starbucks within spitting distance in our city center is a testament to the fact that some people just need to do this. Let me just say … I’ve conformed (for now).
Sidle up to the long, gleaming counter in any bar or cafeteria and pick your poison. You’re welcome to sip your coffee standing up, with one leg crossed over the other, your umbrella propped up against bar, your purse on the counter. Grab a croissant a la plancha or anything flaky, golden and gorgeous to compliment your beverage (could be the waiter). You’re welcome to sit down at a nearby table although fijate, sometimes the prices are adjusted between bar and mesa (table) by as much as 60 cents.
That delicious espresso and steamed milk you’re drinking for a measly 1.20 euros is a reminder of the little joys in life. First of all, when is the last time you had a latte for $1.63? Now on to your super important schedule. Do you really have somewhere to be right this very second? Is your business going to stop its very existence because you are neglecting your buzzing / ringing / vibrating PDA? Spain says no. Just say no to To Go. Shut up, sit down (or stand) and enjoy.. and please support the mom and pop cafes .. no matter how far from home its still the best idea to go green and buy local.
For more on how you should order that blissful first cup – read this amusing editorial on coffee in Andalucia (and other things about our schedule): http://www.andaluciacoastandcountry.com/eatinganddrinkinginandalucia.html