Stir Sugar In Your Coffee

My body clock wakes me believing it is still in the UK. I rise quietly, dress in training gear, push my feet into my walking shoes and slip quickly and quietly out to the street. The morning sun makes me squint, it feels warm on my skin. I breathe the sea air and gaze at the harbour below. The boats happily bobbing in the water. I make my way down to the awakening harbour and proceed to climb the many steps that will take me to the top of the hill to the centre. My breathing heavy, not yet used to the exertion of the climb. My mission is get to the top as quickly as possible, purchase a take out coffee and walk around the centre.

I finally make it to the top and in pigeon Italian request a take out coffee at the cafe bar in the centre.

“Americano ?”




It amuses me slightly how I am asked what I want in English while I reply in Italian.

While I wait I realise my foot is tapping impatiently, waiting for this coffee and I realise I am pushing myself into the pace of my normal daily life. The daily chase of how quickly I get served a coffee at the well known coffee chains.

I breathe and in that one breath a stillness ascends and I begin to observe the barista.

I watch him take time, the restaurant cafe bar is busy, people are buying breakfast, large delicious looking sugary donuts or custard and chocolate filled croissants.

I watch him take time over my coffee, banging and pressing the coffee machine, preparing the black liquid and plucking down from a shelf my take out polystyrene cup into which the coffee pours. He takes a spoonful of sugar and stirs and stirs the coffee intent on ensuring all granules are dissolved. Finally presenting me with the fruits of his labour. I pay at the till and leave the bar.

Rather than walk and drink as was my plan I find a seat and settle to drink my coffee. I realise I am touched by the way the barista made my coffee. So different to the experiences I know and have become accustomed to.

He made this for me.

He didn’t write my name on a cup.

He stirred my sugar………He stirred my sugar.

Tears prick my eyes. I am so touched by the pride in his work, the significance of taking time to make something, having someone stir sugar in your coffee. Nobody was impatiently waiting at the cafe waiting for their coffee, a busy cafe bar, everyone received care and attention. Taking time, taking a breath, sitting and drinking this caffeine I appreciate the moment.

I know when I return home I will get sucked back into the coffee chains and the busyness of life, however, perhaps I will occasionally remember to take the time to stir sugar in my coffee and occasionally take a breath and enjoy la dolce vita.


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