Those that know me well know that I am utterly addicted to Gilmore Girls, and have a bit of a thing for coffee. Okay…a big thing. Perhaps the two are linked and feed into each other like a vicious cycle, or perhaps they’re just two hugely comforting and enjoyable parts of my life, with independent roots yet symbiotic in nature. Regardless, I am going through a bit of withdrawal from both. I am officially two weeks sober from the best show ever made (with I Love Lucy as a close runner up), because my luggage just couldn’t accommodate my boxed set of DVDs. Perhaps this is a good thing…I mean, when you immediately go for season one, disc one, the very second you wrap up season seven (for maybe the fifteenth time), you might have a bit of a problem, no?
But as I detox from this marvelously witty, poignant, and remarkably relatable alternate universe of mine (because let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to live in Stars Hollow?), I’m also conducting the struggle train through coffeeholics anonymous. Because guess what? You can’t just order a coffee here!
It greatly pains me to say that in New Zealand, a place actually quite reliant on and proud of their hot beverages, it is immensely difficult to find a simple cup of brewed coffee! First of all, the traditional coffee that you make in a pot? They call it filter coffee. But it’s not readily available, not that great (if the spoon can’t stand up on its own…), and it’s served in disturbingly small cups (and I’m not quite ready for the ridiculous $100 investment on the cheapest of coffee pots, or the absurd price of the bagged coffee itself). Don’t get me wrong – they could give the Italians a run for their money on espresso drinks. They are seriously delicious (and apparently New Zealand has more coffee roasters per capita than anywhere else in the world?!). But to me, lattes and mochas are an extravagant treat, and I usually JUST WANT COFFEE.
Thus, I have been on a major expedition to figure out how to order something that I sort of want. I’ve resorted to instant (blasphemy I know, but it’s actually super common here) for the cheap and quick morning boost in my flat. But I’ve also stood in lines creepily trying to overhear what everyone orders and match it up with what they get (because come on, SOMEONE must just be ordering coffee, right?), and stared at menus so long that the baristas of Christchurch must think me dim. I’ve even gone to the point of ordering random things on the menu…and then choking down straight espresso because I am a proud and ignorant American…
Why not just look it up, you say? I could wax poetic about immersing yourself into new cultures, learning the local vernacular and the value of figuring things out through trial and error (or *gasp* striking up conversation with the Kiwi in front of you), but to be honest, I just didn’t think of it. But alas, where there’s a will there’s a way, and I finally figured out what to order! After try after try, heartache after heartache, embarrassing mis-orders and mumblings on being “new here,” I finally got it.
A long black is the way to go. Not to be confused with a short black, which is just espresso (and which I have accidentally ordered, assuming it the small size of a long black), or a tall black, which does not exist (except in basketball). A long black is pretty much an Americano (except espresso added over hot water versus vice versa), so pretty much the closest thing you can get to a plain cup of coffee. Most places will know what you want if you order an Americano, but I’m sorry – I don’t want to be that American in a new land that only orders Americanos. Not that I’ll be ordering that often anyway, because like I said – small portions, hefty prices. But for now, my mission is complete. And when I get homesick, I’ll just hike across town to the single Starbucks that exists in the entire Canterbury region.
Now I just have to adjust to the other staple in my diet… because they don’t put sugar in the peanut butter here…