In Germany this week visiting my parents, which is wonderful, of course, but in dealing with jetlag and a couple small children in a large shopping mall, and I got an intense craving for something cold, caffeinated, and not soda pop. There were numerous cafés in the mall, but I was having trouble finding an iced latte. The more I looked, the more I wanted just that exact thing – iced latte, iced latte…. There was a gelato shop… a pizza café… and a couple more elegant cafés. I finally stopped at one and asked in my very very broken German if they might have iced lattes… iced coffee. At first they thought I meant coffee and ice cream (what a weird idea!?) because Eis is the German word for ice cream. I figured they thought I was crazy for wanting coffee and ice cream. Once I managed to convey I wanted a cold latte, they apologized that they didn’t have any cold coffee at the moment, and so I moved on. But the craving remained, so I called in reinforcements…
Dad to the rescue – my Dad is fluent in German and shares my appreciation for coffee beverages. He helped me locate a cafe that had these beautiful words on the menu: “Geeiste latte” just what I wanted! I sighed in relief and sat down. Ordered the drink of my dreams… and a few minutes later – it came – with whipped cream on top. Strange… but ok, I like whipped cream, I can handle it on my iced latte. Also came with a spoon – ok – for the whipped cream? But as I dug a little deeper… I discovered ice cream beneath the whipped cream! My latte had been ge-Eissed, just as advertised. Oh well, somehow I choked it down and felt much revived.
Turns out the Germans are not fans of iced drinks. There’s a theory in German culture that drinking cold drinks on a hot day can make you catch cold. Drafts, too, are verboten. My geeiste latte had no ice cubes in it – and now I understand that the other cafe could not make a cold latte because they didn’t have the ice cubes to provide the cooling, and they had not-precooled any coffee in the fridge.
The next day, I was at a wurst stand, ordering apple juice for the kids (actually Apfelschorle, a fizzy apple juice), and the guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted it warm or cold. “Warm oder kalt?” I said “kalt” of course – it was a warm day, we were sitting in the sun – of course I wanted a cold drink! He gave me this really odd look – the you’re crazy, lady! look, but served up a cold Apfelschorle. I’m sure he was wondering what kind of parent would do that to their children, or at least chalking me up as another misguided American.
I think I’m about 30km from the nearest Starbucks. I feel so adrift! Probably for the best – wouldn’t want to catch cold on my lovely trip!