Remember how I had a hell of a time trying to get an ice latte last summer in Vienna? Evidently the problem persists in Budapest.
My dad and I arrive at the airport with just enough time for a quick chat and an even quicker coffee. I look at the pretty standard menu and although it isn’t listed, I ask for an ice latte. “Ice coffee?” Déjà vu all over again. Damnit. Just as before, I try again.
“No, latte. Not hot, with ice. Cold.” The girl politely declines, but I’m not one to give up so easily (like, for example, the time I accidentally arrived at the airport literally 20 minutes before my plane was scheduled to depart but finagled my way onto it anyway - AND left on time) so I decline her decline.
“But I want an ice latte. Can you put two shots of espresso into a cup of ice?” Her face indicates that what she’s understood is, “how far does the galloping fence derive the verification of Iceland before he lets it out of the cat surface train?” She says that is not possible. 3rd time’s the charm, amiright?
“Ok, so can you make a latte that is cold?” I wait for it to sink in before adding, “…with ice?” The two girls - two have now approached the counter as I have turned a simple request into a Very Big Deal - confer, all the while looking between me and the espresso machine, as if trying to decide whether or not it would be possible to either a. grind me up into tiny enough pieces to sell to the line of customers now formed behind us or b. use me as a source of milk (steamed, not cold, of course). At long last, they reach a verdict. “Ok latte cold and not hot.” Perfect!
Delighted, we step away from the counter and within seconds, my latte appears. My latte in a ceramic mug. Without ice. I’m just about to walk away and call it a win-enough when the girl clarifies, “ehhhhh… with ice?” Oh well wow golly gee, what an idea! I sure hadn’t even thought of that, thank you, that would be terrific! She walks away - forever, I feel certain - and returns with a glass half the size of my coffee cup filled to the brim with ice cubes. She half-heartedly motions as if to pour the contents of my drink into a more appropriate vessel but she suddenly realizes that one stack of plates has one more plate than the other stack and rushes off to correct it.
Now, I was a barista for many years, and I’d consider myself to be a pretty skilled one at that. And by that I mean that I felt totally prepared enough to complete the simple task of pouring one drink into another cup.
But I ain’t always right. I guess you could say, nobody’s pourfect…