Coffee Shop Cravings on the Rock

The one thing I’ve really missed about the United States since moving to my rock is good coffee. Anguilla is a British protectorate and thus, most of the locals follow the British tradition of being coffee-shunning tea drinkers. Yes, you can get a cappuccino at the higher-end restaurants, but you won’t see anything close to a Starbucks unless you get on a plane and head to Puerto Rico. Raised in a Midwestern family where we drink our coffee so strong you only need one cup before vibrating off to work, it was definitely a culture shock for me to move to a place where a “delay brew” button on a Mr. Coffee couldn’t successfully rouse an entire household from slumber.

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One day however, much to my excitement, I noticed a new shop near the medical school with a sign reading Jiovanni’s and proudly bearing an icon of a steaming cup of coffee. I tried stopping in one Saturday afternoon to check it out, but found that their hours were only Monday-Friday from 8am – 4pm – disappointingly, the same hours when my med school is in session. Luckily, on a recent Tuesday afternoon, I was forced to make a special trip into town during my regular school hours to renew my local driver’s license.

Now, any time I have to deal with the government in any way, I always plan a special treat  for myself (a croissant from our phenomenal local bakery, a rum punch from my favorite beach bar, or maybe a new magazine downloaded onto my iPad) to give me courage during what generally turns out to be an inconceivably long process that often makes me question the existence of a higher power. So, for this deity-doubting task, I promised myself an iced latte from Jiovanni’s as a bribe for afterwards.

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To my knowledge, Jiovanni’s is the only place on the island that actually advertises itself as a coffee shop, so I thought my odds were good that I’d be able to get something other than a cup of coffee-flavored water. I drove over around 1:30pm, and ran in through a pretty heavy squall. Bursting into the cafe, I was greeted by four men sitting around a table, one of them wearing chef’s pants and a chef’s shirt. And so, I assumed he was the chef. I saw a menu on the counter and started paging through it, seeing lots of soups, salads, and entrees, but no page with their coffee offerings. After a bit, the assumed chef asked me what I was looking for. I asked what types of coffee drinks they offered.

CHEF: “Oh, we have lots of coffee!” (goes behind counter)…
…We have regular coffee…” (holds up tin of Folgers Original)…
…and we even have flavors!” (holds up French Vanilla non-dairy creamer)

ME: “Ummmm… do you have lattes?”

CHEF: “What’s a latte?”

At this point, one of the other guys jumped in, possibly the owner. He said they had mochas, espresso drinks, flavored syrup, frozen drinks, and “whatever I wanted”. So I ordered an iced vanilla latte. I figured that the owner might have a more expansive knowledge of coffee considering he owned and operated a coffee shop.

Blank stare.

After the silence that followed, realizing I was not going to get the iced latte I promised myself, I decided to play it safe and said, “Ok, ok, how about I just get an iced mocha?”

OWNER: “That will be five dollars.”

The chef seemed startled, and interrupted to ask the owner how much coffee you actually got for $5, clearly incredulous that anybody (a.k.a. me) would spend that much money on a caffeinated beverage. The owner answered with a curt, “It’s enough coffee.”

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The owner busied himself behind the counter, scooping ice and blending, asking if I’d like whipped cream on top. I declined. He then took my money and handed me a plastic cup filled with my iced mocha. Chocolate syrup streaked the sides of the cup, tenderly cradling the thick smoothie inside. Thanking the men, I ran back out through the rain to my car.

Once inside my Jeep, I took a sip of the concoction. Yep, just what I thought. Ice, chocolate syrup, and the mystery ingredient:

Coffee ice cream.

Good thing I declined the whipped cream topping.

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Heidi Tiefenthaler

About Heidi Tiefenthaler

Heidi is currently living every tourist’s fantasy of going on vacation, falling in love with a local, and moving to an island to live happily ever after. Her “ever after” includes daily trips to the grocery store to see if the food containers have come in yet, playing with her Whippet/Terrier/Anguillan Long Dog mix, Oliver, on the beach, and drinking wine with her boyfriend’s extremely large and much beloved network of cousins. Heidi is an ardent animal lover with future plans to own a herd of goats, once she figures out a way to train goats to stay off her roof and not get stuck up there while she’s at the beach.

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12 thoughts on “Coffee Shop Cravings on the Rock

  1. I’m happy to say on Tortola we have more than one good coffee shop. I remember my excitement when I went into one years ago and asked if they made non-milk lattes and they said yes they had soy milk. I thought it was too good to be true but, yes, and it was delicious. To this day I get my soy lattes at the same coffee shop.

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