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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.