Monday, April 11, 2016


Our trip included Vienna, so it's hardly surprising that there has been a lot of coffee around.  ("Starbucks comes to show us how to make coffee?  We had the first coffee place in the sixteenth century!" said a Viennese guide.)

It started in our first hotel, in Utrecht, where the free breakfast included a coffee machine.  The cruise had an even fancier machine in the lounge, including "Vienna Melange", which turned out to be coffee, milk, and chocolate.  And the lounge in the main Vienna train station had another, with a nice display helpfully showing you which cup/glass to use.
Utrecht coffee machine.  

Display of Vienna train lounge machine

Budapest was perhaps a bit less determined, but not much.  Similar machine at breakfast, although there was also a large urn with just coffee and hot milk for the simple folk.

What there wasn't, anywhere, was decaf.  When I asked about it at Utrecht I created a flurry which ended up with three people in the bar brewing me a cup.  Onboard ship I could get hot water and powder (but not milk, just packets of cream).  In Vienna they just laughed at me or looked confused.

Poland has thrown in a new wrinkle.  There are still plenty of cafes and coffee shops, with all the usual, but at the hotel there are two choices:  coffee in a big urn, and instant coffee powder.  Um? Visiting our relatives in Niebieszczany we were offered the same choices, brewed or instant.  Um again?  Apparently in Poland instant coffee is a thing.  Dave's young, English-speaking cousin, who is a student here in Krakow, attempted to explain.  As best I  understood, instant coffee means no grounds, no mess or sludge, and is highly desirable.  Okay...  Still not decaf, and his cousin did not see the point of coffee that didn't give you a caffeine jolt.

I'm typing this in a Coffee Corner in the Krakow main train station, and I note that they do actually have decaf.  Traveler influence, I suppose. .   I'm drinking a caffe latte, with.  By the time I get back to the US I am going to have to work to cut back to my "one or two cups in the morning".  It shouldn't be too hard; it just won't be as good!


  1. Clearly decaf is something only tourists find desirable, in Poland. How about tea? Is it possible to get tea in Poland? Herbal tea perhaps?

  2. Plenty of hot water and tea bags, including mint and sometimes fruit herbals. In Utrecht fresh mint tea was a tall glass stuffed with mint leaves, with hot water poured over. In the Vienna zoo herbal tea was similar, with some plants we didn't know, as well as some mints. So yes, there is some level of tea appreciation, or at least recognition.