On Magical Coffee and Yelling in a Shoestore

Iced coffee

I went to return a pair of shoes today. I bought them about a month ago, and already the soles were coming undone, leaving patches of my bare feet to deal with the pavement. Worthy of a refund, I thought, so I went back to the store and explained the problem.

Now, I had been expecting a bit of an altercation, because I had tossed the receipt. I had a battery of arguments prepared, from “you recognize the shoes you sell, right?” to “you must remember me, you gave me my change from the collection box for the children’s home”. But no. Oh no. No need for those. Instead, I was left to scramble for the proper reaction to “Well, these shoes are not leather. Of course they do not last long. You must have walked a lot.”

When I stammered that yes, I had walked in them, they were shoes, and shouldn’t I be able to walk in them for more than four weeks, a colleague (moustache, beer belly) did the math for me “You walk in them for 1 month, you pay 30 Euro, that is one Euro per day. Not bad at all.” Uhr, okay. Too stunned to come up with a reply I just pointed some more at the cracked soles and repeated “but, but, they are shoes”. To which moustache man replied “well, you pay more in a restaurant, and that is just one night”. Upon which I took the high road and left in a huff, yelling “I am never coming back here again”. They cackled. (Possibly at my French. I am not 100% sure what the word is for coming back.)

Yeah, a truly charming bunch. However, I have decided to look at this as an opportunity. (Violin music swells.) An opportunity to rise above the meanness, to find the funny in the sad. (Crescendo.) An opportunity for new, better shoes.

After all, it also took a bit of effort to find the perfect iced coffee. Now that I have, I am so grateful to all the inferior cups I had for pushing me to try again, to find a recipe that works. I know it does not look particularly special in that picture, but it is. Oh yes, it is.

It is cold-brewed coffee with cinnamon and brown sugar with a swirl of milk. The coffee flavour is punchy and smooth, with a warm spiciness from the cinnamon and sweetness from the sugar. Food52 dubbed it “magical coffee”, and it is. It gets me going on a warm summer morning, or helps me unwind on a sweltering evening. It makes me happy and perks me up. I bet it would also work wonders for the shoe store people.

Splashed in their face.

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