Tag Archives: coffee

…a little child, born yesterday, A thing on mother’s milk and kisses fed…

It finally happened. I always knew it would, it was only a matter of time before I got my first breastfeeding-in-public disapproving look.

I was thinking my morning was going well. I’d already achieved a) a shower b) getting dressed c) leaving the house and d) finishing my shopping. Which is, by the way, four more things than I’ve achieved so far today. So when my daughter began to stir I decided not to tempt fate and sit down and feed her before my bus ride home. So I went into a cafe.

First mistake. You don’t really need a coffee. Are you kidding – I have two children, of course I need coffee!

If you do you should drink in solitude at home. <sobs> But I only have instant.

So I ordered my coffee and sat down and began to do the worst thing some people can ever imagine anyone doing ever. I began to unbutton my shirt. And then I saw it. That middle aged man at the table next to mine. The wide-eyed stare as he realises what I’m about to do. I’m going to sit in proximity to him while I feed my baby. And while he’s thinking something like I need to stop staring, at least that’s what I’m thinking he should be thinking. I’m thinking, that’s right, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

And I’m doing it here, because this is the only damn place nearby that isn’t full of bar stools. And have you ever seen anyone feed on a bar stool? No. Because no women has ever been fool enough to try. Unless she’s really desperate, in which case you gotta do what you gotta do. But we all know sitting on the floor is a better option.

I’m all nonchalant now, but at the time I was a little worried he’d say something. And then I’d have the whole awkward can-you-repeat-that-in-english conversation. But then I realised, while I might not be able to get myself understood, I can understand what other people are saying. Because he turned away from me, and instead starts to complain to his wife (?) about how old and uncomfortable the chairs are. And then their morning tea arrives, and she starts complaining about the lack of butter with her roll. And if you have ever eaten a roll in Denmark you will know that’s not true. Because they always give you like, three of those little packets, and then say ‘let me know if that’s not enough butter’. And really, that should be enough butter for one roll.

So while I prefer not to be evil-eyed while I feed my baby, it was a reminder that the kind of people who have a problem just aren’t worth worrying about. They’re the kind of people that would disapprove if I ended up with a screaming baby for the whole bus ride. And they’d disapprove if I whipped out a bottle. Or a dummy. Because they know I just procreated to inconvenience them. Sorry. (Not sorry).

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter, what they do. Being a parent is hard. Feeding your child is hard. Which ever way you end up doing it. It was hard when M had silent reflux and screamed his way through every feed. And it has been hard to get back up on my feet after surviving a seriously life-threatening hemorrhage. And after that, it took hard work (and some luck) that I was even able to build up a supply so I could be sitting here, feeding my baby. Hell, I’m glad I’m sitting here.

So when my daughter is quietly, contentedly feeding, and looks up at me, with her happy little eyes, and I just want to enjoy that quiet moment, don’t put your disapproval on me. I’m not interested. Life’s too short.

Lad os mødes til kaffe

I think it is fair to say in my time here thus far I have undertaken a comprehensive survey of the coffee on offer. Danes are great consumers of coffee, with one of the highest per capita intakes in the world (fourth on most online rankings). The type and quality of coffee on offer varies greatly, and so does the price.

I have found a couple of really nice coffee bars, selling espresso coffee the equal of the best places in Wellington. Happily flat whites are on sale, and are recognisably the antipodean style, unlike a few flat whites I tried in the UK. Coffee bar is really a good name for these places, as food options are pretty limited. Though I can usually keep M happy with a plain croissant. You certainly pay for the quality, a flat white will set you back on average 35kr (NZ$7.50). It’s a fairly steep price, and certainly not a daily habit! Though many places sell ‘klippekort’, a pre-pay coffee card which can save you 10kr or so per coffee. A coffee at the larger chains, Baresso or Starbucks, will cost you about the same. But, it’ll be rubbish.

I don’t mind paying for a good coffee here. The staff at the places I like are lovely. Because it’s Denmark, I know they are being paid a decent wage for their expertise. I’ve spent long enough earning crappy hospitality wages not to begrudge them that! Admittedly I’m not usually there at peak-times but I’ve never seen one of these places busy like the busy you get down-under. Instead the staff seem to have the time to make each cup perfect. As well as espresso they are often serving the ‘new’ coffee trends, like chemex (which I like) and aeropress (yet to try, must do soon!).

Widely available here, and significantly cheaper, is filter coffee. Usually the quality is good. Turnover seems to be high, so I haven’t yet been served a cup that had that lingering-in-the-pot-for-hours-taste that makes filter coffee awful. Even cheaper are those little automated coffee machines, but unless you are stuck at Ikea, I guarantee you that a better offer can be found nearby. And if you are stuck at Ikea – well, you should definitely go with the Ikea experience and pair it with meatballs and a mini kanelsnegl.

As for taking M to cafes, he is used to it, and as long as he has a snack, or a toy car to play with, he behaves well. They don’t serve fluffies/babycinos here. But, as is so often the case in Denmark, they like to give kids stuff. So a wee glass of milk is often offered for free. M prefers the cold milk, and it keeps us free from the marshmallow demands, so we are all happy.