Coffee Moments by Lynsey Howell

Donald Wingard

This is our Guest Blog #2 and comes to us from Lynsey, a coffee mom blogger @


I started my solo journey three months ago in Belize and I'm working my way south to Panama.* I stopped in Granada, Nicaragua to take Spanish classes. Central America is well known for growing amazing coffee, but because it is such a profitable export, it's very difficult to find it other than in instant powder. And for a coffee snob like myself, I can only go so long on bad coffee.

I had finally found an Americanized cafe, probably run by expats. The floors were a black and white checkered patterned, chipped from years of wear. A huge bakery case flanked by high walls and slow moving ceiling fans. Nicely spaced sitting areas with gently worn leather chairs and tables already covered with ruffled newspapers. A big open courtyard through the back, typical of Spanish architecture, filled with lush green plants and secluded sitting areas. I ordered an Americano and a thick brownie; a delightful $2 dollar splurge. I wish I would have found this place sooner. It's about the simple pleasures after all, and nothing goes better together than coffee and chocolate.

After my delicious treat, I wandered into the tropical courtyard to browse the massive bookshelf. A traveler's holy grail: take a book, leave a book. I saw a woman about 40 years my senior sitting at one of the tables who I thought I had met the week prior. I started talking with her just like an old friend would do. She had no idea who I was, yet she was very kind and inviting. We laughed at the mistake and naturally continued our conversation. Linda from Quebec, not Irena from Slovenia. We talked about the joys of traveling and the hardships we had both faced. We shared how we both ran away from the snowy winter yet landed in a place of sweltering heat instead; where like a lizard, you don’t move during the day and just want to find the breeze.

"Is there a happy medium?" I asked Linda.

My dad told me when I embarked on this trip that he was worried I wouldn’t find what I was looking for- that I would be disappointed because as he knows, nirvana doesn’t exist. Linda and I both agreed. We know nirvana does not exist, but we still need to go searching for it...but why? What's the point of looking for something elusive? What are we doing here in this cafe, all alone together, and so far away from home?

The point, perhaps, is for those moments in-between the perfect town, the best coffee shop, the best climate, the one and only soul mate, all of which don’t really exist. Perfection is only an illusion. But we do it for those serendipitous events, the deep conversations over coffee with fellow travelers. Those moments of pleasure strung together in the search for the elusive object of our desire. And so the point becomes not the thing, the place, or the person we search for, but for the beautiful moments that we get to experience along the way. I love how the world opens up when I travel, but maybe it's just because that's when I am most aware of the openings.

I said goodbye to my new friend. Maybe I will see her again in another town, in another cafe. Or maybe I will start another conversation with a stranger and smile, knowing that this world gave me another moment to string along in my quest for perfect moments.


*in 2009 I went on a backpacking journey to Central America to mend a broken heart. This essay was a journal entry of mine from back then. It has been revised a couple times- most recently to share with my fellow coffee lovers at Seaside Coffee Company-keep making great beans!



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