I think it was in Por­tu­gal that I first had cof­fee, in the hotel restau­rant back when I was six­teen. It was a thrilling new expe­ri­ence. Nei­ther of my par­ents drank cof­fee, even my grand­par­ents had giv­en it up for years. Like mar­ti­nis, it was some­thing that peo­ple drank in all the books I read, and so I, too, want­ed to drink them. The cof­fee was au lait, and fol­low­ing the advice of my table com­pan­ion, I spooned about sev­en scoops of hot choco­late pow­der into it before I could man­age to drink it. But I could still taste the bit­ter bean brew behind all that. I had nev­er felt so sophisticated.

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