Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

The Tiniest Coffee in The World

Serpa 32 2009 SI am working right now -and for 2 months- on my travel sketches from our last trip through Portugal (3 weeks in June/July 2009). Today I stumbled upon this one, which I did quite at the end of the trip, and I thought it was the perfect one to exhibit in Cafe Crem.

There is a little, funny story connected to this drawing. As always we were in the town, Kevin sitting at Cafes reading, patiently waiting for me while I was sketching around. And like always, after 1 or 2 hours work, I joined him in a Cafe to have a well-deserved coffee. That day, as every day, I ordered in my not-so-accurate, but kind of working Portuguese language

“Um  cafe com leite, en um gran vaso, com muito leite por favor”

which means something like

“A coffee with milk, in a big glass, with much milk, please!”

This was the way I normally ordered our coffee, and normally it worked quite well, although I needed quite a long time to find the adequate words since our first trip through Portugal last year. Before I came to this final version, I must admit that I had quite a lot of trials with quite a lot of funny results. Anyway… Today the man who served us here looked a little bit weird, after he heard my order… I had the feeling he wanted to say something but either he couldn’t find the right words (to tell the truth he looked a little bit “thick”… in fact this little bar stood  next door to a psychiatric institute…) or he thought there was no chance of a real communication between us (I guess I  looked quite thick myself when I ordered our coffees in my insecure language…). The guy went inside, and after a long long time, which made me think he needed a long time to prepare an enormous coffee, he came out with that coffee cup and a big smile for me. Without exaggerating, the cup was about 3 centimetres high (1.2 inches), it was half empty, totally black… and cold! I must have looked quite shocked as the guy replaced his former smile with a desolate look! He succeeded in asking me if it was “ok”, and I really could see how much he hoped it was  right. I had not the heart to tell the truth, I just put a big smile on my face… and tons of sugar into the cup, which at least made it look full. I hadn’t the heart either not to drink the stuff, I thought it could be offending, but it was simply awful and I have felt sick for many hours after.

But at least the cup was cute and is a wonderful subject for a Cafe Crem post…

by Miki


September 30, 2009 - Posted by | Art, Cafe L'Arte, coffee, culture, drawing, life, Miki's Paintings, travel | , , , , , ,


  1. Love the drawing! Excellent stuff… just wandered in here by chance, and am busy adding to Google Reader so I can find my way back again.

    Comment by Jonathan | September 30, 2009

  2. Hi Jonathan, thanks for the lovely comment, and welcome in Cafe Crem!
    I have been to Cheese and Beans, for a first short glance, and I have the feeling that I would enjoy your writing very much. See you there soon!

    Comment by Miki | September 30, 2009

  3. It is a perilous tightrope that Miki and I walk when we venture out of the confines of the Boomobile, or indeed even our home and put ourselves at the mercy of others when we require a coffee. It’s perhaps one in five that turn out to be drinkable, and a greater proportion suitable for undersealing your car. But this guy’s attempts at creating a drinkable beverage spectacularly fell the wrong side of the line! Unencumbered by Miki’s admirable good manners, my cup remained resolutely untouched, as did my thankful stomach lining.

    Jonathan: Welcome, I’m about to pop over to “cheese & beans” myself right now!

    Comment by kevmoore | September 30, 2009

  4. I enjoy your colorful sketch, and the interesting story that goes with it. Who knew that ordering coffee could be so complicated!

    Comment by shelleymhouse | September 30, 2009

  5. What a story. The things one must endure for a little artistic productivity.

    Comment by sittingpugs | October 1, 2009

  6. Very familiar with ordering coffee in Portugal. Funny things do happen quite a bit, considering my Portuguese appears to be even more broken than yours. Last week, my Portuguese neighbour misunderstood what I was asking for and I ended up having 3 shots of his homemade alcohol, all before 10 am.

    Comment by Fair Trade Coffee | October 4, 2009

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