04 March 2014

Ode to Bibicaffe

Any of you who know me in real life know I’m always super- caffeinated – an addict of the bean.

A double-espresso over a hint of water or ice is my go-to drink, though I also enjoy an occasional sweet treat – maybe a caramel macchiato or iced vanilla latte or mocha. On tired days, I’ll hit up the French press for a real jolt.

I first attempted to get into coffee drinks in college (how trite) during late-night cram sessions for finals. Rather than focus my mind, one particularly potent espresso shake left me jittery and nauseous and up all night – not so good for studying.

During courtship with my now husband, we spent a lot of time in cafes -- he a barista wooing me first with steamed milk, then slowly working me into espresso masked by rich caramel and thick foam.

I’ve long pegged Nate as the one who really got me hooked on the taste of coffee.

But I recently remembered. Long before college, long before Nate, there was Bibicaffe.

Do you know it?

I first tried these at the Nordstrom espresso bar at Northgate mall in Seattle on shopping trips with mom (I’m sure she needed a break from my tween angst and wanted a cup of coffee). I always used to get Italian sodas – fruity flavors like raspberry. You know the ones: a stiff pour of thick, sweet syrup, a splash of soda water, and cream over ice.

Bibicaffe was the more graduated version – an Italian coffee “soda” of sorts. It came out of a chic small glass bottle. And, like its fruity counterparts, was served best when poured over a tall cup of ice and topped with a heavy hand of cream. It was a delight. I thought it was a Nordstrom exclusive (much like those chewy Nanaimo bars).

Once I graduated to hot coffees and lattes, I forgot all about Bibicaffe.

Until we moved into our house in Seattle’s Maple Leaf and discovered Café Javasti. There in the refrigerator, amidst the buttery rich house-made pastries, were bottles of Bibicaffe. I later came to discover that the founders of Javasti met in their days as Nordy’s baristas – so it only makes sense that they would bring this treat to their shops.

In recent years, Bibicaffe began disappearing from Javasti. I finally found some, to purchase by the case, at Seattle’s PFI in the Sodo district.

I'm jonesing hard for a Bibicaffe. It’s all I can think about. Anyone know where can I source this locally in LA?

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