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  • If you come from a small town in northern New Hampshire, you might associate Argentina with South America, South America with Columbia, and Columbia with good coffee; thus Argentina equals good coffee. If you were to move from your small town in northern New Hampshire to a small town in central Argentina, you might quickly realize that Argentina is NOT known for coffee -- it's known for beef. Finding a truly good cup of coffee is really a difficult task.

    If you come from a small town in northern New Hampshire, your closest experience to truly good coffee was that time you went to Starbucks in Washington, DC, and the barrista had to explain how they didn't have iced coffee, but you would really like an iced americano better than whatever you previously thought you wanted. So you associate good coffee with dark roasts, foreign-sounding words, and a white mermaid with a green background and two tails.

    If, while living in the farmlands of Argentina, you thought you'd see that mermaid, you were wrong... At least I was wrong. Until Leah.

    Leah was the only person I could find who truly appreciated coffee the way I did. We would sit on the floor of our 7-person dorm room with a thermos full of hot water from the machine that piped it out for 10 centavos, a pound of Starbucks house blend that had just arrived in a care package, and some kind of single serving drip coffee maker that looked like a red plastic cone to me. We vowed that if we were ever in close proximity to each other in the U.S., we'd find the nearest Starbucks and enjoy a cup of real coffee together.

    And we did. Yearly we attempt a coffee pilgrimage. For a while it was always the mermaid with the dark roasts that drew us, but now we've matured and we realize Starbucks is not the end-all of coffees so we go to some trendy local place or just brew something nice at home. Really a good cup of coffee is not in the roaster, the brewer, or even the bean, it's in the person you share it with and the memories you make with each sip.

    --photograph courtesy of Leah O'Bradovic--
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