I’m going to have fun with this blog. This is the place that I can share all the weird and wonderful things I have encountered in Ukraine—most recently during the last four months living here yet with the history of many visits over the past eight years as well. It is 3:00 on Sunday morning and I can’t sleep so I decided that this is the time to write about coffee in Ukraine. The reason I can’t sleep has to do with over consumption of the stuff—I think. On my first visit in 1998, I learned that getting a cup of Joe was very expensive and getting a second cup was virtually impossible. Our International Bible Society team stayed at a hotel in Kyiv before flying to Crimea. (The hotel, The Bratslava, is near where we now live. I also remember that we had no hot water on that visit.) Breakfast was included in the price of the hotel. Cindy Reynolds and I got up early—jetlag does that to a person—and tried to find a cup of my favorite beverage. (Remember, I am from the Pacific Northwest where coffee shops, houses, and kiosks abound.) We were the first ones in the dining room and breakfast was not ready. Looking back I see that I had no idea of proper protocol in this situation–first we were early and second I asked for a cup of coffee. I received a strange look. (I had been warned not to ask for a second cup at breakfast so I thought I could order one ahead of time.) The coffee eventually came and I tried to pay for it but they wouldn’t take my money. I tried to tell the waitress (since I didn’t speak the language this didn’t work very well) that I wanted to pay for the coffee and put money on the table. Then the others arrived for breakfast. When I asked for another cup it became immediately apparent that I could not do so. I learned that coffee was very difficult to obtain at that time and the fact that I had asked for more was very inappropriate. They would not or could not bring me another cup even if I wanted to pay for it. Now, eight years later, there are coffee houses practically on every block in the center of Kyiv. Starbucks has not found its way here yet—which I feel is a bit sad. Where are the paper cups with 16 and 20 ounce lattes? As I was writing this, I realized that our section of town doesn’t have a single coffee house. (I guess I should amend that statement because in the local grocery store there is a lady who has a small espresso machine and she will make you a shot of pure espresso. I have never seen a line there though.)I haven’t figured out what to order since each different chain or individual establishment has its own definition of a latte (most of them don’t even have lattes), cappuccino, and espresso. Cappuccinos are the closest thing I have found to an American latte. It does have steamed milk in it. All the drinks are small in size and cost around three to four dollars in the coffee houses. This is too expensive for our budget so it is only on a rare occasion that I indulge. There is a pizza place, Uno, by the Golden Gate where I can order a cappuccino for $1.40. Once in awhile, I will splurge after leaving Mr. S’s office.We also recently found a Frappe at one of the chains. It is blended but with a small amount of ice and has a lot of whipped cream in it. The barista also adds the sweetened condensed mile that is very popular here. On a hot day, it is better than nothing.It’s time for sleep—it will probably be short since the sun comes up in another 30 minutes. Next time I will write about my troubles brewing a good cup of coffee at home. I have found an alternate which I love—so until then. Sweet dreams!!!!!! If I can’t sleep, I’ll just go count cups of the elusive lattes.