Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blue Note Cafe in Lazimpat

Caffeine is my drug of choice. Other than the occasional adult beverage and Advil dose, I suppose it is my only drug. That makes it all the more significant in my life. I am certain that my proclivity for coffee was imprinted in my genetic code at birth, as I come from a family of habitual coffee drinkers. And I do mean habitual. We are not talking fancy latte drinks, either -- just straight Folgers by the gallon. I am surprised we have not cut out the middle man and just started eating the grounds with a spoon. At my parents' house the coffee maker is constantly running. When they would land in Chicago for a visit they would bring their own bulk coffee grounds knowing that they would do some major damage to our humble supply (and heaven forbid we run out). They also had a tendency to bring a supply of food and sporting equipment on these visits, just in case Chicago didn't have canned beans or a spontaneous game of ice hockey broke out on Lake Michigan. But back to coffee. I once asked my grandfather how many cups of coffee he drinks during an average day. Ten. [Update: I emailed beloved Gramps to confirm my accuracy on this point (yes, emailed -- the man also Skypes) and received this response: "I just got caught up with my mail. I read your blog about my coffee and you're close on how many cups I drink a day, I scarf down about 15 cups a day average."]

Given this history, it is a wonder that I held out for so long. It was not until grad school that I came around to coffee, thanks to my wife's coffee habit and my discovery of the iced variety (still almost the only kind I will drink). Here in Kathmandu, excellent coffee and coffee shops are common, so fear not, caffeine lovers. Decaf drinker? Welcome to Hades.

Decaf coffee is almost unheard of here. The only decaf you can find in a grocery store is the overpriced instant variety. You can order decaf grounds from Top of the World Coffee (and they will even deliver to your home), but the luxury comes with a (steep) price. Very few shops serve decaf. One is Patan's Lazy Gringo restaurant, which serves Top of the World Coffee. The other we have found is Blue Note cafe in Lazimpat.

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It comes in handy to know the decaf coffee spots in Kathmandu if you happen to have someone in your household (like your wife) who has shunned caffeine (true) or if you have a Mormon friend coming to visit (not yet!). Or, maybe you are going caffeine free for a crazy yoga experiment (been there, done that). Whatever the reason, decaf may be in order. Blue Note delivers.

Blue Note serves organic coffee from Nepal and Lavazza espresso. The prices are in line with high-end coffee shops in Kathmandu, though you will pay 50 rupees (about 70 cents) more for decaf.

The heart of the coffee shop is off the main drag in Lazimpat. There is a small seating area where you can watch the world go by.

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Or, sit in the building's interior courtyard.

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The lush greenery adds an almost tropical feel. Last time we were there, it started raining, and I swear it felt like we were in a Rainforest Cafe. In a good way.

In the back of the courtyard, there is a larger seating area.

Talk about enlightening.

We find ourselves drawn to Blue Note about once a week, and I do not think it is entirely due to Claudine's decaf ways. Whether seeking decaf coffee or the hard stuff, Blue Note is an excellent option in Kathmandu.

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