Monthly Archives: October 2016

Thailand mourns its king

After 70 years of rule and a long illness, King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on Thursday. He has witnessed 19 coup attempts and a multitude of electoral swings. Educated in Switzerland, the king was fond of arts and deeply interested in the welfare of his subjects, whom he supported through various Royal Projects. These are celebrated by various UN agencies, as Thailand has become a ‘development success‘ during his rule.

Sign outside a Bangkok cafe

Sign outside a Bangkok cafe

Continue reading

Happy International Coffee Day!

Coffee is said to be more addictive than weed, but it is one easily accessible and unregulated drug that people can enjoy around the world. I was never a fan of coffee until I started working at a newspaper at the age of 20. My parents were used to drinking pour-over coffee, and even when they got access to machines they never appreciated those. In my family coffee was something people could drink at any time and in any shape (culturally, serving coffee in the evening means that the party is over), so first encounters with Italian culture, where you′re not supposed to drink cappuccino after a certain hour, were quite a cultural shock. Yet this is nothing compared to the shock of one Italian academic, who moved to Oxford 20 years ago and told me that not only she could only find olive oil in pharmacies, but you could actually see a spoon through the surface of your coffee!

Lithuanian coffee culture has changed tremendously over the years. We inherited a kind of careless attitude, where cafes used to go for instant or serve something similar to what we typically get at conferences. However, the nascent middle class was craving to show off its cosmopolitan identity and started to shame everything about food culture that separated this region from the most sophisticated traditions of the west. Now central Vilnius is littered with home-brew cafes, to the point that one foodie called it “the Vatican of coffee”. Coffee culture in Lithuania is more or less like in the Francophone space, with high prevalence of grand cafe serving the convenient middle ground between espresso and americano – just as I like. Continue reading