I was twenty, filling my head with Derrida, Baudelaire, Foucault. Those were the beginnings of my Barista days that lasted for ten years and were prompted by the fate of being a Literature and later Music Student- the cafe job. The cold valley air of the Perth hills’ winter mornings working at a French Patisserie and Boulangerie prompted me to buy my first square silk scarf. To keep the voice warm, darling.
Hair swept into a chignon, scarf fixed snugly at my neck I would espress coffee for hours, gazing out the little window above my copper trimmed machine to garden boxes of geraniums, the strains of Piaf or Jacques Brel echoing amongst the busy chatter of customers. Jug in hand, I would pour French bowls of coffee, crema glowing for the cyclist entourage. Doppio espresso for the pastry chefs on regular intervals, delivered amongst repartee and laughter as rich as the brioche dough being thrown heavily with the full force of the chef’s body on the cold steel bench top. Coffees for regulars made according to the hues I would recall they liked- golden ombre for George, gilded ivory with no creamed froth for Frensi and tar black with a golden head of crema the width of my thumb, at least, for the stern old Swiss gentleman who would drink it with intermittent dollops of doubled creme whilst tearing at his escargot.
I still wear this little scarf. It’s Italian and has a woman poised in capri pants and a little square headscarf herself on a wrought iron chair. I wear it with pearls, little black dresses and cashmere capes now, instead of my waitress blacks and Birkenstocks, slung firmly at my neckline. But I’m not so far from that twenty year old girl, espressing up to 500 coffees a day. I still dream to sing and sing to dream, drink too much coffee and fall in love with silk square scarves.
Here is a smattering of the most divine little squares of the season!