If you have been following my blog, you know that for me, iced coffee is a must. You have likely read my rants about its scarcity in Europe, and if this is true, then it will be no surprise that I am back with another edition of Iced Coffee Escapades, this time in Rennes.
With two locations in Rennes, the house of my go-to iced coffee sits aside the busy foot traffic of Rue le Bastard, just before the craft-store alcove next door.
Black awnings and metal chairs encroach upon the street in a small arrangement while the line snakes and breaks through the afternoon.
Their menu lists many drinks, from green tea to americanos, with an option to make any drink “froid,” or over ice. In addition to its extensive menu, Mokka offers sizes akin to the oversized American standards I am used to. Their large is about 24ounces, more than generous compared to the typical French 6.
For these reasons, Mokka has quickly become a popular stop along my day since I first discovered it with an equally ice-obsessed friend.
Despite my love of Mokka’s cold and convenience, the cafe is more equipped for à emporter than sur place. The wifi has difficulty reaching the end of the patio, and no toilet is tucked in the back, making this cafe less than ideal for an afternoon with a laptop.
Still, I am grateful for Mokka’s no-nonsense iced coffee, and as a misplaced connoisseur, who am I to complain?
For a kitchen-cafe experience, head to Albertine. The mid-sized lounge bridges the gap between cafe and restaurant as wifi and caffeine power patrons through their morning. Its living room style provides a calm workspace that filled each breath with baked aromas.
I found a round table towards the back, with the same friend who introduced me to my beloved Mokka. She told me she had never been here before, and we ordered the same combination of iced latte and cinnamon roll.
The roll was woven like a flower, pieces pulling from doughy center as it unfolded in my hands, the flavor amplified by the cool introduction of espresso and milk on ice.
Music came softly from the cafe’s corners, Cage the Elephant, then Tame Impala filling the space between our words.
Light floods the restaurant as its windows are a clear, looking glass into the morning cold. People line the walls with their laptops and meetings, and it is easy to slip into the tranquility of background conversation.
The clacked exchange between fingers and keys is my white noise, after years spent writing in city cafes. These vibrations lull me to thought and I wonder what my infant self would think if she could see me now.
Where did I draw the line?
There have been too many revisions,
too many exceptions.
Too much blurred led,
gummed eraser ends,
and holes in the space between.
I feel my origin shrinking,
while my head occupies the same space
above my shoulders,
and my limbs go about their day.
Dragging me along long nights
and moral mistakes,
asking me to forget everything.
I beg my body to take me to myself,
and I look– into the crystal balls that see the world,
and find that momentary grasp of self.
That moment’s recognition before you fade before your own eyes.
The voice I heard as a child has been replaced,
though echoes hear her, sometimes,
when her fists pound against my heavy glass,
and she glares through my eyes
just like I ask her.
Only at night can I crawl back inside,
and find her curled up inside me.
I take her head in my hands and ask her to look.
To remember what I can’t and tell me how we should feel.
Her eyes grow wide each time
as she relives each way my body has danced,
her mouth doesn’t know pride or disappointment,
her breath fogs my eyes, as
her hands hold mine and more freedom.
More than she knew she meant when she screamed,
and I don’t know what to tell her anymore.