It was an early Hobart morning, and the air was laden with the earthy smells of autumn as Paris took his favourite seat outside the Lumiose Cafe. His early morning habit had started two years ago, after presenting a highly acclaimed talk on machine ethics using Swift and containerised microservices at an amazing conference called Codemania, which was hosted in New Zealand every year. Paris had returned home with his sleeping hours pleasantly shifted to wake two hours earlier than usual, and he maintained the schedule to enjoy the peace and tranquil mornings that were the hallmark of this region of Tasmania.
The cafe owner, Josie, knew Paris' orders well. They depended upon how Paris was feeling at the time; if he was stressed then a warm comforting mocha with the faintest touch of chilli would be his preference, but when Paris was relaxed he liked to savour the flavours in the coffee on its own. Josie smiled and brought Paris the customary glass of lightly sparkling water, topped with a small slice of lime from the tree that grew in the cafe's own garden.
Paris beamed appreciatively at Josie, and asked about her day. Paris was always a delightful customer, and Josie had started the cafe not because she needed the money, but because she enjoyed the social aspects that running a cafe would bring. Customers always appreciated Josie's attention to detail, and in return the Lumiose was never short of volunteered opportunities or skills.
Josie didn't need to ask Paris' order. She knew from his joyful-yet-serene demeanour that he'd be wanting something bold today. Adeptly preparing a single-origin ethically sourced Turkish-style coffee in a pan, she transferred it into a crisp white ceramic cup, and placed it on a saucer with a cardamom pod from the same region, a small piece of citronella peal, and an artisanally crafted toothpick made from a fragrant cedar limb that had naturally fallen during heavy winds. Pouring a small mason jar of kombucha as a palate cleanser, she considered adding a side of crispy sun-dried kale brushed with agave syrup, but she knew that Paris was not a hipster, and would consider it an unnecessary extravagance.
As Josie worked her magic inside the cafe, Paris breathed deeply the clean, fresh air of his native Tasmania. As he was admiring the faint tang of eucalyptus on the breeze, his phone buzzed softly. Paris maintained a distributed network of autonomous software agents that monitored his notifications and messages, and he knew they would only interrupt him in this moment with something he would enjoy. His face broke into a wry grin as he glanced at the message; McJones, who was touring with the success of his latest musical, had bumped into Judit, who was pioneering work in computer-assisted medical diagnosis using deep-learning neural networks and biometric nanosensors. They'd sent Paris a goofy selfie of them together, dressed as Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
Josie brought Paris' deconstructed vegan Türk kahvesi to the table, and broke until a laugh when Paris shared the picture he received. McJones had been a regular the Lumiose, and she had seen Judit's work featured in the news. As Josie hurried off to welcome another customer, Paris breathed deeply the rich aroma of the coffee. It was dark and fragrant, filled with subtle notes like one of McJones' symphonies, and reminded Paris of his own trip to Turkey many years ago. Taking a sip the flavour blossomed in his mouth like a flower, sending a tingle of delight down his spine. He closed his eyes and existed entirely in the moment, nothing but the cool breeze on his cheeks, the warmth of coffee in his mouth, and quiet birdsong from the trees. Swallowing, he opened his eyes once more, and took a sip of the kombucha, its tangy flavour clearing away the rambunctious tones of the coffee.
Paris began the ritual of lightly crushing the cardamom pod with his powerful yet gentle hands, skewering it with the toothpick, and stirring his coffee with it in three leisurely figure-eights. On Paris' first visit to the cafe Josie had offered him a tiny cardamom-press and infuser, but Paris enjoyed the simple pleasure of crushing the pod itself, feeling the slightly rough texture on his skin, and being able to smell the burst of fragrance as he held the pod to his nose. The toothpick was his own idea; it allowed him to better control the flavour, and the artisanal feel reminded him of his own woodworking lessons as a child.
Taking the citronella peal and rubbing it around the rim of the cup, Paris took another sip of the earthy brew. It came with the same fabulous cascade of flavours as the first, but now with an opening tang of citrus, and the warm spicy afterglow of the cardamom.
It was perfect. Just like Paris' day.