3.785 Litres

26th June 2007

Our first day in Amsterdam, I approach the counter to order my coffee:

-May I have a latte?
-This may be a silly question, but do you have lowfat milk?
-What do you mean? For your coffee?
– Yes. I usually order my lattes with lowfat milk, but I don’t think they have that here.
-No, we don’t have that.
-OK, no problem.
-Why do you want that? You don’t want foam?
-No. We do that because the lattes in the states are the size of a gallon of milk, and I don’t want to get fat.
-Ah. How much is a gallon?

20 thoughts on “3.785 Litres

  1. Kate

    Excellent reason for portion control–a little bit of decadent creamy, milky coffee. Unfortunately, just because I know that 100mL of the good stuff is better than a L of the less-good stuff, doesn’t mean that I’m not still a sucker for the big one. Sigh.

  2. jenB

    hee! i love how metric is the universal language of measure pretty much everywhere but the US. I am bi-measurement, I would have understood the gallon thing. That is very cute.

  3. Mau

    I am surprised she asked “How much is a gallon”, I would’ve expected “What is a gallon?”

    JenB: I think the U.S. is alone on this…

    I rejoice every time I see the dual notation…

  4. Amy

    The thing I found while in the NL was how SMALL all the coffees were. I had them with cream thank you very much!

  5. srah

    I firmly believe (even if it turns out that I’m wrong) that whole milk is better for you than skim milk because it fills you up so you don’t snack as much. I don’t care if Science comes along and tells me it ain’t so! I will drink my delicious creamy fatty milk!

  6. candy

    i was surprised the other day when i had some bread sliced and, when i asked how big the slicer slices, the young man said “about a centimeter”. and, ya know what, a centimeter is the perfect size for a bread slice!

    i agree about the temperature part… the only centigrade i get is when it’s zero.

  7. Nienuh

    Maybe not at that coffee stand, but we actually do have low-fat milk. But it is true, sizes AND the way to describe them differ between Europe and the US. I noticed when i was in the states that your small is our large.

  8. Anja

    Oh, centigrade makes perfect sense. When it’s zero, water freezes. When it’s 100, water boils. Fahrenheit, on the other hand, boggles my mind….

  9. I, Rodius

    Candy, I think I read that that’s exactly how the metric system developed. They figured out exactly how tall 100 slices of bread should be, and just extrapolated everything else from there. It’s true, I swear! My wife’s aunt forwarded it in an email, alongside Robin Williams’ peace plan.

  10. Cath

    I love that the Dutch for latte (koffie verkeerd) literally translates as ‘wrong coffee’. Especially as it’s so, so right.

  11. KidKate

    It’s funny having a baby here in the UK, where everybody refers to the baby’s length and weight in centimeters and kilos (and my weight in something called stones [14 pounds=1 stone]! Boy, were we confused when we watched The Biggest Loser UK).

  12. aimee/greeblemonkey

    Good for you to go all European and suck up the foam and the fat. Of course I don’t drink coffee, so I don’t even know what a latte is. (But for the record, they look at you funny when you ask for ice in your pop, too).

  13. Nancy

    The U.S. is pretty much the only country that I know of that isn’t at least bilingual in a metric way of speaking. We here north of the border have been metric for about 25 years (we’ve been speaking in Celsius temperatures for over 30). It’s odd, but not surprising, that it hasn’t crept south.

  14. Jan

    Maybe our coffee is smaller because its stronger than in the US? btw we also have small cups of cream to go with the coffee.

  15. Pingback: Vagabondish | 1 Gallon of Dutch Disconnect, Please

  16. The Scarlet Pervygirl

    Best. conversation. EVER. I hope I live long enough to have coffee in an estaminet on Mars, so I can have a conversation just like this and know that it really IS because the barista and I are from different planets.

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