Where Dreams Await

Where Dreams Become Memories by Jann Alexander ©2014
Where Dreams Become Memories by Jann Alexander ©2014

The mocha of my dreams had begun life less than an hour earlier.

It was a typical order for a barista: “a mocha cappuccino, please, for here.”

I like to be served on china, fine or not.

He nodded, asked my name. Said he’d call me when it was ready, then went to work, hidden and forgotten behind a chrome maze of machinery and pressurized steam sounds. I wandered toward a table near the window. Elsewhere around me, small tipsy tables held a few solo occupants, absorbed by their screens. The low buzz of engaged conversation came from women seated in a pair of shabby overstuffed chairs in a far corner.

None of them paid a bit of attention to me as I took out my camera, and studied the area for a photograph. There wasn’t one.

And then there was. When my name was called, I walked back to the bar to collect my cappuccino. Except it wasn’t my cappuccino. It was a bona-fide work of art, disguised in a humble wholesale-grade white china cup and saucer. Mocha art.

Mocha of My Dreams by Jann Alexander ©2014
Mocha of My Dreams by Jann Alexander ©2014

My surprise at its design perfection became astonishment became effusiveness. I heaped praise upon the barista. His name was Ryan. I studied him for any obvious signs of artistic genius. He said he was not an art student. He modestly said he created these frothy chocolate-syrup gems only occasionally, when it was slow.

Slow was how I drank it. At first, I didn’t drink it at all. I set my unexpected treat on a window table that had some natural light, and began photographing it. From every vantage point, in many ways. Eventually I worried it was getting cold. So I sipped at it, shot the results, sipped some more, kept shooting, finished sipping it slowly as I reviewed my photos. Took a few last shots when I’d nearly drained the cup, with the mocha pattern’s dreamy fragments still clinging to the china.

Dreamy Mocha by Jann Alexander ©2014
Dreamy Mocha by Jann Alexander ©2014
Just in My Dreams by Jann Alexander ©2014
Just in My Dreams by Jann Alexander ©2014

Ryan watched me, from his cash register perch on his slow day. I got his email address so I could send him some photographs. He was nonchalant, as though anyone could make a cappuccino into art that disappears with a satisfying slurp. Maybe anyone can.

Maybe it’s even a cliché to make mocha art. But even if it is clichéd, that didn’t make it any less artful—to me, anyway, on that day.

It was beautiful, and it had meaning—to me. An ordinary visit to a coffee shop became a photography adventure, and years later, still a dreamy memory.

I think about Ryan, from time to time. I wonder, did he ever take up art? 

What do you see in your dreams?

TO BUY A PRINT of from the Mocha Madness series, and see more of my photographs focused on pattern and light, go here: Lightscapes.

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17 thoughts on “Where Dreams Await

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      1. I have some filter coffee… but ran out of papers for the machine (aarrgghh)… and the nearest store to buy such supplies is perhaps an hour away. Me thinks making a filter from an old vest might be in order (a clean but old one).


  1. I hope your meeting with Ryan pushed him to thinking about looking in to a life with art, besides coffee. What a beautiful creation. And a mocha cappuccino…I’ve never thought to order a mocha before.

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