Speculative Coffee and the Allusive Alchemy of the Neil Gaiman Latte

Speculative Coffee:  Coffee that exists on the threshold between this world and the liminal realms; coffee that encourages speculation, invokes the Muses, and inspires travelers. The art of crafting speculative coffee is a form of literary coffea alchemy, requiring an extensive knowledge of certain Books of Magic and requiring tools of the barista-alchemist. When successful, the ever-elusive speculative coffee is allusive ambrosia.

I’ve been a fan of Neil Gaiman’s since the Sandman days and have followed his career and books with interest, reading his blog and gleaning quite a bit from his method of maintaining contact with his audience in a way that’s wide-reaching and personal.

Recently there has been a great deal of Internet and Twitter talk about coffees named after Neil Gaiman. It seems to have sprung from a bookshop in Indonesia, and the idea took off from there. The Guardian did a story on the Reading Lights bookshop in West Java:

Then Needcoffee.com did an article on Neil Gaiman: Man, Myth, Legend, Coffee Drink:

This was accompanied by two other coffeeshops that jumped on the Create-a-Neil-Gaimain-Coffee bandwagon:
Strange Brew in Greenwood, Indiana has a Neil Gaiman Latte (and a colorful description of the process of creating the drink on Joan of Dark’s blog):

ZubZub in Boonville, Northern California, has their version of the Neil Gaiman Latte: espresso, bitter almond, dark chocolate, black cherry.

There is also a list of growing suggestions on Twitter from Neil’s fans. The campaign to find the quintessential Neil Gaiman coffee (or beverage, since Neil himself prefers tea), is a testament to his writing and ever-growing  fan base, but it’s also grassroots, internet publicity at its finest. What better way to spread the word about Neil and his writing than to bring a coffee named after Neil to your favorite local coffee shop. It’s brilliant and fun. Where else will the Neil Gaiman coffees appear? How many different cities and countries?

Perhaps next will be Gaiman character-inspired beverages: Coraline macchiato with black sugar button; hot Nobody chocolate with marshmallow skull; an iced Odd Mocha, served with an eye-shaped biscuit; Death Chai made with Gunflower and Rosehips teas. It’s poetry in coffee.

Keep an eye out for a Neil Gaiman coffee coming to a café near you, and thanks to The Graveyard Book, perhaps there will be a Lupescu Latte?

~Valya Dudycz Lupescu