a quick latte (a long black)

my coffee grows on a hill somewhere
around Kandara
in Kenya

my coffee grows ripe beneath the sun out there
in Rutsiro or Rubavu
in Rwanda

my coffee is stored in the monsoon air
of the Malabar coast
in India

enjoy your latte

my coffee dries where a slow breeze whiles
on Pico Turquino
in Cuba

my coffee is named for the exotic style
of San Isidro
in Costa Rica

my coffee arrives in green bean piles
from La Bendicion
in Nicaragua

my coffee spins in the roaster for a time
in Ethiopia

sip your black

your coffee awaits you, served with a smile
from the shadows of my garage
where I change it
from green to brown

enjoy your latte

sip your black

soar around the world
with my cup to your lips
fly so high
then come on back

© Frank Prem, 2011


hot and strong

beans these

these beans
are darker
than the last ones

these beans
are macho
in a jar

these beans
are stronger
like a bull stomp

these beans
are hombres a ya ya

these beans
when they crush them

these beans
grow stronger
while they wait

these beans
draw a crowd
the people want them

these beans
hat dance
on my hot plate

a yay yay ya
a yay yay ya

these beans
hot dance
on my hat plate

© Frank Prem, 2017

September 2017 Poem #22: an army of the night

coffees for a road trip

three coffees
on the road today

the first one
still asleep
while grinding beans

half awake
when the espresso growls

the milk is boiled
and ready

a second cup
two hours away

a roaster
turning beans
by the kilo
to brown

the smell
pervades the café

they take their coffee
seriously here

I can’t decipher the pattern
a barista has etched
on the frothy top

perhaps a fern
I don’t know

I drink it down

and a third cup

killing time
around a foreign town

is super-size

the cups
are throw away
with plastic lids
even though
I’m seated right there
at their table

but the beverage
is warm

© Frank Prem, 2017

a glorious whirly and home-roast beans

I have bought the popcorn-maker whirligig
and wait now
for a thermometer
to install
on one side of the lid

it has a winding device in the handle
to push two twirling blades around

and today I received my green beans
in the mail
four little bags
air tight
from Ethiopia and Brazil
and from Peru

they hardly look like coffee
there is no aromatic smell
and they are small
almost innocuous
as though they could not hold
all that I’ve been promised
but I’ll try

green beans in a popcorn maker
twirled around upon the stove

now that
is coffee making

and I can’t wait to hear
the first


the second




of browning beans

and of aroma
drifting down the street
calling the neighbours to their doors
to sniff

what’s that

what’s that

the coffee man of john street is roasting beans
right there on his stove-top


what a glorious day

© Frank Prem, 2010

turn my coffee

if I want
my coffee to love me

if I want
my coffee to hold me

my coffee to please me
to make my life be easy
I’ve got to
turn my coffee on


I don’t want
my coffee bitter, Joe

I don’t want
my coffee too black no (oh no no)

my coffee macchiato
make sure I start so
I’ve got to
turn my coffee on


I don’t want to be latte (hey hey)
I don’t like any milk fern
in my froth

I want my coffee to pick me up
so I’m going to have to
turn my coffee

I’ll turn

(so strong!)

© Frank Prem, 2017

April 2017 Poem #25: why is the magpie


before you grind your beans up
first you’ve got to roast them
if you want to turn them brown
you need a flame

put a match under your fire
then put your pan upon it
listen to those green beans
crack and strain

spin the browning beans around
turn and twist and twirl them
make them smoky dark
but never burned

then tip them in the strainer
before you rush them through the air
do it mighty quick
the way you’ve learned

now you’ll find your Arabica
is ready for the grinding
into a powder with the power
of dynamite

and if you want to drink espresso
make it grumble on the stove
the best espresso is an attitude
and cranky
kick your head
is what I’ve brewed

© Frank Prem, 2014

a-wooing for coffee

Yellow Bourbon E-
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
as well

their green beans turn
to brown
in the oily smoke
with a cra-cra-
crackling sound

over the stove-top
it’s Espresso
that gets me

here’s a batch
of beans
green-to-brown them
turn the heat


grind them
start the day right
the bubbling growl

give me give me give me
don’t make
a grown man …

a-a-a      a-wooooo

a-a      a-wooooo

don’t make a grown man

a-wooooo woo-woo-woo

for my


© Frank Prem, 2017

Poem #13: thwocking turbulence

pink throb latte

the noise never quite succeeds here
in fading to background white
it is shaded by the pink and throb of night club
not the mannered brown
of café

this is Chadstone
two hundred and thirty two retail outlets*
and a myriad hustling bodies
almost blinding in a random agitation of movement
it is here I have come
for a daily paper-and-coffee indulgence
dependent for success
on a dominance of the white over the pink

the food-court is in session
broad enough for perspective to play a role
in shrinking size if not numbers
as the eye scans to the distant edge
of the twitching tables that lie
between my bubble of hubbub
and the perimeter markings of
Indian take-away (roti wrap curries)
gourmet carvery
steakhouse grill and home-made ice-creamery

the mass at rest before me crawls
seething in an incessant irritation
seated or upright
afoot or undulating in the dis-coordinated breeze
that drives this shop-town community
each table grouping a micro-climate of independence
working for the common purpose
of a retail hive
humming pallid
against the throb-pink
of latte and morning papers
that never quite recedes to background white

© Frank Prem, 2002

  • Now Five hundred and thirty, I believe. Bigger is better.

a coffee song

A Poem a Day in October 2016: #20

it’s time to play
the coffee song
grind it right up
put it on
stove radio

it has a quiet start
I’d hardly even know it was there
but the element is glowing
so something’s going on
down below

and in the distance
far away
like the growl of thunder
the sound of pressure
building in a confined space
lodges in the front of my brain

I start to bop
without my own volition
while I watch the milk
rise up to the boil

it’s less a sound
more a feeling
as the steam percolates
and the beans express themselves
through water

to rise again
as a different being
with a rumble and a roar
like the diesel of a coffee train
crashing around the kitchen

screams out to me

come and pour

right now
right now
right now

this is a coffee song

I sing it out loud
coffee morning

© Frank Prem, 2016

Poem #21: ride the portent

the beginning of life

A Poem a Day in September #22

go away
don’t talk to me
I am really alive

don’t trouble me
till I wake

go away
grind coffee beans
on top of the stove

I’ll open my eyes when I hear
the hissing
and the bubbling

if you want to be the hero
my hero
you better brew them hard

and make it strong
to stir my bones

come talk with me
feel that I am at-em
truly I
am at-em again

coffee is the start of the world

coffee hiss me into life
on the stove

coffee is the way to my soul

now I

I feel truly
I am alive

© Frank Prem, 2016

Poem #23: finding north