This love runs as deep as our love for coffee.

Melissa Locker
July 7, 2017
Austin Mann/Starbucks

Austin Mann and Esther Havens met in Waco, Texas, but they fell in love somewhere else—Amsterdam. Specifically, the Starbucks in Amsterdam’s airport. So, when Mann decided to propose to Havens, he knew there was only one place to do it.

As freelance photographers who document the work of nonprofits in developing communities, the couple travels over 100,000 miles a year, which means they spend a lot of time in airports. A few years after they met in Texas, Mann was traveling home from Africa, when he realized that Havens would be traveling through the Amsterdam airport a few days after him. He decided to leave her a note in the airport’s Starbucks, sending her a riddle to track it down during her layover. That adorable effort sparked a romance with Mann leaving love notes taped to the underside of tables or tucked into cushions in Starbucks all over the globe from New Delhi to Cambodia to Houston. Sometimes he would even order her favorite drink to be waiting for her when she arrived. According to a Starbucks press release about the couple’s coffee-related romance, Havens started to leave Mann notes, too, and thanks to the notes, they remained connected and their love continued to grow, even though they were frequently on opposite sides of the planet.

That world-traveling romance eventually lead to a proposal and Mann knew the perfect spot to pop the question—the Starbucks in the Amsterdam airport. When Mann realized that Havens would be connecting through Amsterdam on her way back from Tanzania, he arranged to be at the Amsterdam airport, too, making sure her sister was at the airport to document the occasion and that her family was in Amsterdam to celebrate the proposal. He then texted her to meet him at the Starbucks.

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Then he sprang into action, alerting all the baristas to the impending proposal and setting up his phone to secretly record the moment. Then disaster struck: Havens was on the wrong side of airport security and didn’t think she would be able to make it through to meet Mann at the Starbucks. Mann was figuring out a Plan B when Havens texted that she had made it through security after all. She made her way to the Starbucks and found a note—and Mann waiting with flowers and a ring. When she said yes, everyone in the coffee shop cheered.

Starbucks notes that the couple hasn’t set a wedding location yet, but wherever they end up, chances are there will be a Starbucks nearby.