Okay, everyone, let’s talk coffee.
Now, I’m not a coffee snob by any means. Or at least, I don’t like walking around thinking of myself as a coffee snob. I can drink dollar donut shop swill like the best of ’em, and cheap, shitty coffee has its own charms. I’m not knockin’ it.
But as with food, wine, and liquor, I love a good cup of coffee. I have my preferences and you have yours, but this is what good coffee is to me: Mellow, with rich chocolate notes, not too acidic, and pleasantly full-bodied. With just a little cream and sugar, please.
Coffee is a social drink. It’s what ties us together. I can go out and get a cup of coffee (or tea, for you less caffeine-minded) and sit and work out in the world, surrounded by others who are working too, a kind of invisible camaraderie.
I can call up a friend and say, “Hey, whatcha up to? Want to grab a cup of coffee?” I’ve given up sleep some nights by going out for coffee with a friend, having a latte at 9pm, then stayed up til the crack of dawn. Worth it? Maybe. It’s almost never about the coffee and almost always about the company.
Walking down the grocery store aisle the other day, I was blown away by the huge selection of pre-bagged coffees, most of them chain-brand deals. Maybe my inner hippie is showing; I really hadn’t been in a standard grocery store in a long time. The Bay has spoiled me. But looking at all these coffees, I can see the allure. Part of my brain is going “Ooh, hazelnut. Oh, vanilla crème. It’s only $4.99, that’s good.”
It’s easy to get distracted, as if a price tag was the only thing that mattered. It’s so easy, even when we know that pesticides are terrible for us, that we’re fucking the Earth over, that the five dollar bag of coffee is not even going to taste good. Even for those of us lucky to have good jobs, the bills stack up fast, I know. It’s tempting to reach for the good-enough and cheap, and sometimes I do. Fuck sainthood, of the crunchy-granola variety or otherwise. I am not a perfect hippie. Not even close.
But I have my moments, I suppose, like we all do.
My favorite coffee in the whole world comes from a little coffee roastery just a mile or two away from my house. I was introduced to this organic Peruvian blend when I was a barista slinging lattes in a cafe that carried it. The roastery is family-owned and small, and the coffee carries a stiffer price tag, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t the best cuppa’ I’ve ever tried.
In my heart and in my belly, I’d like to support them, instead of getting lured away by the whiff of a bargain.