Coffee and Me

Besides the obvious ardent love of friends and family, there are three things I consistently just can’t get enough of:

1. Coffee

2. Purses

3. Dogs

I’m going to address coffee now and follow up on the other two some other time. I think my love of coffee stems from the taste but more so the memories I have with it. For me, and what I presume to be for many others, coffee is more than just a caffienated drink. It gives people a reason to get together, “want to go grab a cup of coffee?”, a reason to get up in the morning “hm…I smell coffee!” and relax on the weekend, lounging in the bed with the Sunday paper sprawled out all around you, coffee in hand. My first foray into coffee began with Folgers. Yes, Folgers, that staple of all gas stations and bank lobbies across the country, and I loved it. It was the summer I turned 14 and I was helping out in the family businesss. My Mom and Dad would pour themselves a steaming cup every morning, so I followed suit. It was half a styrofoam cup filled with sugar and cream while the remaining half was coffee and all delicious. Then I transitioned into the gas station cappuccino machine every morning on my way to high school. My friend Lynn and I would lie to the gas station attendant every time and say we had poured plain drip coffee instead of the frothy delight that was hiding in our travel mugs. I paid 87 cents for it, and I never felt bad.

Then something happened in college, I discovered La Primatazza. It was like a whole different world opened up to me. I went to this little gem of a coffee shop for the very first time on a date with a boy. A boy that was my first love. It was an instant favorite, (the boy and the coffee shop) and I went often. Even though the boy eventually disappeared, my love for that coffee shop never did. I built new friendships there, bonded with my best friend, wrote many papers and finished many projects there. Right before I finished college went to study abroad in Italy. Florence opened my eyes to a whole different world of coffee. I moved from filtered and flavored coffee drinks strait into espresso, and macchiatos mainly because there they don’t leave you much choice. My inclinations for cups of coffee that tastes more like large mugs of espresso stems from my 4 months in Florence.

When I finally moved away from Kansas to California I moved into the sleepy suburb town of San Mateo. It sucked. Mainly because there was no good mom and pop coffee shop that served anything after 6pm. How was I suppose to lounge around in the cafe with my book and coffee if I couldn’t even get out of work by 6! I knew it was the wrong place for me, so when I finally moved to San Francisco, I planted myself right next to one of the most notoriously delicious coffee shops of San Francisco, Ritual Coffee. I want to say that my fanaticism is so intense I searched for the coffee shops, then found apartments nearby, but alas, it was just serendipity that brought me here.

Even though Ritual is at the bottom of my street I find their coffees to be too light and too fruity and the patrons are a little to judgmental for my tastes. So, one day a former pastry chef friend of mine took me and my tastebuds to a delightful coffee kiosk stand at our local farmer’s market for Blue Bottle Coffee. It was like love at first sight, Blue Bottle takes the time to hand-drip their coffees, the beans are roasted THE DAY BEFORE, and the waiting line for their cup of joe extends well over 30 ft on a regular day. It’s amazing how a little cup can change your entire prespective on something you thought you knew so much about.

It is a sheer delight to grind my favorite Giant Steps beans, pour in the hot water and watch it froth and swirl in the glass. Pushing down the press and pouring a mug of flavor so intense and so rich reminds me to take the time to notice the little details, and appreciate the journey coffee continues to take me on.

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