Sunday, October 04, 2009

Coffee Ritual

I have to admit I am not a coffee connoisseur. I drink one or two cups in the morning and have no brand loyalty. Weekdays I normally hit the Starbucks kiosk at the local Safeway. I drink brewed coffee and cringe when I hear the complex orders that people request. Another hot button I have is when the counter person corrects me when I order a "small" and somehow that becomes a "tall". That doesn't seem to happen much lately and that makes me happy. Weekends we drink Trader Joe's coffee that we grind in store.

Over the last couple of weeks my coffee habits have been challenged. The first change happened when I forgot to replenish our supply. The only coffee in house was some very expensive beans that my daughter had procured in Hawaii. The problem was no grinder. I was going to drink tea but all we had was decaf. I thought about pounding the beans with the bottom of a heavy pan but nixed the idea. I spied the marble mortar and pestle unused on the self. Hence, the first pot of hand ground Hawaiian coffee was made. It was superb and has spoiled me for the cheap stuff.

The second experience was on our getaway weekend. We headed over to Acme bread in the Ferry Plaza for their exceptional pastries. Just a few doors down the line at Blue Bottle Coffee was only about eight deep. Normally the line is at least three times that. We decided to see what everybody was willing to wait for. Talk about ritual! This place has more reverent moves than a Catholic High Mass. Each cup of brewed coffee is crafted individually. The water is swirled above a cone filter with a motion that reminds me of the incense vessel used in Mass. We defended our position in line from a marauding little old lady with a cane and a handsome young fellow who tried to flirt his way to the front. That endured, we got our coffee and it was excellent, albeit lukewarm for my taste. The wife's latte was a visual work of art.The two things I require from a coffee place: It should be hot and be served in the immediate future.

The most recent coffee adventure is the arrival of Starbucks Via Ready Brew. The commercials say you can't tell the difference. I had mine with one of my wife's homemade pumpkin scones and it was hot and ready. Can I tell the difference? Yeah.


Zoomie said...

Oh, yes, Kona coffee will spoil you for the cheap stuff forever! I like Blue Bottle, too, and Catahoula but for every day, the coffee served at Little Louie's in Point Richmond is perfect for my morning walk. Even the decaf has some flavor.

Word verification: niche!

cookiecrumb said...

You could tell the difference? And you're not a coffee snob. That's very interesting. Ha ha, Starbucks.

Mona said...

i can totally relate to the non-coffee snob thing. try ordering decaf with people. uhh... i can't explain it other than you don't wanna see me on caffeine. you just don't:) hope all's well greg. thanks for the bday wishes!