I fell in love with coffee in college. It was a tenuous relationship at first due to a completely unexplainable phobia of hot drinks in my younger years. Gradually I began to experiment with frozen mochas, lattes, and cappuccinos until I had built up enough of an affinity to skip the sugary drinks and head straight for the natural. Now I’m experimenting with different brewing systems like a French press and Chemex to see what makes the best natural coffee.
Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.”― David Lynch
Travel and Coffee
Coffee shops have become an important marker in major events in my life. In Birmingham, England I always visit the Ikon Café (which is apparently now Café Opus) for some joe and inspiration. While in London, there are plenty of small cafés and if I’m north of the city I always go to Tinderbox by the Angel tube station. All of these are inextricably linked with either beautiful memories or major creative moments. At Ikon Café I wrote tons of angsty poetry in many different forms about emotions that I didn't even grasp yet. The same goes for Tinderbox and sitting by the Thames with a cup of to-go coffee from a corner bakery. Each cup represented something that pushed me forward, either as an artist or a person.
In Paris you can basically find any sidewalk café and have a great cup while watching tourists fumble through the French language, as waiters act like they don’t understand them. The uncultured version of me too often visited Starbucks in France, probably in search of familiarity. When in Italy, it was espresso on the quick from basically anywhere. It is Italy after all. There's no time to savor coffee, it's utilitarian at best.
My college java experience was dominated by The Mudhouse and Potters House while now I frequent Antidote, Paper Co., and Down House. These places are more than just coffee shops to me, they are points in time, friendship and creative fuel.
I’ve also found that drinking a cup in the morning may not be the best for your energy and that beer may be better for initial creative inspiration. So, to get the best of both worlds, I bought some Real Ale Shade Grown Coffee Porter, but I usually don’t drink it in the morning. People tend to look down on that for some reason.
I’m starting to learn the economics of coffee, the second most traded commodity behind oil. I’ve put the book Java Trekker by Dean Cycon on my reading list, as well as Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast, and have started paying attention to where the beans I consume come from and how it impacts those who grow it. I also find it very amusing that the Netherlands is the highest per capita consumer of coffee in the world and that Hawaii is the only US state that produces it.
So as you make it through Monday, maybe even on your fourth cup, take a moment and savor the smell of the beans that keep you awake, alert and almost completely dependent on its sweet, and sometimes bitter, nectar.