I never had a true appreciation of coffee until I lived in San Francisco. Coffee houses were like bars up there. Everyone had their favorite and every cup tasted different. They spoke your name and new bits about your life, unlike the chaotic experience of some of the larger chain coffee houses that have eaten the smaller, bohemian ones of yore. I had my first true cup of coffee at a restaurant called Stars. I remember the coffee coming in a basic white, wide cup and saucer and the aroma hit me before I had a chance to bring the cup to my mouth. Later on I found out that the coffee was from a local roaster called Graffeo. I then learned that I could buy the coffee directly from them.
I don’t know if it still exists in the same location but they used to be on Columbus Ave in the North Beach section of San Francisco. At the time I lived fairly close so I made it a regular jaunt to walk over. An added bonus was an Alfa Romeo mechanic next door where you could see the beautiful cars they were working on. The simple joy of buying a bag of coffee beans from a friendly human, then strolling through the crisp cold air made me drunk. I have lots of fond memories of aesthetic drunkenness in SF.
Although I enjoy a latte now and then, and occasionally have my coffee “regular” as in the New York “regular” which is with cream and sugar, for the most part I like it black. Our 86 year old neighbor told us that her mother always said, “learn to drink it black” because you can not be prissy in certain situations where coffee is offered. You will not find Splenda, raw sugar, Coffee Mate, honey, or whatever else you’ve become addicted to if you travel the world. Learning to drink it black gives you the upper hand at times, no muss, no fuss. I guess you can apply this theory to most things in life: be flexible. Bend like a reed in the wind or surely you will break.
That said, courthouse coffee will surely break you if you drink enough of it.
- Warm Drinks for Autumn Nights (blogs.forbes.com)