Monday, January 18, 2010
Obsession...Not By Calvin Klein
A woman stopped me on the Burnside today and asked me,
"Excuse me sir, where is the nearest Starbucks?"
Before I tell you what I replied, let me give you some back story.
I like coffee. Actually, it is more like an obsession, but not for all coffee. When I was in high school Starbucks was just beginning it's push east from its home in Seattle and energy drinks were coming into their own. By the time I made it to college (and required a substance to stimulate me out of bed) coffee was really booming all across the nation, but in Texas energy drinks were still king. By the end of college I had about enough of the horrible taste of Red Bull, Monster, or Bawls (which still makes me laugh) and switched over to the flavorful and creamy mocha-frappa-lotta-gotta-getta-gowah-chino lattes. This included Starbucks.
Fast forward to a year after college and I found myself disatisfied with every restaurant and snack shop having a cafe portion and serving the same sugary crap coffee. It didn't matter where you bought it, because after the first wave of the coffee craze everyone just made what Starbucks made which is sugary horrible coffee. Then I found Cafe 360 near my apartment in Austin. They served gourmet Italian roast coffee called Segafredo and it was delicous!! I had never been able to drink just black coffee, I thought it was too strong and too bitter, but this was perfect. After that I exclusively drank coffee from there.
A year or two later I went to travel with my sister about Italy and Europe while she was studying there and came across a cappuccino. Now I've had cappuccinos before...at Starbucks, and quite enjoyed them, but nothing prepared me for the cappuccino I had in Italy. The coffee was at the perfect temperature, the roasted flavor and aroma teased my senses, the milk was light and frothy, but smooth as silk and more satisfying than ice cream. Unbeknownst to me I had been drinking dirt water topped with non-dairy whipped cream all this time.
Now I live in Portland, Seattle's sister and competitor for coffee greatness and I tell you I have found the greatest. At Coffeehouse Northwest you will see skills unmatched by any barista. Seriously, these guys are scientists about coffee. I once overheard a conversation between the owner and one of his fellow baristas about what the proper brew time for a shot of expresso should be for different pours of coffee....I don't even know what that means. I once had a drink remade FOUR TIMES because it wasn't up to his standards. And best of all, the owner took a trip to NYC to tour some coffee shops and found the best cappuccino he ever had and when he asked the owner made this drink so special he told him to use a certain organic milk. It was more expensive, but the owner could have it no other way and now exclusively uses it with his cappuccino, which are in my opinion the best in the world.
So, back to my story. What was my reply?
"There is one two blocks that way ma'am, just across the street. But you could go to Coffeehouse Northwest and pay half the price for ten times better coffee at a shorter distance."
She stared at me for a good three seconds (I actually almost got two blinks in) and said,
"Oh, well I'll just go to Starbucks thank you."
Poor thing, she apparently was a re-tard. (Hangover)
PS. Good news to one and all (or just fans of coffee), Coffeehouse Northwest in addition to roasting their own beans (starting in Feburary) will be opening a drink cart somewhere on the east side!!! Hooray for good coffee and hooray for food carts...uh, I mean drink carts!!!