From the Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online, come 101 prompts for a writer’s journal jar. There are many fantastic starts and ideas here, including the 100 Things I Love exercise – which has a strong appeal to the list maker in me who thrives first by making the list and next, by crossing things off of it! In this week of reflections on Love – both profound and trivial – today I’m sharing one of the items from my personal 100 Things list. It’s a small daily thing, but it is because it is small and daily that I admit and consent to “loving” my cup of coffee.
Espresso, very hot water and a tiche of milk – otherwise known as an Americano. I know that the espresso shot has been perfectly pulled if there’s a reddish caramel-colored layer of smooth dense holy grail-like substance called crema – on top of the drink before I add in my milk. You could dub a well made Americano either “coffee with a kick” – or “a lazy espresso,” but for me it’s the perfect balance of smooth, bitter, rich, full and sharp.
The “Fresh Roasted-Perfectly Ground-Brewed Just Right” coffee snob culture came to me over twenty years ago when Starbucks was still simply selling beans to brew at home to Seattlites and no one had ever heard of or maybe even imagined drive through huts pumping out gallons of hot caffeinated, whip cream drowned drinks to the masses. In 1983, with a brand new bachelor’s degree in my hip pocket, I worked at Cuppa Joe, a small business in Ashland. Joe’s was locally roasting and selling fresh coffee beans to discerning gourmets and offering 12 oz cups for fifty cents from a thermos in the shop. It was there that I developed my taste for coffee. Back then I could actually taste the difference between beans grown in different hemispheres. It’s a science and an art, truly.
These days, I only require one decent cup of the dark stuff per day. While I’ve been fervently working for over a decade at creating the perfect cup of french press in my own kitchen, you can often find me down the street at the Rogue Valley Roasting Company bowing down to the shop owner, Dustin Way’s espresso pulling finesse.
Besides the Roasting Company’s Americano earning a spot on my less-than-legendary list of 100 Loved Things, I love that when I walk through the shop’s heavy swinging door, someone greets me by name. I love that Dustin and his co-owner (and Mom!), Cindy – are local Ashlanders. I love that my kids can walk in there alone without people looking at them cross-eyed because they’re kids and sometimes press their faces against the ice cream case and leave smudges on the glass. I love that even when there’s a line of high school kids backed up out the door during lunch break, no one gets snippy. I love that the employees are treated well, respect each other and care about the customers. I love the safe familiarity – which on days when things are crazy in my life – can pull me back to center.
That’s a lot of love over something as small as a cuppa coffee. I’d like to order one of those to go, please.