Coffee Thoughts

I’m reading a book right now. Yup, a real book. Not a magazine but a real book.

It’s called “Coffee – A Dark History” by Antony Wild.
I got it on Amazon dirt cheap, used. But it looks as if it’s new.

Anyway, there is a paragraph that I really enjoyed, I’ll just type it here.

“ Coffee had become universally consume in the nations of Europe and in the USA, much of it in coffee houses that became meeting places for men of commerce, politics, and culture. The effect of caffeine itself insured that there were always likely to be lively, well-informed debates and intense, original exchanges, in contrast to the only other public meeting places of the time, the tavern or church. The coffee house played a pivotal role in the creation of many of the financial institutions that in turn supported the expansionist trading empires that had led to the growth of coffee consumption in the first place.”

That paragraph made me think of what people believe coffee houses are these days.

Before I dove into this whole new world of coffee, this is what I thought of coffee houses. I thought they all were more or less like Starbucks. Whatever that means. I thought that coffee houses were places for college students to come and do homework or study. I thought coffee houses were supposed to have outlets all near the tables/chairs so people could bring their laptops and surf the net.

What are coffee houses to you?

Josh:
I find it a good place for conversation. Great for talking about serious issues even though you may not usually talk about such things. But it’s certainly a place to socialize. It’s quiet like a library but not stuffy. It’s interesting because people don’t go to “donut shops” or “soda shops” to talk about things like they do at coffee shops.

Joanna:
I don’t drink coffee but I see it as mostly a social place. It used to be a date place for me and it was a major student hangout. But I don’t like the pressure to buy something. I’m either forced to buy iced tea or chai. I think they should have more non coffee drinks.

Margaret:
They are for lonely people who just want to read their US Weekly magazine,

Jenni:
I think of it as a place for people to hang out and talk.

Ok, so it looks as if coffee houses are certainly a place to hangout. I can say that with my short time at a real coffee house (I don’t think Starbucks counts and I’ll tell you why in a minute) that coffee houses to me are a place for two or more people who are totally different in age and social status can share a beverage and just talk. I’ve talked to more people at DoubleShot than I have at any other coffee shop.

Ok, why I don’t think Starbucks is a real coffee house. First let me say that I am not a part of the “I Hate Starbucks” movement. I have friends that hate Starbucks and I have friends that love Starbucks. I’m fairly indifferent but mostly because I haven’t done my homework yet to have a truly valid opinion.

A reason I don’t like Starbucks is that they won’t acknowledge that they are fast food. They are nothing more than the McDonalds of the coffee world.

A reason I like Starbucks is that if you are somewhere totally unfamiliar then you can always count on Starbucks being the same, because they are on every corner. But that’s also why I don’t like Starbucks…

I also think that the local coffee shop is like your local bike shop. I think you should support both. But only if you like their products and services obviously. Gosh, I’m certainly not the kind of person who goes to the local farmers market and only buys locally grown produce but I really enjoy my bike shop, T-Town Bicycles and I want to keep them in business. They have been good to me, they always give me a discount, and I trust them working on my bike.

Same thing with the coffee shop. Brian and Isaiah at DoubleShot have taught me a lot about coffee and I appreciate their time and the pride they put in their work. So naturally I would rather buy and support what they do.

Starbucks employee vs. Real Barista

I see the Starbucks employee as someone who just knows how to pull some levers and squirt the right amount of syrup. But I want someone who knows about coffee and who pulls real shots of espresso. The other day, I was just watching Isaiah. He poured some espresso grounds, which was ground seconds before, into the portafilter and started to tamp it. Is that the correct term? I know it’s called a tamper… Anyway, while he was “tamping” it, he noticed it was uneven. Instead of just pulling a shot like that, he duped the grounds out and tried again. I love that!

Ok, that’s enough coffee thoughts for now. Peace out!

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Awesome weekend! Hopefully this next one will be equally aweseome!

Jenni and I had a really great weekend this past weekend! We biked at Osage Hills State Park with the COTM MTB crew. That was on Saturday, also on Saturday was Josh’s birthday so a bunch of went out to eat then we went to a movie. We went to Abuelos and they have really good fajitas!

Let’s see…

Sunday was a day of sleeping in and getting things done. We had to do a lot of stuff like gas up the cars… oh, and that made the credit card company call me because they thought someone stole my credit card! There was just a ton of cleaning to do, food shopping, napping… that sort of thing.

I can’t believe it’s practically Wednesday! See, Tuesday, when work ends, is technically Wednesday.

Upcoming Events!

Ok, here are some things that are up on my calendar right now…

Friday is Bike To Work Day in Tulsa. So, if you live in Tulsa, I encourage you to bike to work. I need to get my Hardrock SS (single speed) tweaked for Friday…
http://www.tulsacommuter.com/Bike.htm

It was getting cooler, but the temps are going back up so I’m not starting a full blown bike commute just yet. Yes, I’m that wimpy.

Saturday is Turkey Mountain Trail Maintenance with the ORU kids. I think that Jenks H.S. comes out too…
So, if you are in Tulsa (yet again) come out for trail maintenance. We would love to have another hand to help cleanup the trail.

On the topic of trail maintenance, I think some people have different ideas as to what that means. Some people think that trail maintenance means removing all rocks, smoothing over roots and making the trail easy hardpack. I don’t believe that at all. I do believe in fixing trail. Perhaps water keeps eroding a section, come up with a way to create a gutter with rocks. We actually did that a year or two ago and it worked pretty well.

Well, I’m going to get going now, so I’ll talk to you later! Have a great early Wednesday!

Re: Real Coffee

An excerpt from an email from my mom:

“re your coffee musings, don’t worry, no one really cares if you are a purist or not, life’s too short to not drink coffee with sugar and cream…. nothing like caffe con leche in spain.. or cappuchino in rome… or espresso in isreal.. . its all good. so drink up whatever you like, and don’t forget you have many years to evolve your preferences…

personally, i can’t get into flavors added, but years ago, i liked them… still want the sweetner and cream… i don’t see why suffer without the extras, myself.

but standing behind the teenieboppers at starbucks who order a triple vente doubleshot mocha-caramel frappachuno with double whipped cream and jimmies…. i just wanna say, just buy a snickers bar, will ya! they are so not coffee drinkers, and they’re gonna be 300 pounds by the time they graduate…”

So that’s where I get it from…

Help Find Steve Fossett!

If you were good at “Where’s Waldo” then you’re gonna love this! If you haven’t heard of Steve Fossett, then Google him. Here’s the scoop… rich guy with a pilots license. Yup. We can’t find him. So Amazon and Google have teamed up to have you and I look for him.

http://www.mturk.com/mturk/preview?groupId=9TSZK4G35XEZJZG21T60&kw=Flash

You can use either Google Earth or Amazon will give you 300 ft by 300 ft pictures and ask you if you see anything that looks like anything. You need an Amazon account if you don’t have one though.

Good luck!

Hint: It looks like this…

"Real" Coffee

The one thing I really really hate are posers. This is pretty much anyone who is not true to what they say or do. Some examples…
– “Outdoorsey” people who buy all the North Face gear, Nalgene bottles, and titanium cookware, but never go 1 mile into the woods.
– Coffee connoisseurs who just buy mochas and frappuccinos (Ok, I like mochas, but I’m trying to expand my palate, is that spelled right?) and hang out at the coffee shops with their Mac computers.
– I know there’s another example, I just can’t remember it.

I bring this up to say that I don’t want to be a poser. I know that I’m not, but the thing I’m afraid of is being perceived as a poser. But, at the same time, I really don’t care what people think about me, especially if I know they are wrong. Ok. well maybe a little.
Here are some examples of reasons I may feel like a poser…
– I bought a really nice cross country race mountain bike and I wear spandex (most of the time) and I haven’t raced yet. In my own defense, I do plan on racing. I mean, I don’t think I’ll make podium but I just want to try it and have fun. I used to run cross country in high school and I really enjoy that feeling of racing even though I was always nervous!
– I love Nalgene bottles, fork/knife/spoon combos, and Suunto watches, but I don’t go hiking or camping every weekend. I wish I did, but I don’t really have the time.
– I have a Timbuk2 messenger bag, but I don’t act like I’m a bike messenger. Although that seems like fun, I just don’t think I could do it.
– I really enjoy coffee (although some would say that mochas aren’t coffee) but I don’t know the difference between an Ethiopian _______ and a Costa Rican _______.

What I think the difference is, is that I know that I’m not “posing” but I just enjoy these things, and I do use them as much as possible.

Ok, I had to give all that background info and examples to go to my real topic. “Real” coffee.

If you read some of my most recent posts, then you’ll know that I found this coffee shop that is just awesome! Something has inspired me to take my knowledge of coffee to a new level. But see, I don’t want to pose, so I’m not trying to say I can taste all he notes or tell what day the bean was roasted or whatever. I just want to appreciate coffee for what it is.

So, with a background of drinking mochas, my taste buds are a little tainted to say the least. I went to DoubleShot and explained my dilemma.
Isaiah, the barista at DoubleShot, understood what I was saying and hooked me up with some beans from Costa Rica, Monte Crisol I believe. I also bought a french press and a hand grinder. Basically, this is something I can take camping, or make my own coffee anywhere there is hot water.

I had two cups last night and I don’t recommend doing that late in the evening unless you wanted to stay up till 3. Then I made some in the morning and had another two cups. I think one thing I really enjoy, is the process of making the coffee. I put the beans in the grinder, cranked that thing till they were all ground up, then put them in the french press. I added the water, waited 4 minutes, then pressed down slowly pushing the grounds to the bottom. Ok, if that sound like manual labor to you, then this isn’t for you at all. But if you love the feeling of doing something yourself and doing things with your hands, then you would totally get a kick out of this! It’s so much fun that if you want a cup of coffee, come on over and I’ll make you a cup!

Alright, I’m new to this coffee thing and to really appreciate coffee, I have found that you shouldn’t “tarnish” the drink with milk or sugar. Brian, owner and barista of DoubleShot believes that adding anything is a way of covering up bad coffee. He roasts all of his own stuff and I think that it really tastes great!

What scared me when starting this new adventure was that all the memories I have of drinking coffee plain, I was about 10 years old and it probably Folgers or something. I remember it sort of because when my Dad was in Ecuador or Nicaragua my Mom told me I was the man of the house. What does the man of the house do? He drink coffee, like Daddy does. Wow, I hated it! So I never tried it again. That’s probably the first and last memory I have of drinking straight coffee.

But the coffee I had last night, didn’t make me cringe or make a funny face. I enjoyed it. Now, I won’t deny that I did want it a little sweeter but that’s just because I wasn’t used to it.

Jenni is gone for the day, taking her teaching exams so I have to find a way to occupy myself. I decided to go to DoubleShot, just to hang out. Well, I got thirsty so I asked for a mocha. They didn’t give it to me. They wouldn’t let me take it. They used some jedi mind trick to make me think I wanted a latte. No, just kidding, it’s not like that. I guess Isaiah and Brian are my coffee “accountability partners!” Anyway, the latte was good, actually really good!

Weather:
I don’t know if you know what Tulsa weather is doing, but it’s raining right now. Perfect for slowing down, relaxing, enjoying some coffee. Man I love making my own coffee! I was planning on going mountain biking today, but it’s raining. I just really want to get back on the bike.

I’m starting to rethink the DoubleShot Duathlon. I just don’t know if it’s the best thing for me for a first race. I don’t really have a problem coming in last, but it’s no fun when you do! I was talking to Brian today and he said I could shoot some video if I didn’t race in it. I don’t know… should I do it? Should I wait? All I care about is completing it. To refresh you, its running, biking, and running. Also, they say that it’s no easy thing to do. Not that that scares me, but I just want to be prepared.

So, I’m trying to kill time before Jenni comes home. She’s in like a 12 hour test, ok not that long, but it’s all day! Templeton is acting really funny. When there is just one of here, he is all sweet, but when the other one comes home, he gets super hyper and really excited to see us. Right now he’s just lying there half asleep and half watching to make sure he doesn’t miss anything fun.

Well, I’m going to get going. Let me know if you think I should do the DoubleShot Duathlon as my first race and if you have any coffee stories or special creations you wish to share, leave a comment.

Thanks for reading! This blog post was brought to you by DoubleShot Coffee; increasing your jitteriness to blog for hours!