December 20, 2014

Not So Small Pleasures

I was going to write a little bit about the small pleasures in life and how important it is to stop and appreciate them. This had occurred to me as I sat down to a fabulous cup of coffee the other morning. But then I realized that my coffee isn’t a small pleasure at all. In fact it’s rather large.

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I have always loved my coffee. A young adult in Seattle, I cut my teeth on Starbucks, back when it was a tiny (and great) boutique roaster in the Farmer’s Market. Coffee has been a grounding force when life tossed me challenges. It’s acted as something of a character in my life—an old friendship studded with memory and ritual. No, no small thing.

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But recently I’d become marginally aware that I’d allowed some of the mystique between my coffee and me to slide a bit. You know how that happens, right? I was taking it for granted. It had become just a part of my morning routine—something I didn’t notice quite as much as I once had. I’d been considering this when something stunning happened. Kim (see previous post A Very Mini Artist’s Colony in New Mexico) made me a cup of HIS coffee. What a revelation!

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His is an Italian coffee that’s been in his life since the days, decades ago, when he lived in Italy. It is, specifically, LavAzza Premium Drip Coffee, “Italy’s Favorite Coffee Since 1895,” a GROUND coffee. Ground coffee? I haven’t bought ground coffee in as long as I can remember… longer even. But it turns out that the grind is an important part of this coffee—it’s integral, in fact, to getting every last drop of flavor from the stuff.

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The can (wait a minute, the CAN? What parallel universe have I been dropped into here? Coffee doesn’t come in a can. It comes in handsome bags with beautiful graphics, right?) says it is a “drip” coffee. But Kim made it for me in a French press and there is simply no other way. I tried it in my drip pot and it was completely unacceptable. But Kim’s cup was divine, scrumptious, there aren’t enough words to tell you how superb this coffee is when it’s made right. And “right” is in a French press. Period. End of story.

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A piece of sad news: just as I have discovered this superbly flavorful coffee—a coffee that awakens my senses every morning, a coffee that transports me to Tuscany with every sip, it is being discontinued. The roaster in Italy is no longer roasting it. I am sick. Imagine how Kim feels after his 30 year affair. We are both disappointed to say the least. So we’ve each bought as many cases as we can justify and are hoping against hope that the roaster will have a change of heart.

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And, oh yeah, during that great road trip to Las Vegas, New Mexico awhile back (see previous post On the Road in New Mexico: The OTHER Las Vegas) I found the perfect coffee mugs in an antique store there. They have horses pulling a covered wagon across their rim. Cool, huh?

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So the life blood has come back to my morning coffee. It has once again been elevated to a ritual of some exquisite importance. I am engaged. I care. And, LavAzza, I adore you, and that is certainly no small pleasure.

Love to you all,

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