I've had more than one person tell me, "I've never seen you without coffee in your hand." It's true. It's my vice, my love, my ritual. I've worked in coffee (and quickly found that I suck at it, I'm way better as a consumer), spent countless hours being the Person That Hangs Out in Coffee Shops, and regularly feel guilty that I spend more money on coffee than groceries.
About a month ago, I went to six coffee shops in the span of four hours. While this may not be seen as unusual behavior for me, there was a specific purpose: I was a willing (see also: greedy) participant in the first-ever Sacramento Caffeine Crawl. And now that I have, about a month later, finally recovered from the caffeine levels and excitement of that day, I can say that I learned a few things from the Caffeine Crawl.
- It's exactly like a pub crawl, only you learn things, don't get drunk, and won't get a DUI.
- Zipping around town in pursuit of caffeine is surprisingly exhausting. And some of these people were on bikes!
- There is such a thing as too many free samples. Apparently, I have a limit. It's OK to Just Say No, especially when it's starting to feel like your heart is trying to strangle your brain.
- I met a lot of fellow coffee-lovers and had some excellent conversations. I haven't seen a single one of them since. Either they were my version of the "single-serve friends" Tyler Durden talked about on Fight Club or they're all hiding from me. Either is possible.
And last week was Specialty Coffee Week. Sacramento recently landed itself on a top 10 list for Best Cities for Coffee Snobs. In fact, my zip code has the highest concentration of indie coffee shops/roasters in the city (95814 represent!). I knew I moved here for a reason...
But here's where I fail.
I didn't do anything for Specialty Coffee Week. Nada. Zip. I mean, I bought my daily iced mocha at Temple or Chocolate Fish or wherever. I was invited to sip a coffee stout here, a complimentary coffee-influenced dessert there. But I just didn't do it. Why, dear reader? Why did I fail during what should have been the most exciting week for me, ever?
I say: I have to draw the line somewhere. I'm not a professional. I'm easily overwhelmed I can only drink so many samples of the latest roast from Colombia before I start to get a little frenetic and like I need to find a bathroom immediately, lest I get myself banned from Old Soul for peeing on their floor.
I'm just getting old. I'm pretty set in my routines. I'll drink my coffee and call it a day. When I was a kid I remember waking to the sound of my parents making their daily pot of Folger's: running water, the clink of the glass pot against the water reservoir, the bubbling as it boiled the water and filtered it through the grounds and dripped steadily into the pot. The skunky smell that I hated. Then the sizzle as the last few drops hit the hot burner when the pot was taken out a little too early. That was comfort, that was home.
Yes, I like my routines just fine. I love that I live in a city full of coffee opportunities. But sometimes I face the fact that I can't keep up with the Java Jones's. Anyone want to go for an iced mocha?