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this is what you shall do:: But Who Won The Roaster?

Monday, October 17, 2005

But Who Won The Roaster?

The results have been tallied. And we have a roaster winner. Tony Molinaro, friend, foe and coffee addict is the recipient of one slightly-used coffee roaster so that he may dabble in the goodness of super-freshly roasted coffee. The winning entry, and the honorable mention are below for your reading pleasure: To some, I am an oddity. This is to say, that in the world of coffee drinkers I am a late bloomer. I hit coffee-puberty in my early 30�s. I had my caffeine-cherry popped about 10 years ago. Thus, I am an oddity. I had observed that drinking and enjoying coffee comes early in one�s life and wondered why I wass not one of the �in crowd�. I observed that coffee sinks its claws in you like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction and I wanted some. Alas, I had to move to the Emerald City to learn about coffee. So now, I am a coffee-drinking oddity and Seattle clich�. Learning to drink and enjoy coffee later in life is like learning to eat and like sushi. You start safe and move on from there. Seattle is a safe place to start drinking coffee. It is safe to order a caramel, non-fat, mocha latte with sprinkles. It is safe to get an eggnog latte in October. It is safe to drink steamed milk with honey sans coffee, but drink it in a coffee shop. No one judges the awkward coffee rookie in the Northwest. So, from the moment I arrived in Seattle I felt the great barista�s arms wrap around me and tell me everything was going to be okay. You see, the aroma of coffee is embedded in the city. Every restaurant, every store, every bar smells like fresh brewed coffee. There are more coffee carts per capita in Seattle than bathrooms. On any given intersection you could have two Starbucks, a Tullys and Seattle�s Best Coffee to choose from. You can imagine, from the start, I was like a teenager and they were �Joe Camel� saying �SMOKE ME!�. The coffee corporations sucked me in and I went gladly. Everyone remembers their first time. Mine is no different. It was in an Asian deli located in the lobby of the office building I worked (remember, this is Seattle, good coffee shops are as easy to find as good Mexican food in Denver). I walked in, the clerk didn�t speak intelligible English and I ordered a large mocha (have you ever noticed how fun it is to say, �Moooochaaaaa�?). The Mocha came. I drank it immediately. I overdosed on caffeine. Sweet and simple. But, I liked it. I only lived in Seattle for a year, then moved back to Denver. But my coffee adventure continued. I experienced both highs and lows. The highs came while sitting at St. Marks downtown (now gone) or enjoying a fall day outside at the little coffee shop across from Zorba�s (old gas station turned coffee nirvana). Not only did I experience caffeine highs, but the caffeine induced emotional highs as well. I am not proud of the lows, however. For a couple of years I fully enjoyed the convenience store machine mocha latte things. I even knew they were made from powder and water, which is one step below instant coffee, but I loved them and they were cheap. Then came the frozen coffee slushies, frappachinos, polar bears, you name it. Everyone had some sort of frozen, sugary, coffee goodness. Slushies had gone totally java. Brain freeze is great when wired. Eventually, I learned about all sorts of coffee variations from the experts. Little Donnie showed me the non-acidic, cold-brewed coffee variation. R-Dub showed us all the joys of fresh roasting beans just before brewing a fresh pot of coffee. There has been Cubano coffee in Miami, Taster�s Choice brewed on a campfire and Breakfast King coffee in a dirty cup (the only way). But, I believe I have matured to a settled norm. My norm is to get up every morning, grind some coffee beans bought from Albertsons, put the grind and some water in the trusty Sunbeam, let it brew its magic, pour it into my Joe Boxer coffee mug (joe boxer � boxer shorts and more), add in liquid creamer magic and voila! I am saved from the caffeine withdrawal headache for one more day. The sad thing is that I know I will have to give up coffee someday. Caffeine is on some mysterious Hit List that finds the causes of all things evil and bans them or makes them cause cancer. So, I believe since I was a late bloomer, I get to drink double the coffee to catch up to the rest of you addicts. As for why I drink coffee and the benefits it has on my life, you might say, �He drinks to fit in.� or �It makes him the life of the party.� I say, I�m still in denial about the whole thing. So, God bless Juan Garcia Alonzo Hermenez Rodriquez Blanco Valdez. �Ground control to Major Tony. Take your caffeine pills and turn the Sunbeam on.� Tony out. Honorable Mention: Submitted by Lono Alan Coffee was just 19 years old the first time I met him. He was a husky built kid, with a poorly put together face. He knocked on my door on a crisp October morning, arising me from my slumber at 11:30 am. He asked if I had a cat. I explained that I did, and that he was right behind me on the couch. I gestured that direction so the lad could see I did in fact possess a cat. He then replied: well, I am gonna blow this one up and wanted to know if your cat wanted to watch. What the fuck? You are going to kill a cat, and you want to know if my cat wants to watch? Dude, are you for real? I assure you, in retrospect, Alan was very much for real. He had explained how cats had ruined his life. His mother was bit by a feral cat when Alan was just a wee lad. The feral cat had rabies which worsened an already bad case of fungoid� and it cost her life. Alan's father obviously then went to find the feral cat and shoot it. He was arrested for discharging a fire arm in city limits. Long story short, Alan's father died of lung cancer that fall. Alan never forgave the cat, or any cat. Alan spent his time and money traveling around the country and murdering cats. "Not for sport, though" Alan assured me "that would be nuts". Anyhow, I would go along with it every time because I had nothing better to do. My parents had run off with the Republican circus. Yes, that is another story for another time. Mostly, I was just bored and directionless. I remember I asked my mother briefly on a visit through town what she thought about killing cats for sport. She said "as long as you make a profit, there is no crime. Especially if you are white." I still don't know what that means, but it creeps me out. So, I finally decided might as well kill cats. Then, after a long day of killing cats I was pooped. I stopped into the local grocery store and mentioned how tired I was from killing cats all day. You'd be surprised how little a reaction that sentence garners from people. They must have thought it was an expression or euphemism for something else. This very attractive gal named Carl told me to try some coffee. She said that is how she gets through long days of 'killing cats' (again, I think she was really missing the literality of my comment on cat killing'. She made me a $7 coffee that changed my life. That day I didn't sleep for about three days. I was goofed on caffeine. Being awake for three days really gives a guy a chance to think about things. It began to occur to me that maybe killing cats was mean and pointless. Laying in a cold panic sweat on that second night, I resolved to change my life and become a good person. I made a deal with God that night. I said: God, if you just let me get some sleep, I will dedicate my life to the church. Guess what? God didn't answer. It was one of a series of grave disappointments with organized religion I would come to experience in my life. So, not getting any sleep that night� I knew this much: I wasn't going to help the church. So, I started drinking a lot of coffee and decided where my time could best be used. Killing cats was surely out. So, I fell in with this group at the coffee shop that met there on Mondays. They, um� we, are called the �Literati�. What we do it collect and distribute refuse to public parks and highways. To date, we have dumped just over 23,000 pounds of trash. What this does is spur job growth economic stuff that makes jobs. To be honest, I am not quite sure how that part works. Our leader, Messiahyama, claims that only through means such as this will the �patriarchal society�. He explained to me that the fascist dictator style of leadership through terror will come to an end. As you may imagine, he drinks a lot of coffee. So, I just wanted to close this letter with good wishes. Know that I am doing fine in Denver, and look forward to seeing the kids this Christmas.