My dream coffee joint?
Yeah, I’ve gotten a bit mouthy about coffee lately. I won’t mention the particular indie coffee establishment that royally pissed me off the other night, because I’m across town at Temple right now, enjoying a fine cuppa while typing this. And I’m not talking about Naked, either. You do the math.
There are plenty of places to buy a good cup of coffee in this town. That said, no one has gotten the equation entirely correct, in my humble opinion.
It’s one thing to serve up a great cup. But unless it’s got some special characteristic, like the beans are eaten by civet cats and then crapped out, washed off, roasted and ground, I don’t need to hear all the wine-snob particulars. Yeah, you can tell me which particular cabernet or beaujolais equivalent from Sulawesi or Nicaragua or wherever I’m about to sip, but me? I don’t give a shit. I want someone to say: This is some good coffee. And in my dream joint, coffee snobbery will be openly snarked upon.
Next, food. This is where Temple falls down: not a lot in the munchies department. Naked’s a bit better. That joint that shall not be named is even better, despite charging like six bucks for a bowl of granola with yogurt, but their coffee comes up a distant third compared to Naked and Temple, fourth if you count Peet’s, and just barely ahead of Starbucks — which is kinda like saying that orange tabby pee tastes better than manx whiz. So in my dream joint, more chow options. I might hire a Punjabi samosa genius to come up with some Indian munchables, maybe. And my granola would contain fresh fruit and would be under five bucks, and I would have a big pot of oatmeal going until after two every day, because porridge is life, and I would be generous with the brown sugar and dried fruit and nuts. That’s just me. I’m Scottish, and I take porridge seriously. Oh, and apple pie every day. Cherry, too.
Next, and here’s where these local indie coffee joints blow it: I would get a promotional waiver from all the local music acts who want their music featured, and I would program only local music. There’s so much great stuff being produced in this town, or if you want to factor in other places from Nevada City to the coast, too, that you don’t need to sign on with one of these bullshit foreground music services or satellite radio stations. This is one reason I’m really bummed out that True Love Coffeehouse didn’t make it. I wish I was wealthy, because I would have subsidized Kevin and Allyson until they made it work. They had a great idea, I thought. And, dammit, I miss The Waffle King, and wish we still had late-night waffles on demand in this town.
If you’re programming local music, you have the opportunity to stage it, too. So I’d have a nice little music venue, kinda like Naked’s new room at 11th and H, but I might be slightly more aggressive about booking local acts, in many genres, and mixed together old-school Bill Graham style, too. I’d also feature lots of local visual artists’ work, both on the walls and as an active component of my graphic identity and advertising.
Of course, I’d have a great place to kick back, too. But that’s a no brainer that most people get already. My furniture would be straight out of Robert Crumb’s comics pages, because I like things rounded for comfort. Not that I don’t mind smart angularity, either.
You know, none of these are original ideas, and some of them are already put into service by our local coffee entrepreneurs. But no one is putting the whole ball of wax together, in my opinion. And no one is really putting forward a cohesive identity that takes advantage of our formidable local strengths in art and music.
Ah, what do I know? I’ll shut up now. —Jackson Griffith
P.S.: Blinding flash of “duh,” courtesy of William Burg on Facebook: Yeah. Open late. Coffee joints that close at 11 are useless to night owls. At least 1 a.m., maybe later. A 24-hour joint might be cool, too, no?