The ‘self-indulgence’ category

On Single-Origins Beans and Ponybuns

March 2nd, 2017

Jon Drinking Java

One way in which I am a shameless hipster is that I love expensive precious coffee drinks. Come to think of it, that’s also a way in which my husband is a shameless hipster, but in his case, it is definitely the only way. And even in this way, he refuses to conform. For instance, while most hipster coffee shops these days are slow-pouring single-origin beans into retro white diner cups without a whiff of a care whether the customer might need to get somewhere today, my husband is just looking for a decent cup of black coffee to go.

Recent conversation I was a bystander for at one of the only coffee shops in Salt Lake City where you might sight a pony bun:

My husband, perusing the embossed menu of coffee drinks on textured card stock: What does it mean when it says things like “rose” and “cacao”? Are those additions to the drink?

Disaffected barista: No. Those are the flavor notes. 

My husband, incredulously: Flavor notes? Don’t you just have like, a French roast?

Horrified barista: We don’t serve French roast because it’s terrible. 

Husband: I like it.

Smug barista: Oh do you also like the flavor of burnt marshmallows then?

My husband, not getting the snotty vibe, and probably fantasizing about how we’ll go camping one day in a VW  van with our kids: Yes!

If you yourself are a disaffected barista, you’ve probably already written my husband off as a cretan. However, let me just tell you that this man, even with 2-year-old twins and no sleep ever, hand-grinds his own beans in a porcelain grinder every morning and then measures the temperature of his water before slowly pouring it into his AeropressTM. All for like a quarter cup of coffee. 

In this way he supersedes even me in terms of java pickiness. First thing in the morning, I’m good with an old-fashioned French press full of Blue Bottle or Lighthouse beans — even subpar blends.

I do periodically go through bourgie arcs of coffee particularity where I’m fattening up my morning brew with grass-fed butter or only drinking New Orleans–style cold-brew made with organic chicory mail-ordered from Frontier Herbs. Lately, though, I’ve been guiltily digging normal coffee with cream and honey. It’s local honey, though? 

I was recently in San Francisco for work, and had the joyous experience of going to not one but three of my favorite coffee shops there — The Mill on Divisadero, the Blue Bottle walk-up in the Ferry Building, and Rustic Bakery in Larkspur — as well as a new hipster spot on California called B-Patisserie. I was in heaven (and also very, very hyper for a few days).

Now I am back in suburban Utah begging my husband to prepare me a tiny little cup in his AeropressTM. He is for sure the best barista I know in this state, even if he sometimes buys his beans at, shudder, Starbucks.

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