Thursday, April 03, 2014

Lust for Life

A couple weeks ago I had a tough decision to make when my bag of coffee beans reached its untimely end:  Buy more now or wait to buy more?  I realize that's not a tough decision at all, and it probably sounds really stupid.  You run out of coffee beans, you buy more coffee beans right now because if tomorrow morning comes and there's no coffee in the house, you'll be frantically scrambling for a way to avoid the dreaded caffeine-withdrawl headache at all costs.

But as I stared down the barrel of the empty coffee bag, the consideration of my impending business trip made me think twice about being mindlessly drawn as if through a tractor beam to my local bean provider to secure coffee for another couple weeks.  I'd be gone for 11 days - plus the 4 days until I departed.  For a coffee purist like myself (don't get any wise ideas about calling me a coffee snob), that's a little too long to let good beans sit around.  So I decided to put off the bean purchase until I returned from the trip.

It started off simply enough.  The first morning I just looked to our box of teas in the pantry to fill the caffeine void.  Because the wifey only drinks decaf teas, there should be plenty of remaining caffeinated options.  And there were.  Options like tea labeled "Best consumed before 2012".  I grabbed a caramel vanilla black tea and steeped it for as long as I could take before needing a fix.  It was tasty, but not satisfying, and an hour later I could sense the subtle notes of a headache creeping in.  Fortunately I knew we needed groceries from Trader Joe's, and TJ's always has the pot of complimentary coffee in the middle of our neighborhood store.  Caffeine-withdrawl headache day one averted.

Now that I had the Trader Joe's option in my back pocket, the next two mornings were crafted around visits to TJ's to buy one or two items.  All the while sneaking back to the coffee pot to fill up those little tiny dixie-sized cups that don't amount to the volume in a regular ceramic mug.  Unless you go back several times trying not to draw the attention of the employee making samples of gluten-free vanilla granola submerged in whipped cream and organic strawberries.  Hello again!  Slurp.  I told a co-worker of mine about my borderline homeless person behavior, and he said I displayed traits more like a junkie.

On the final day before departure, my coffee sneaking paranoia got the best of me after I had visited the last of the Trader Joe's in my area.  So I was struck by the brilliant idea of killing three birds with one stone by visiting a studio where I've freelanced in the past year. I could grab a cup of coffee while visiting with the Executive Producer, meanwhile giving my money to a betting pool surrounding a certain sporting event which happens mostly in March but continues into April.  It's a donation really.  There's no expectation of ever seeing that money again.  I finished my visit, put the coffee mug down and walked out with a caffeinated bounce in my step, knowing that I'd made it through the final morning at home without having bought a new bag of coffee beans.

The next cup of coffee landed at my tray on the airplane after my brief runway-wobbling induced nap.  I was traveling to the land of coffee, so I knew the next 11 days would be a snap.  As I reached the last day of the trip, I reminded myself several times that I needed to buy beans.  I stopped into my favorite coffee roaster away from home and requested the same bag of beans I bought last time I was in town:  Harar.  The barista said "Oh the light roast?"  The last time I bought Harar it was medium roast.  I said "Is it light?  I thought it was medium."  She replied "No it's light.  If you want medium you should buy the Sumatra."  So I bought a pound of it.  The next morning at home I opened the bag and it was dark roast.  The bulging bag of Sumatra makes me pine for the days of my junkie visits to Trader Joe's.