A new cafe opened up in Oakland, mere minutes away from work. The cafe advertised the fact that they were using the beans of a local, popular coffee roaster. Not going to lie to you folks, I was excited about yet another coffee place opening up within walking distance to work.
So I went to check out this cafe and, well, yeah.
As the barista was making my mocha, I couldn’t help but watch to check his methods out*. He didn’t worry me as much as the espresso machine did. It sat on a table that shook every time the machine was even touched so you can imagine the kind of swaying this thing was making when someone was actively trying to coerce a shot of espresso out of it. And then I realized, the machine wasn’t even a La Marzocco! What were they thinking?
Wait a sec. When did I actually care about the brand of espresso machine a cafe had?
I mean, seriously! Let me take you back to a time…
My beginnings into the coffee world are actually quite humble. I always liked the taste and got an occasional mocha in college. I was quite happy with Starbucks and also looked forward to Wednesdays when the university cafe’s coffee of the day was vanilla cream coffee, which I got mixed in with their hot chocolate. I couldn’t do much more because of my lack of funds. I got coffee maybe once or twice a week and I wasn’t picky.
Little by little though, the coffee snob in me started to emerge, especially since I started my job in Oakland. Now, I have become a bit more annoying when it comes to all things coffee. Even though Starbucks is just across the street from work, I go out of my way to go to the cafes with premium coffee. There are four places that are on the coffee rotation:
-Awaken Cafe – before, this was a small cafe and now it’s a coffee cart while their full-fledged cafe is slated to open later this month (I’m so excited!)
-Blue Bottle Coffee – If there’s enough time and the weather is nice enough for a walk.
Fortunately, I have a coffee partner-in-crime at work who is as interested in coffee as I am and willing to make these coffee jaunts.
The new cafe mentioned at the beginning of this post didn’t make the Oakland cafe rotation. Maybe I’ll give it another try in a couple of months when they’ve had time to work out their issues. I’ve got my hands full anyways trying to learn the names of everyone at the cafes I already frequent**.
As for now, I still have a ways to go to reach maximum heights in coffee snobbery. I can’t tell you whether I prefer Guatemala beans over Colombian ones or which beans are the most floral. I can tell you though that I’ve definitely noticed a difference when it comes to getting a coffee at one of these places versus any other place that doesn’t take its coffee quite as seriously. So please feel free to get your coffee wherever you want, it’s all good, just don’t make fun of me when I go out of my way to get a nice cup o’ joe :)
*My friend said I stared at the guy and the machine with a “laser-like” intensity as he was making my drink. In the end, my mocha was only ok, my friend’s french pressed coffee elicited an “ew” from her and the latte we brought back to work for a coworker apparently tasted more like the cup than it did coffee. *sigh* and d’oh.
**Fun fact – Baristas get a bit weirded out when you greet them by their name.