blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Monday, July 11, 2005

coffee guru

He throws away the first shot of the morning. Because the water that sits in the machine overnight loses its vitality. His favorite cup is a sturdy, deep glossy royal blue ceramic cup that most would consider too large for espresso. But it works for Carl. Many have been unknowingly entranced by the way he drinks coffee, including me. I started off drinking his coffee from afar; he was a voice on the telephone that called to find out the day’s deposit. When I closed the store for the night, I would always take a large cup home with me, savoring it as I drove home. The day I tasted the first cup that he made for me himself, I can’t remember if it was morning, evening or afternoon. Bold, strong, complex, rich, served in hand painted provincial French porcelain cup and striped saucer; he made it in an old-fashioned Italian espresso maker on the stove-top and married it with warm cream. Effortless for him, it was just part of his coffee repertoire, but life changing for me. The taste answered dire yet unarticulated questions about courage and the mystery of life’s possibilities and began a relationship with those principles.

Each of us who answers the phone at the Roastery has taken a call from a customer who has been unknowingly entranced. The caller is usually a bit bewildered, astonished at the fact that they are calling at all, but they are compelled to do so by the unusual and remarkable quality that they have noticed in the coffee. Each caller uses different words, “the best coffee I have ever tasted, outstanding, awesome,” but the net effect is the same. We say thank you, maybe make a note of it, and go on with our day knowing that another person has been bitten; by what, even they don’t know.


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