Coffee week: 1

My husband was a tea man. He drank proper tea, from a pot, and although he was a truly and creatively dreadful cook, Noel made a better pot of tea than I did.

Coffee, though: that was all me. I have a long history with coffee. When I was putting myself through university, I worked in a coffee store called the Bean and Leaf, which sold, as one might guess, coffee beans and tea leaves. A few years later, a friend started up a coffee store in Los Gatos, and I was about the only person he knew with any actual experience with coffee apart from drinking it. So he hired me to set up and manage the store.Scan 152970001-3

(This was at the same time I was starting my theology MA, and becoming involved in a whirlwind romance with my husband. Hey, why not?)

We called the store Kaldi’s, after the mythic goatherd who noticed his goats acting particularly frisky one day after they’d been eating the red berries from a shiny-leafed bush.Scan 152970001

(My friend Ken Orrett painted a fabulous mural on the wall: goats, coffee, and dancing goatherd.)Scan 152970001-1

Kaldi gathered some of the red berries, rubbed off the outer hull, and dried them in the sun on long tarpaulins—wait, no, that was in Papua New Guinea when I was there in the eighties.Scan 152970001-2

But be it an early goatherd or highland PNG or a coffee house in Santa Cruz, the inner beans get roasted, ground, and brewed into…ahhhh.

I may drink tea that’s been brewed in “bandages,” but when it comes to coffee, I’m a purist, and a snob.

Tomorrow: JS Bach, coffee lover.

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  1. Teresa on November 2, 2015 at 7:04 am


  2. Colleen on November 2, 2015 at 7:29 am


    I can never understand when these British characters are hot and thirsty and want to slurp tea to slake their thirst. HUH?

    • Laurie King on November 2, 2015 at 7:33 am

      In fact, tea is very refreshing, although you’re right, I’m not fond of it when it’s really hot out.

    • Merrily Taylor on November 2, 2015 at 8:06 am

      I have read that the Chinese consider tea a “cooling” beverage, and believe that the way to cool off when you’re hot is to drink a hot beverage. It seems counter-intuitive but it must work for them!

  3. Barb on November 2, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Coffee—nectar of the gods or as one of my friends would say, “necktie for the gods.”

  4. Merrily Taylor on November 2, 2015 at 8:07 am

    W. C. Fields (I think) once said of a teetotaller, “Can you imagine getting up in the morning and knowing that that was as good as you were going to feel all day?” That is exactly the way I feel in regard to non-coffee drinkers!

  5. Seth Huckstead on November 2, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Oh, Laurie, my fondness for you just increases. We have a local shop here in Grand Rapids that brews coffee so well that even my wife will drink it black (she usually insists on milk). It is a privilege to drink coffee that is under the hands of not only a snob but a craftsman.

  6. Rose on November 2, 2015 at 10:56 am

    I, too, am a coffe snob. No apologies…just nothing better than a great cup of coffee!

  7. Carina Rodebak on November 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Oh, I drink tea all the time, even when it’s hot. My gardening mornings include a large pot of tea for refreshing pauses. The Chinese ‘ve got i right, it IS cooling.But then I also have milk in the cup.

  8. Diane Hendricksen on November 2, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Coffe in the morning, watching the world awaken – nothing better.

  9. Charlotte Anderson on November 3, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Depends on the occasion for me. Nothing is better than a nice cup of coffee with milk when there is a chill in the air. When I wake up with Fog Brain or am Drooping, a Latte is essential. When the temp heats up, we Texans love Sweet Tea which I learned the proper way to brew as a very young child. Momma’s secret was to “bring the water to a boil, pour over a generous amount of sugar in a glass pitcher, stir and add leaf tea. NEVER place pitcher in fridge as it will turn cloudy.” Sadly, as the years have passed my tummy can not tolerate all day imbibing of either.

  10. EvelynT on December 28, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I’m keeping coffee in reserve for when/if we have a second child…despite working in a coffee shop for several summers (the excellent Pie in the Sky in Woods Hole, MA), I still haven’t picked up the habit! My father told me drinking coffee would stunt my growth. Perhaps I still believe him…

    Would this be the same Kaldi’s that now operates in Japan, selling, in addition to coffee, all manner of imported treats (the usual sweets and condiments, but also my husband’s beloved Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, of all things)?

    • Laurie King on December 28, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Evelyn! No, this was a small single store, that is now the Los Gatos Coffee Roasters. Although it would be lovely to think of it in Japan…

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