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reviewed the Ground

5 reviews · 6 followers · 4 years ago

Haida Gwaii man. The beginning and end of the world. Ancient times and the modern day, walking down the gravel street together. From rare fragments of paper written down by some of the early Euros from late 1800s to around 1905 (before Beanhunter was even a website) we have some foggy descriptions of what life used to be like here. People were ripped. Kids sprinted across barnacled rocks on the beaches and swam in the November kelp waves for fun. All food was oil based and cedar flavored. Indoor life happened in massive dark barns, deep deep dream stories around fires, eternal and legit, no wedge driven between "art" and "everything else". Then smallpox and christianity. Not a ton of time has passed but the generations since that eternity have been a roller coaster. It seems like people are hanging on to the thread, waking up in new ways with the same dream stories on the tongue. I'm just some Euro from America so who am I opening my mouth? But I got to go there and walk around like a shy fan, of the rich past and of the foghills themselves, and also of the echoing present, even whatever regular dudes in pissed pants begging for help on the rough street. I walked into The Ground, a perfectly great coffeeshop in an old house, and tried not to look too much like a reverent fan of the older Haida folks, men mostly, sitting around in polar fleece talking quietly (but mostly not talking). It's super weird of me, I know. But what do I do with this appreciation? An awareness of the place's specific past cultural wealth makes me hushed and observant, even of the brutalized but slowly recovering present. Weird white tourist. The Ground seems to be the place to sit in Masset, perhaps a universal impulse, not necessarily Haida at all. I indulge the mind and think about the past. But today it's the type of place where they'll put an apostrophe after the day of the week, like "Open Sunday's". The muffin was good. The kids making espresso were sharp. Bean is global.

reviewed Market Coffee

5 reviews · 6 followers · 4 years ago

What even is Bean? What does it mean "to sip the sacred brown"? How do we live with these mysteries, waking each day to walk among them, succumbing every evening to sleep without any satisfaction of answer. Bean is joe. American good morning. Hot area. Holding the hot area in your hand. Blinking one, two, three times after each sip and letting the mouthfeel putrefy even while the mind sharpens. And then over the edge beyond sharpness into an exaggeration of clarity, too much bloodflow. The sacred brown has limits and will bite back. The second most popular grocery store in Anacortes has an unpopular coffeeshop appendage, formerly a starbucks but demoted (if you can continue downstairs from there) to the generic sounding "Market Coffee", but retaining the font of S.B.s. I almost drank coffee there once as a prank on myself but pulled up at the last second. I have seen all types after-hours sipping their wifi through the window. Make your joe at home.

reviewed Olympia Coffee Roasting Company

5 reviews · 6 followers · 4 years ago

My buddy Carson used to work at the downtown one. In fact I think the whole reason he moved from Tacoma was to work at Olympia Coffee Roasters. But then he lost interest in coffee and got into carpentry (he's very young). He also lost interest in music and started going to bed early. Now he's super into fishing. It's sort of like the teen who has a closet with like a karate suit, a drum set, snow shoes, etc. Various phases. In any case, he's still really into fishing in a legit way. I'm not sure if the downtown one is still even going. I suppose it probably is. When I lived in Olympia a place called Bread & Roses was right there, doing dinners for the homeless. This was back when the old Safeway was across 4th, where the new city hall building is. The Safeway where Khaela got busted shoplifting fried chicken in her pocket, and she was supposedly vegetarian. We threw away some couches in that Safeway dumpster, dressed in black at night, creeping over from the Track House. As for the coffee, yeah they're great, but it took me a while to come around to Olympia Coffee Roasters because when they first started B&B was the thing, and Oly had a corny logo, but then tastes changed, both mine and in general. I don't remember how it all switched from always "double short americano" to "ooh which plantation are these beans from?" but it did. I stopped putting milk in my coffee and started sipping weaker more flavorful joe, usually from Olympia Coffee Roasters. I know they're more serious about it than I ever will be (hopefully). Possibly some connection with that Espresso Parts warehouse business? Serious dweebs, making the sacred brown. I am happy to benefit from the obsessive passion of dweebs like this. I don't go to Olympia that much any more but I still order beans from them through the mail occasionally, which seems crazy. If my child-self knew that at 36 I'd be ordering high-end coffee beans through the mail I would probably make fun of that ridiculous adult.

reviewed Industrious Industries

5 reviews · 6 followers · 4 years ago

Industrious Industries seems to be an art gallery and graphic design place. You walk in, there's a couple of beautiful chairs and a potted plant, a ragged crate containing books, and then behind a burnt half-wall there are 2 massive computer monitors. Warning: the computers conceal men. It's a small place and your presence will immediately be known, although you may not know about the men. Consider yourself warned. They will pop out and spook you. The thing is, it's a graphic design place. Why is there a full-on espresso machine behind the 2 men? What's up with that mini-fridge? When one of the men goes into a darkened back alcove and emerges with a ziploc baggie full of beans, what is going on? I'll tell you: they are 2 men who are passionate about coffee and want to drink the finest possible coffee while they design their graphics. They installed all this stuff just to have excellent coffee for themselves. But I am not a graphic designer. I'm just a guy who sometimes goes in there to say hello. How have I consumed all this fine joe there? I just say "yes" when asked "You want a coffee?" Then one of them makes me a basically perfect coffee drink and I sit there in the extremely nice chair, or sometimes I go behind the half-wall and sit on the metal stool and we chat about various topics. Sometimes our conversation doesn't even have anything to do with graphic design. But what about the beans? Is there a great coffee roaster in Anacortes? Not really. I recently discovered that one of the men has been purchasing "green" coffee from various hot places around the world and then roasting them in a garage somewhere in Anacortes, just to drink. It's possible that bags of coffee are available on an unofficial "beans for cash" barter system. It's not a coffee business, but it is most certainly the place to go to get the best coffee within ~50 miles. I guess you just go in, stand around awkwardly and wait to be offered a coffee. Secret code answer: "yes."

reviewed The Cafeotheque of Paris

5 reviews · 6 followers · 8 years ago

I wasn't fully intending to go here. It's kind of a long story. I visited a great place in Dublin and asked if they knew of a good website that served as a directory of excellent coffee places for the traveling fellow like me. I'm on tour right now in Europe and seeking exciting coffees is a good way to pass the time when there is any extra time to pass. I realize there are probably better distractions to be had in Europe but honestly I've toured here enough times that unfortunately I'm kind of jaded, not interested in seeing the Eiffel Tower again, or whatever. (I realize I sound ridiculous right now.) A momentary incredible coffee can be the type of thrilling moment that improves the experience for many adjacent days. So, anyways, I asked these dudes in Dublin and they wrote down a list of their friends from the competitive international barista world and where I could find them (around Europe and some in LA). I didn't intend to get as nerdy or borderline elitist annoying, but whatever, an amazing coffee is worth it. At this point I am happy to fully immerse in the world of ridiculous terminology and the fetish items of pourover gear and airpresses and so on, as long as there is a new exciting taste to be had. One of the places they directed me to was The Cafeotheque in Paris. A week or so later we were in Paris and I had a couple hours before the show so I rode the metro to the area where the cafe (and Notre Dame, and the Louvre, and plenty of other non-coffee-related stuff is). After some looking I found the place, but as I walked up to the door I saw it was closed for renovation! and my time was up. I had to get back to the show. I actually did need a coffee so I slammed one at this tourist place around the corner (kind of typical gnarly scorched french style espresso). As I was walking back towards the metro by The Cafeotheque I saw that their temporary location during construction was actually just around the corner! But I already had a coffee in me. Whatever. I was there. I did it. I went in and had a second consecutive coffee. I asked in horrible scrambled french for "cafe filtre" which seemed to be the "pour over" option. I wasn't given a choice of beans or anything like many places that cater to "single origin" style fine coffees often offer. It was just the beans they had that day, which were "single origin" although I can't remember the name of where they were from. Columbia somewhere. I sat down and waited and took off my glasses and chilled out from all that rushing in the street. The temporary location on the side street was actually pretty nice. School kids walking by, people on bikes, shade, etc. There were workers coming and going in the place because of the renovations, but no actual work going on. Just estimates or something I guess. The coffee came, a pretty small cup, like 10 oz., on a plate with a small water next to it. It was definitely the best coffee I've ever had in France, but still it had the signature harsh over-roasted taste that seems to exist in all the coffee in France. I guess that's what "french roast" is. It was a little disappointing to have these beans that I could tell were incredible and fruity and rich tainted by the french brutal darkness. Still, it was the best french coffee I've had. It was not harsh by french standards. Just by fine pour over tasting standards. I drank it kind of fast because it was small and I was in a hurry, then I got back on the metro and went to the show. I plan to visit some of the other places those guys in Dublin directed me to, but now that I've found this website I'll also be consulting it for some guidance. I realize that this "review" is more of an essay, kind of ridiculous, especially since basically I'm saying "the coffee was OK". I just wanted to paint a complete picture.

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