Friday, January 20, 2012
Confessions of A Coffee Snob
So I remember when this started, and at the time, I was just a wee lad drinking coffee made in a machine. I was still getting my tolerance for the drug and would spend many a day nervous and angry. Aside from having to finish 5 term papers in 2 days, why on earth does this beverage exist?
Then a caring friend bought me a ceramic drip cup maker and some beans. It started innocuously enough, a bladed grinder and a dripper. Admittedly the coffee tasted different but took far more effort. Aside from how good it tastes, why on earth would I spend all this time making this beverage?
Then I went to Portland for a bachelor party. Man those Portland strippers are hot, but I digress. Perhaps it was the severity of the hangover, or perhaps it was the the superb graphic design, but this cup of Stumptown coffee was somehow the best thing I've ever had. But aside from being meticulously hand-crafted, why on earth should I invest in yet more coffee making equipement?
Then something happened in San Francisco. Something called Blue Bottle. Sure, this stuff is good, and sure it's got an even roast, a balanced flavor, and consistent quality. But really? Long lines, tight pants, thick-rimmed glasses, and tattoos at the coffee stands; it seems that coffee had become the new fixed gear. Why on earth would I want to deal with the levels of snobbery required to enjoy this stuff?
Two Chemex pots, a Hario V-60, and a hand burr grinder, later, I have somehow arrived at a level of coffee snobdom that I'd rather not talk about. I even took my coffee making apparati with me on vacation to Pennsylvania to make sure I'd not go without my cup of therapeutically made coffee. If you're ever in Philly, do find the Rival Bros. coffee truck, they know what's up.
Ok fine, I have a coffee budget, I don't drink Starbucks, and have gotten my coffee making process down to a science. I'm measured, timed, and, yes I will admit this, come to enjoy the activity of being late for work for my coffee. I'm now showing deep signs of addiction, not just physically, but mentally, a day does not start until the coffee is made.
Still, while the heights of coffee snobbery have nearly jumped the shark in SF, you can still get a great cup of coffee for $2. And unlike the $20 you'll need to eat a "food truck" here, good coffee can still be a sustainable habit. Even our premium roasters, like Sightglass and Four Barrel, have great bags of beans that won't cost you more than what you'll pay for a bag of beans at Starbucks.
So now that I've outed myself, let me get to the situation at hand. A couple months ago, a coffee snob friend of mine is jawing on about this coffee subscription he's getting from LA. I mean, I know they drink coffee in LA, but it's no SF. Intellegencia and Lamill are pretty good, but coffee from LA? He says it's from these two dudes doing the indie roasting thing. As an SF coffee drinker, I believe in getting beans roasted locally, I also love the Sightglass location in SOMA. Around 3p the afternoon sun turns the building across the street into a big soft box that makes for just a beautiful atmosphere for having a cup of coffee.
But I digress, it finally dawns on me that I know of a coffee subscription. Sure enough, my friend's getting these beans from the one and only, TONX coffee. I've wanted to try TONX's coffee, especially since I remember when this started. But at the time I wasn't confident I knew enough about coffee to really understand how good it was. Well, yesterday I get this box in the mail.
Immediately I recognize the name, emblazoned in Strangelove, T-O-N-X. I don't remember signing up for this? But I do remember telling Santa I like coffee! I can only guess he got my email, and let me just say, FUCK YES. I've yet to make a cup as I just got my beans for the week, but I sure am excited for next week. Updates to follow...
A note about the package. Un-boxing your TONX coffee is about as much fun as making it, great details make a great package and there are no shortage of great details here. If you're into a subscription addiction, check out tonx.org.