Sunday, January 3, 2010

Life is too short for bad coffee

Living in Vienna, Austria in 2008 ruined me for life when it comes to coffee (and chocolate, too, but I'll save that for another blog entry.) There is something about the coffee in Vienna. I used to ask my Viennese friends and co-workers: What makes the coffee here so special? Some said it was the coffee itself, or the roasting of it. Others said that it's actually good water that makes good coffee, and they pointed to the fact that Vienna's tap water comes not from "ordinary city water" but directly from mountain springs in the Vienna Woods. (I can attest to the excellent taste of the tap water!) Still others would say that coffee's history in Vienna is what makes it so special. Vienna was, after all, "the place" where Europeans were introduced to coffee (brought by the invading Ottoman army.)

All I know is, I can no longer drink ordinary run-of-the-mill coffee. I have to have the good stuff. For at least six months after I returned, I had to order my coffee online from Austrian Grocery. It cost something like $25 per 500g package, but I didn't care. I would order 4 packs at a time, usually in 7 days or less, a cute little yellow Austria Post box would arrive at my doorstep. Oh, happy day!

When my Viennese co-workers come to Indy for business, some of them bring me a pack or two of my favorites (Meinl President, Meinl Jubilee, and Eduscho Wiener Melange) Oh, happier day when that happens, because the beans in those packs are always fresher than the ones I ordered online.

Alas, I have found a place to get great beans here locally, from my friend Bj's coffee shop on the west side - Bjava Coffee and Tea. Bj has always been able to make my absolute favorite espresso drink anywhere on Earth (the honey bee latte, with soy milk), but she also gets premium beans from the world's finest coffee-growing areas, and roasts them right there in her own shop! And Bj always has something good cooking, whether it's her famous Friday morning cinnamon rolls and other baked goods, or her amazing breakfast and lunch sandwiches. The tea's great too - in fact, the Gunpowder Green is my tea-drinking nephew's favorite. Those of you in the Indianapolis area, please check out Bjava at 5510 Lafayette Road, just off I-65 (Lafayette Road exit).

But I digress.

I just spent a week on the family farm in North Carolina, where I was forced to drink "ordinary" coffee (that's right! A gun was held to my head to make me drink it! OK, not really.) I know, I know. I should have taken some of my stash with me. But I forgot. Anyway, no offense to Mom and Dad (I love you!) but what I learned is - I'm still very spoiled when it comes to coffee.

As I move toward a more simple life per my very vague New Year's Resolution, I realize I'll be giving up many luxuries. The one thing I don't think I'll be able to give up, though, is good coffee. Quite honestly, I think I'd rather give it up altogether, than drink the bad stuff.