On that coffee

I had a cup of Importin’ Joe’s Habesha coffee this morning, one of the two types I ordered, and as I was drinking it it occurred to me that I really don’t have any vocabulary for writing anything even approaching a review of a liquid. There is a little blurb on the front of the bag about what “tasting notes” to expect, and I’ll be honest: I picked up on the toffee, I guess, but other than that? It was coffee. It was good coffee, mind you, but I’m not a hundred percent sure how to go into detail about what the differences between “good coffee” and “bad coffee” are, other than that I’ve had Starbucks a couple of times and I understand what people mean when they say that Starbucks coffee tastes burnt. I have finally successfully conditioned myself to be able to drink my coffee black over the course of the last year, and so I didn’t put any additional sugar or creamer or anything like that into it. I’m not opposed to that or anything, but I figure since I can drink coffee black now I may as well drink my first few cups of this unadulterated so that I can learn what it tastes like. And yeah: it’s good stuff; I just wish I could be more elaborate than that.

What’s the best coffee you ever had? And can you tell me what made it the best coffee you ever had?

On coffee and customer service

You know this already, if you’ve been around for a while: I moved to Chicago in 1998 after graduating from college, and lived there until getting engaged and moving back home to South Bend in 2007. I loved living in Chicago, and one of the things I miss most about it even after all these years is the food. Chicago’s one of the biggest cities in the country, and (especially once you got used to getting around) you could find anything there, and most of them delivered. Thai food at 3 AM? No problem.

South Bend is not like that. Most of South Bend’s restaurants, for better or worse, are regional or national chains. We’ve got some gems sprinkled here and there (Nedderman’s Steak Place, some good teppanyaki, and a really good hole-in-the-wall Venezuelan bistro) but in general if you’re looking for quality cuisine outside of what you would expect to find in a mid-size Midwestern city you’re going to be disappointed.

I found out yesterday that we’ve recently acquired an Ethiopian coffee business. How did I find out? They brought a bunch of free coffee to work, and the secretary emailed everybody that there was free Ethiopian coffee so come get some free Ethiopian coffee, and I wasn’t at work to go get it, so the email just sort of sat there and teased me. Interesting fact: they don’t appear to have a retail footprint, but they’ve got the website, and if you’re local they bring you your coffee. If you aren’t, they’ll still ship for you.

I ordered some coffee yesterday evening at around 6:15 PM. At 6:38 I got an apologetic text message that due to the blizzard taking place outside my coffee would not be delivered that evening. So their usual standards are pizza-delivery speeds, which I feel like isn’t completely necessary for coffee. I replied to make it clear that they could take as long as they needed to; I don’t need someone sliding off the road into a ditch so I can have novel caffeine the next morning.

At any rate, I did get my coffee today, and had a weird moment with the delivery guy when we both realized the other one looked kind of familiar, but it was dark and bloody cold outside and also COVID and neither of us were masked up (side note: “masked” can autocorrect to “naked” if you aren’t careful with your typing, which would have altered the meaning of that sentence somewhat) so we did not stand outside and chatter at each other long enough to figure out where we might have known each other from. Have I consumed coffee yet? No, which might make this post premature, but I figured the whole apologetic about not bringing me coffee during a blizzard thing probably warranted its own post. Plus, dear God, I know better than to have coffee at 8:15 at night, and that’s, like, Folger’s and shit. I assume this is probably going to be a little stronger.

I’ll report back tomorrow, of course.

My Saturday so far

  • Be awakened by the boy at 7:10 AM, who informs us that he has finally lost his first tooth!  The bad news: it fell out while he was asleep and is nowhere to be found, and we are forced to reluctantly conclude that he swallowed the goddamn thing in his sleep.  We are hoping he didn’t aspirate it.
  • While drinking my cup of coffee, read P. Djéli Clark’s The Black God’s Drums from cover to cover.
  • Eat a piece of leftover birthday cake.
  • Tweet a bit.
  • Read Walter Moseley’s A Red Death from cover to cover.
  • Eat lunch
  • Shower
  • Go to the bookstore and buy even more books
  • Write a blog post
  • Begin reading Ismail Kadare’s The Traitor’s Niche.

So far, so good.

It’s 9:00 AM

I’ve eaten an avocado and done some staring.

Now there is coffee.

Good morning so far.

It’s 4:10 PM…

150814115303-16-coffee-health-super-169.jpg…and I’m making a pot of coffee.  I managed to land another two-day weekend, my second of the past eight weeks, only I didn’t know that I was getting it until showing up to OtherJob yesterday to pick up my paycheck and noticing I wasn’t on the schedule.

I am emphatically not complaining.  So far today my activities have included finishing a book I was reading and taking a long nap and not bothering to shower until 2:30, so I’m working hard.

*stares into space for literally twenty-three minutes*

*gets up and gets coffee, drinks half a cup*

So.  Yeah.

91lMPFJXUjL.jpgLet’s talk about that book for a minute, actually, although this isn’t going to rise to the level of a review:  Nemesis Games, the fifth book in James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, and the book that is, I think, finally going to get me started on buying the series in hardcover once volume 6 comes out in December.  In some ways, Nemesis is a sloppy mess of a book; I don’t know if it’s because I was trying to read it as an author or what, but it’s clear for the majority of the book that a) there’s a lot of deliberate moving around of chess pieces so that the right characters can be in the (improbably) right places for the action of the book to move forward, and b) this isn’t a book itself so much as a setup for the next book or, more likely, the next couple of books.  I feel like you can see the architecture on this one in a way you can’t with most books and you haven’t been able to in the previous four Expanse novels.

That probably sounds like a complaint, so let me follow it up by saying that Nemesis Games surprised me in a way that I haven’t been surprised since reading A Game of Thrones for the first time, and that it’s virtually impossible to talk about the book in any detail without spoiling how Corey wipes the status quo almost completely clean and throws every corner of his(*) universe into turmoil by the end of the book, only to then turn around and introduce a whole new problem in the final chapter of the book.  It’s a hell of an ambitious thing, Nemesis Games is, and even if the story wasn’t as compelling as it was I’d respect the hell out of it for what it managed to do.  My wife read it before I did, and she’s been chewing her nails for weeks waiting for me to get around to it since she wanted to talk about it and refused to tell me anything before I’d finished the book.  That’s compelling, guys.  Like I said, the book’s kind of a mess as a standalone artifact, but maybe as book 5 of what is probably a series with no planned end it doesn’t need to be.  I mean, it’s not like anyone’s starting with Book 5, right?

…you should probably read these books, is what I’m saying.  There’s a season of TV floating around out there that you should get into, too, as it’s quality stuff, even if the TV version of Amos is fighting with the Amos in my head in a way I don’t like.  My Amos is better and he needs to win.

(*) James S.A. Corey is actually two people, but saying “their” in this context feels weird.  They’re both dudes, so “he” it is.