It’s a little bit pathetic how excited I get at the prospect of a ‘free’ gift.
When the professor and I bought our first home in Minneapolis, many centuries ago, the (slightly inept) mortgage broker gave us a cheap wicker basket filled with….pretzels and a few other unremarkable items. It was wrapped in cellophane and presented to us at closing. I was ecstatic: a free (ugly!) basket filled with things (I don’t even like to eat)! Worth less than .0001% of our mortgage. What remarkable luck!
Fast forward thirteen years and nearly as many addresses later and my hope for swag springs eternal.
Today I was given the chance to tour Phil and Sebastian’s roasterie in Inglewood, which was exciting to me in and of itself. Because I love good coffee and these guys make a mean latte. But I also secretly hoped I’d get something free – like maybe a latte….or a small bag of perfectly roasted beans. (Or maybe a part-time job so I could spend my work-hours drinking coffee.)
Ten of us spent two and a half hours talking about green beans, roasting, cupping and slurping, with a taste test at the end of the tour. I thought I was somewhat anal about how I make my coffee at home….carefully measuring out two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee and pouring exactly one cup of boiling (filtered) water over the grounds through my cone filter.
But this was a whole other league of anality: weighing the beans before grinding them. Boiling the water and waiting for it to stop bubbling before pouring it over the grounds. Setting a timer for four minutes before ‘breaking the crust’. And waiting an additional five or ten minutes after that to taste it (which involved an ear-searing slurp and spitting into a receptacle.) At the rate our guide was going, I’d need to get up at 6 just to have a decent cup of coffee by 8.
When we left the roasterie , each of us received a bag of three-day-old coffee beans and a brand-new mug. Sort of like the Oscars, but without the fancy clothes or diamond-studded watches.