Monday, September 5, 2022
Cafe Hours, Guatemala and Mexico, Blank Street
Hi there. We're back with some fun updates and a bunch of coffee I’m excited to share with you all! But first, I do want to announce that starting this week, the cafe will be shifting to a schedule of Tuesday-Friday 7:30a-2:30p, Saturday and Sunday 8a-2p. I’m trying to find a balance between ease of access for y’all to make it in while keeping it sustainable for me.
Tomorrow, we will be adding our first of what I’m sure will be many coffees from Mexico and Guatemala roasted by Sey. Sey is known for crystal clear cups that sing with brightness. But these two new additions show that they can also pull serious depth and real sweetness out to make classically pleasurable coffees.
First up is the Mexico Mazateca #1. This coffee comes from the remote parts of the Sierra Mazateca mountains; between La Cañada and the Papaloapán Valley, at the northern tip of the state of Oaxaca. As part of the Sierra Madre del Sur and the Sierra Madre Oriental, the land is surrounded by high mountains, cliffs, and is largely comprised of hills covered in mesophytic forests, that are bathed by constant rains and the intermittent presence of mist. This geography creates difficult but ideal growing conditions of high quality and complex coffees. This region has long been overlooked while producing some of my favorite coffees of the last two or three years.
This lot tastes like a Terry’s milk chocolate covered orange with a side of cooked mixed berries.
Next is from Maria Magdalen in Huehuetenango Guatemala. Maria is a first generation coffee grower who lives with her children in Concepcio Huista. She and her husband originally grew vegetables and corn. However, the family was struggling with these crops and her husband was forced to migrate to find work. In 2010, Maria decided to start planting coffee and she, along with her children, have now taken over the growing and processing of the coffee they produce. This is the first year Sey is working with Maria, and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more from her in the years to come. This lot, made up of Bourbon and Caturra, feels like an ideal breakfast coffee tasting like Cocoa Puffs cereal with a subtle strawberry acidity.
I, for whatever reason, slip into a deep Spiritualized groove around September. It just feels like the soundtrack to a lazy late summer day.
Another record you may have heard in the cafe lately is Sanullim’s Volume 11. A monster of late 70s early 80s psych, this one’s a real journey.
This New York Times article about Blank Street is an examination into the creeping ubiquity of the tech backed micro cafe chain. What I find most interesting is the indictment that it’s a Xerox copy of cafes with no personality, as if that isn’t what we’ve been suffering through since Stumptown and Blue Bottle laid down the framework for how everyone thinks a specialty cafe should feel and behave twenty years ago. If a cafe feels threatened by a drab neutral cafe presence, it means they aren’t offering anyone anything of actual value or substance.
I loved Everyman Espresso’s take on the chain moving in across the street.
“Why live in nyc if every bodega becomes a Seven-Eleven? If every coffee shop becomes a Starbucks or Blank Street? If every retail store is owned by a large scale operation with little to no personal presence and feeling of responsibility to their neighbors?”
This Drake's blog post about the indescribable electricity of taking in a US Open night match feels equally appropriate here.
“You can watch it on television, but it just ain’t the same.”
You can get coffee from a soulless, automated, streamlined-to-death tech behemoth. It’ll be fine, good even. But it just isn’t the same. Life’s more interesting, more worth it, when people’s fingerprints are involved.
That said, go to Avril 50, buy a print magazine and sit in the grass.
Enjoy your Labor Day,