Love Affair with Coffee




I love everything about Coffee


Our relationship with it, alone or shared, tells a lot about how we relate to and with each other.

My Bother lives in Portland Oregon, mother ship of the small batch experimental roast, temp control pour over, wait, then sip and discuss the possible consequences of another 1 ½ degrees on that pour, but add an additional 6 inches of height and for gods-sake, take your TIME with it to smell the magic as those glorious beans begin to release their wondrous fragrance and tell you the story of their journey from the emergence of their first delicate green shoots in a distant land, pushing through the native soil reaching for the light, to their final and most important evolutionary purpose; to transform your LIFE for an extended moment as you savor the mystical beauty of that powerful, yet delicate and nuanced final gift to the lives of man, the explosion of contentment as the fragrance and the taste combine in that first sip.



Breathe; take a moment as those blue notes start expanding. Feel the frivolity as the mischievous spicy notes begin the interplay with that hint of smoke, lurking somewhere in that symphonic arrangement of taste and depth.

Yeah, Portland has lifted their game to that level.

Respect. Portland.




The Stumptown coffee (shown) was a recent gift from Dave, coffee, vinyl, culture lover. He stopped over for a visit on the deck en route to the airport and Australia right before Mardi Gras? He also gifted some rare and beautiful music to enjoy with the bean..



While we’re in the Pacific North West, and I'm waxing on coffee, let me mention Seattle Washington.


If we equated Portland to an exotic bird sanctuary, we might equate Seattle to a reserve for migrating ducks.


I have no proof, or first hand experience to drawn upon what so ever, but I have an opinion, and a theory.

As evolved as Seattle is, and despite the fact that they are the birthplace of Starbucks, I don’t feel all of their citizens have a proper attitude towards the mighty Bean.



I bet Starbucks ‘mother ship’ location still holds that reverence and remembers the early days. The acolytes tending the first church may recall the initial seed of a dream that built the coffee empire.


But now, that corporate money beast has feasted and grown fat. That sweet idea has been consumed by stock holders. Now some manipulative jerk on the board of directors is busy playing politics and finding new ways to shave ½ pennies from the bottom line.


The origin city of Starbucks, that glorious beacon that once stood dark and strong in a sea of tepid brown, is bait to hook bright young innovators, luring them to migrate, plant their flag on an apartment floor somewhere, and commence with the struggle to realize their dreams.


Every wicked smart entrepreneur walking to work, living with twenty room mates because the rents are just too high for people who aren’t tech zillionaires or Starbucks ground floor stock holders has come to hate coffee a bit.

Standing on line for that “Starbucks House Blend”, while wondering where they’ll find a backer in this shark infested town, you can feel it thrumming in the air,


Da-damn- Da-damn –Da-damn-it!


The sacred bean has been demoted, no longer cherished as the avatar of some ancient God, gifted to bring peace and feelings of community to some long forgotten valley, lost to the mists of time.


Coffee is a 'means-to-an-end' item in Seattle now, not the destination.

It's a product you roast, grind up, and pour hot water over.

You know, like “brew a fucking pot of coffee man!”


You do things to it, and then it does things for you.


To you, unknown coffee drinker in a Starbucks franchise line somewhere, coffee is clay molded into a homogenized end result, a mass appeal commodity, a legal stimulant with a hefty mark up.


Starbucks is something you should have bought stock in before it split because you’d be rich now and you could do whatever you wanted-.


So you'll suck it up a bit longer and tolerate that one jerk your nice roommate started dating that you’d like to strangle.

Because with the right formula and marketing plan, you can get your own place and have the freedom to do what you want, like go get a sweet place somewhere close to Portland, and take a class to learn how to properly appreciate that majestic plant that makes folks rich.


You have no idea, unknown imaginary person on line, impatiently glancing at your watch as people say polite nothings to each other-


Coffee is that beautiful partner you don’t deserve to be married to because you don’t appreciate her.


That partner who keeps loving you anyway, but no one knows why.


One day my friend, you’ll wake up, she’ll be gone and you’ll wish you had treated her better.

But wait! I’ve just realized that you’re going to order a ½ pumpkin Chai ½ decaff coffee fat free latte with a shot of Caramel on top.




Fuck you. Poser.


The smell of roasting coffee weaves through the New Orleans of my childhood.

-savored with the completion of a song,

-shared with my mother on her porch in the country, paired with politics and cookies.



In my long ago New Orleans, ships came in through the Port Authority and docked not far from where I live.


Those ships had their bellies packed full of freshly picked beans in burlap sacks from Central and South America.


Those raw beans were trucked to warehouses all along the river, then dispersed to our coffee roasting plants.


For me, coffee, music and a slow pot of something is the holy trinity for happiness.

With the addition of water added to activate the blessing, time stops, troubles dissolve and all things become possible. We didn't plant the beans. We didn't pick them. We ROASTED them. We were the city of origin for coffee in North America. It came through us to get to you.

We were the entry point. We were the coffee cartel.


Yes, times have changed and that's not true anymore,

But I don't care.


I claim it for my City. if you don't like it, bite me.



When I travel, all it takes is a fresh cup of coffee, day or night, to wake the New Orleans that tags along with me. It likes to share, make friends, sing while cooking, and be kind to strangers. It's a welcoming spirit that appreciates the little things that make such a big difference in life.


-And whenever New Orleans hits the road, it's gonna be making music, and cooking a slow pot of something good,

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© 2018 Leslie Blackshear Smith