this blog supplied the single-origin burlap window drapes. the barista-poet brought coffee soap. and somewhere betwixt the two was a staggering, two-day exhibit of the ways you might live — really live — with coffee as a centerpiece.
or, more precisely, with beauty as a centerpiece — objective, classifiable, very non-postmodern beauty that slaps your brain around and acquaints you deeply with the error of your ways. beauty through spro, of course, that you’ve never quite tasted this way … but also through poetry, through the minerals in the water, the sundry other libations and european hot dishes, through vivid late-night porch debates, haphazard circles of pipe-smoking men, local coffee bar-lolling and philosopher pie-eating. through ridiculously shoehorned sleeping quarters and gulps of experimental music. through the rough edges and surprising glimmers of a subset of the coffee community whose identity is sharpening to a point.
all of which to say: that jon lewis, he sure can work a home espresso bar! more comfortably than certain world champions, we might note. herewith, a brief catalogue of a sleepless, mystically drenched weekend in which one of the country’s finest pullers of espresso liquids — and the ladies of his house — brought peace, love and coffee to these hinterlands. also, gin.
* en route from birmingham, there came the coffee itself. among the bricks strewn about the blogtable was a revelation through taste of primavera’s ethiopian harrar, it of the massive, fruited dry fleshy taste-like impressions! sorry, but it was buried ‘midst so much other coffee nectar that the specifics grow blurry. still, a startling reminder that a budding birmingham coffee joint may soon deserve a road trip.
* the water, it shaped what we were able to know, in a sense. greenville’s ridiculously soft tap water, gloriously pristine but devoid of most any earth morsels, made another stellar ethiopian — crema coffee’s sidamo korate — light, fluffy and muddled but added prickling edges to lewis’ microcosm blend. with some crude, home-junkie water-hardening techniques the ‘cosm softened to a creamier complexity and the korate grew more pronounced, more defined and clear. more on these experiments in the days to come …
* put this blog, the barista-poet, the bioluminescent cypriot, solis jake and c-n-c’s hudgens on a deck with cave-aged gruyere, some maredsous triple, a pipe haze and cascades of herbal verdure in the concrete planters and you get a discussion that quickly veered to what thoughtful coffee types are now saying is the ignored-but-vital third leg of the specialty movement — financial realism. you know, something clear-eyed to go with your highfalutin’ standards and attempts at urban community. this, too, is a can o’ worms for another day.
mr. lewis, solis jake, hudgens, men’s shoes. also, extensive espresso spoils.
* eliot said it — so did browning: the vitality of the present and its affections is what matters. the past and future, well, that’s disaffection for you. and so it was at shannon’s place at opening time. the future evolution of his business and all the notable recent history hung in the air but soon melted away, and even the spro shots weren’t what mattered. it was four guys — most of greenville’s snob club — finding ways to explore both good and difficult coffees. eventually, mascarpone cheese got involved. which is very much like real life, no? no? you haven’t heard the maxim about life handing you a difficult spro and you ameliorating its strong points with carefully chosen mascarpone dollops? no?
* the rest, it was all fine food and rambling conversation. and what is this blog, jay caragay? so no, we will not foist it all upon you. suffice to say that, when small blogchildren and visiting tykes who barely know each other grow acquainted there is a certain symmetry that emerges, a social compact of genial relationship balance from which the adults can always glean. and in a way, we did. no superiors or inferiors, no brainiacs versus simpletons, no gurus or fanboys, but a cornucopia of ideas, real-life pains and future ideas mixing together in our living room.
and somehow it all (gulp) kept coming back to the spro. which makes that mister lewis a fellow of deep riches, and this blog an unapologetic pursuer of wealthy friends.
the barista-poet plies the home bar of all its meager value.