Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Operation Coffee House IV

Again, it seems the local coffee drinkers eschew the most comfortable seats in the cafe.  I am the only one sitting on (what is) a very comfortable couch.  Everybody else in the joint is sitting on hard wood and metal chairs. 

The clientele is the exact same kind of clientele I've seen at the previous three coffee shops.  Of course, all of them no doubt think themselves "independent" or "unique"...especially the particularly hipster-looking young man sporting a rats nest for a beard...but they're just like everybody else.  They are all conformists to the highest degree.  No matter what they say or do or think, they are completely replaceable with all the other coffee drinkers I've seen before.  The only person who stands out is a middle aged man who is sporting a "5k Run" shirt and seems to be in good shape.  A woman with a nice figure just walked in and as is common place, once you see her face you see she doesn't care to doll herself up.  With so little care given to her face, it's a guarantee she doesn't put any effort into her body, and was thus, very fortunate to be born with such genetics.  And of course, she has a short hair cut.

Thankfully there is no music, but an incompetent mother was considerate enough to bring her crying child in so at least we can hear something.   Without the kid it's just quiet background conversation of effeminate men and women who think they're smart because they have a masters in some humanities field or another. 

Today's coffee is a "Peruvian Medium Roast."  I've been letting it cool for a bit, so I'll try it and see if I can taste a difference between that and any other coffee I've had since I've started "Operation Coffee House." 

Wow, it tastes just like coffee!

But wait, what's this after taste I'm tasting?

Hang on...trying to determine what it is...oh, wait!  I know what it is!  It must be the "peace."

The sign outside said, "Fair Trade and Peace Coffee."  I do know what "Fair trade" coffee is, but I never knew what "peace coffee" tasted like.  Now I do.  Boy, I sure am glad they put peace in the coffee.  Otherwise it wouldn't have tasted as good.  Now I'll have to find a coffee shop that sells "War Coffee."  Wonder if it's harsher.

Apparently I'm in the wrong business.  There's some simple photographs up on the wall of different locales of the Twin Cities...wow...where have I seen that before?  Oh, that's right, at all the other coffee stores I've been too.  But this guy must be a great photographer.  He's charging $200 for framed photos, unlike $85 which has been the average at other stores.  To me it looks like he just took a 14 mega pixel camera, took some hi-res photos, printed them off at the local Kinko's, and framed them.  Of course, I am not an artist, so I obviously don't see the genius of this photographer, thinking I could do it myself.  Hopefully he went to school to learn how to take photos.

Heh, so there's an "about the artist" statement on the wall.  Guy got a liberal arts degree in French.  Good to see he's putting it to use.


Unknown said...

The coffee house I frequent is really quite good but the art on the walls is a joke. Hell, considering how bad it is, and how much the "artist" wants, maybe I'm in the wrong business.

Unknown said...

Maybe taking photos of these hipsters would be very helpful in understanding the environment of these coffee shops. It must be annoying having to deal with these lowlifes.

Anonymous said...

Cappy, I LOOOOVE you, man!!!

You absolutely NAIL everything about 'koffee kulture' that makes me crazy ... and has driven me to buying and enjoying 'Fair Priced for the Masses' coffee at McDonalds instead of that fancy-named, over-priced liberal snob coffee.

LONG may you live to keep slapping silly these whiny pansies with your sensible antidotes to their pomposity. Your blog (and books) have been making The Decline tolerably enjoyable so far. Keep up your fine and necessary work!

Dave S.

Liberista said...

be careful, Cap, peace sounds almost exactly like p....

fair trade? BS. i bet someone is getting filthy rich with this nonsense.

BC Monkey said...

War coffee. I'd totally buy that for a dollar.

Anonymous said...

Funny series. I do know that if I go to the coffee shop to get work done, I would prefer to sit at the less comfortable seating arrangements that foster more of an office-like atmosphere. If I sit on the couch I'll end up on Facebook or my Google Reader all day, though I'm sure most of the people at the tables were doing the same thing. Everything else seems spot-on.

There's a great chapter in "Undercover Economist" about how Fair Trade coffee is essentially a price discrimination/market segmentation scam to increase revenue. Great book, check it out if you haven't read it. Here's an excerpt:


Keep up the good work!

By The Sword said...

Coffee can only grow in warm mountain climes. So if you want to get away from all that "fair-trade-we-don't-exploit-brown-people" bullshit, they buy Hawaiian coffee.

At least it's "American".

aczarnowski said...

Pretty sure I know which shop you were in. Been meaning to stop in there myself for a cup.

Try Angry Catfish on 28th Ave and 42nd off Minnehaha. Get a pastry next door at A Baker's Wife. All of the same Koffee Kulture issues you've seen before along with a dollop of urban bike culture!

And worth it for the damn fine lattes.

Will Brown said...

As I recall, "war coffee" was a packet of Nescafe instant coffee, a packet of (can't remember there being a brand name actually) hot chocolate/cocoa into a dry cup and pouring boiled water over it. Stir with the handle of your spoon and add a bit more hot water when the level drops by about a third (so as to avoid having to eat the undissolved mess at the bottom of the cup). Can't say much for the taste particularly, but this is a surefire method for getting your morning dose of caffeine down your neck in a hurry. :)

One other thought. Buy Yuban brand coffee; fight the drug war responsibly - finance the competition!

Aurini said...

I'd love to hear your take on Fair Trade sometime; I'm about 70% certain that it's bullshit, but not entirely. All I know is that their arguments sound economically sound, but their motives are suspect.

zatarra said...

I go to the black dog cafe in st paul infrequently. the "art" on the wall is unbelievable. one time there were 3 blocks nailed together being sold for $150.

kurt9 said...

This coffee shop series is great! I owned a coffee shop in the "bohemian" part of Portland for about a year.

I can tell you most of my customers were definitely of the "hipster" style characterized here. However, their art work was better (which i used to display on the walls). Naturally, they were all to the left of Lenin, politically. So were the people I hired to work for me. They were hipsters as well. However, to their credit, they were actually good workers. They fit right in with the community and customer base.

I never discussed politics with them or the customers (given my Ayn Rand libertarianism). They all thought I was a very liberal guy because I treated them well. I saw no reason to disabuse them of this opinion.

Portland is the current youth mecca for the U.S. As such, it attracts a better quality of hipsters. This makes the job market very competitive. By these two virtues, its relatively easy to hire decent employees for a coffee shop.

Unfortunately, I was not able to make money. So, I sold the shop last summer.

Chris said...

Bloody Americans.

Do not understand coffee.

This is how to do it.

1. Order good stuff. I suggest you look at my faves: the best local people in Dunedin (the fix) or one of the bigger people in NZ: Allpress . Neither of them over roast the beans, which most US places do.

2. Get a simple filter funnel and a burr grinder.

3. Put lots of coffee (half full the filter) in the filter, pour on not quite boiling water, and let it steep.

You will then be able to taste the difference. You can also taste the difference in a well-made espresso (not witn anything in it -- ask for a ristretto or short/restricted pour -- you want 30 ml or a shot of goodness) if your coffee monkey is highly skilled .

In NZ they are. In most of the USA and Canada -- including Vancouver -- they are not.

So there, make your own, In more civilised places, pay for your espresso, drink it down, at the counter, standing up, as men are supposed to, and then go back to work.

Anonymous said...

Captain,can you please write a review on HBO series called 'girls'

Anonymous said...

I regularly impress my wife with my skills as an art critic. I can look at a mess by Jackson Pollock and explain how its a study of texture or color.

I can look at the near random daubes of Hendri Matisse and declaim about the neo-primitive expressionist qualities.

All of which I can pull out of my ass while standing on one foot. It's all made up, and makes as much sense and anything my art history teacher history teacher said.

Andy Warhol pisses me off because he's clearly seeking to rip me off by selling me bullshit with a huge price tag, all while smirking at me and acting superior.