For my coffee shop, The Thinker’s Cafe, situated on the 20th Street plateau up on Potrero Hill, I carry symbol
no qualms. Their best deal, a 20 ounce gourmet “Monster Coffee” of choice, six quarters. The atmosphere is quaint. Men in square-framed glasses on labtops, professionala’s in business suits pecking at chicken caesar’s on lunch break. On the right wall, Archimedes says, “Give me a place to stand and I’ll move the world,” and with my steaming coffee and heaping spoonful of brown sugar, I just might.
So it is with a grateful rememberance of their affordably priced liquid-caffeine, and blue-eyed brunette cashier/server, that I swore-off the business and 20th Street altogether. I drove to Safeway. Admist the down-and-outters that cross Potrero from the BFI recycling center, I tossed whatever change I held to one terribly-sad courtesan when caught by surpise in the coffee aisle inside the supermarket (Row 5, half-back on lower-left). Decision time: What coffee should I Boy buy?
During my stint in Lost Angeles, mind you my dear mother ordered coffee beans from mountains somewhere in South America that arrived on my door step in thirty pound burlap to which I received fresh something-or-other roast that tasted damned good, and sparked my synapses for Chaucerian seminars that lasted til the sauce ran out. Point being, in the 25 years of my existence, I never bought coffee from a super-market.
Aisle 5, half-back, cute-blonde pushing toddler with plastic gun. What the hell brand do I buy? First thing I see. Hazelnut, storebrand, 7 bucks, couple ounces. Why not. Paid in cash. Car, Letterman, sleep.
The day following: Sunset through the West window. Crusty eyes. Vibrating phone rattles desk. Damn. Start water for shower. Priority one; Coffee, destroy upper-cabinets looking for filter, find in bottom cabinet. Two table spoons, press start button on the Gevalia model a friend to me endowed.
A shower long enough to kill the chill in my torso. Towel dry, clothes, and that which I dreamt of; Bubbling hot, coffee in a pint glass, with a half-inch of cream and sugar ample for a short day and long night. Two sips, and the bathroom garners my attention for the time it takes to remove the store-bought coffee from my stomach. Apparently, the “gourmet” coffee was flavored artificially. I rued the haste of my purchase.
Needless to say, the next day, late and sunny, I got my buy-ten get one-free card stamped with a smirk at the cafe where those who ponder, come to think. May a higher power, and the San Francisco Association for rent control bless, The Thinkers Cafe, on Potrero Hill for as long as we depend on affordable, and more importantly quality coffee. Also, cliche’s ring true: you get what you pay for (especially when buying coffee).