These are dark times; lots of rain and little sunshine have created a
place where I see little of light and hope. There is one ray that
pierces that gloom-coffee. I love coffee. Given the choice between
never again tasting beer or coffee, I would forego beer every time. I
care for coffee that much.
To define my love for coffee, I will tell you the coffee for which I
have no love. Sipping coffee, I call it coffee water, makes my
stomach hurt. Sipping coffee is the weak stuff featured at places
where people sit, drink coffee and destroy whole days. I also care
not for flavored coffee. Flavored coffee was created for coffee
drinkers who would rather be drinking something else. To drink
flavored coffee for me would be like putting a mask on my lovely wife
before we share a kiss. I consider flavored coffee a cheat. I don’t
like sugar or cream in my coffee either, sugar is for jam and cream
is for cats.
I search out Douwe Egbert’s coffee wherever I can; my search is
probably not active however I definitely react to any target of
opportunity. They serve Douwe Egbert’s coffee in the waiting rooms at
the clinic. It is my favorite treat after cycling class. I have only
found one retail spot that serves Douwe Egbert’s coffee and that is
the Counsource Convenience Store in East Grand Forks. I make it a
stop on the rare occasions that find me more than twenty-five miles
I like free, I like free a lot. In most cases, I do not care for free
coffee. Free coffee is the sort of thing stores make in the morning
to lure the coffee novice in so they can buy sandwiches wrapped in
plastic. There is one rare occasion where free coffee is not only
good, it stores my greatest emotions.
It will be hard to make the following not sound like a love letter to
Mike Barry, owner of Pennington Main. Mike presents northwest
Minnesota with some of the best coffee around and reasonably priced.
I have an insulated mug that allows me free re-fills of this
other-worldly libation and causes me to visit Pennington Main often
enough that I’m sure passersby sometimes believe I am a vagrant. The
mug was given to me by Kyle Miller from his grandmother’s estate and
replaced my broken free refill mug which I had taped and glued
repeatedly. This mug has been my golden ticket to Mike Barry’s
Wonkaland for several years and has gained him rare access to the
warm places in my heart.
People endure stress and gloom beyond their due in times of war or
sickness. What they often crave as sanctuary from these times is the
familiar smell, taste and emotion of coffee. Yes, coffee’s
combination of stimulation, nostalgia, relaxation, smell and taste
can be considered its own emotion. It is dark and rainy now, but the
sun will soon shine and we will all feel better. Until then, there’s
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