This is an intro post. While I’ll still continue my mother’s desire to see more meals and fewer dishes, I’m also going to start talking about coffee and coffee drinks.
A lot of academians are (coffee) snobs. It keeps us going. Energy drinks are too teenager/club-scene/21st-century. We go more for the classic old-school, French-intellectual, borderline-Balzac-levels-of-intensity coffee culture. This is especially the case in my branch of academia, which in many ways is the branch of the true workaholics. Because there is no need for a lab, there is the possibility to work anywhere. And since there’s the possibility to work anywhere, there’s the possibility to work anytime. And since there’s the possibility to work anytime…
You get the idea. But just in case you don’t…
Prior to this move to Chicago, I’d lived my entire life in the Eastern time zone. And in the South, no less–the place the rest of the country sees as geographically idyllic, but culturally slow and just a little bit racist. After a trip to Manhattan, I began to accept the “Southerners are slow” hypothesis–my one night in the Big Apple I immediately wanted to get the hell out of town because everyone seemed way too intense and aggressive. Then there was one work trip I made to Stanford. I remember I walked to downtown Palo Alto on a Sunday morning, and thought I’d just hang out at a coffee shop until the first actual event of the day. Not a single coffee shop was open by 8:30AM on a Sunday. This was unacceptable to me. But I wrote that off as just “west coast” (an area which, to a Southerner, is geographically idyllic but culturally a fascinating combination of intellectual, lazy and crazy).
Anyway, I had no clue what to expect of the midwest coffee-shop scene. Again, let me give you all a starting point. Here are three of my favorite coffee places in Athens, GA along with their hours of operation:
- Jittery Joe’s. 6:30a-12a M-F, 7a-12a Sa-Su.
- Hendershots. 6:30a-11p M-R, 6:30a-12a F, 7:30a-12aSa, 7:30a-10p Su.
- Two Story. 7a-10p Su-R, 7a-9p F-Sa.
Note that these coffee shops are open early (like by 7 most days of the week). Note also that they are open after dinner time every night of the week. Oh, last thing (which could have been the first thing): note that they ARE OPEN EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.
While I also lived in the BRCM, they only had one coffee shop. So, here are three places I’d frequent during my entire 2 years in NC:
- Summit. 6a-10p M-W, 6a-11p R-F, 7a-11p Sa, 7a-5p Su
- Camino. 7a-11p M-F, 8a-12a Sa, 8a-8p Su
- Amelie’s. OPEN 24/7
Again, these places are open every day. They are open at all times of day, and usually by 7am (with minor exceptions).
I guess since it’s the South and the people there are slow, they need coffee to wake up.
Now let’s move to Chi-town. Here are three places in a serial-killer triangulated area around work:
- The Bageler’s Coffeehouse. 7a-5pM-F, 8a-5p Sa-Su.
- Bow Truss Coffee. 6:30a-6p M-F
- Cafe Vienna 11a-7p R-F, 8a-7p Sa-Su.
We are joking, right? At NONE of these places could you have an after dinner coffee/pastry. Why? Because they’re NOT OPEN AFTER DINNER (though one claims to sell dinner…guess there’s no need to ask if there’s an early-bird special). Two of them aren’t open 7 days a week. Hell, one is only open 4 days a week [I have been to all of these places, by the way. In particular, since they appear to be getting the short end of my stick, let me say that Cafe Vienna has amazing (breakfast) food. But considering it literally is next door to Starbucks, with how infrequently it is open-for-business I suspected for a long time it was a front for the mafia.]
I have no clue how these businesses pay their rent. Or their employees.
So again, as a Southerner who definitely needs her coffee in the morning, how does TTENG cope? Well, she’s going to start making her own coffee. A LOT. Hell, she’s got four cans of coffee to knock out! I don’t have the money for an espresso machine (nor do I have the counter space), so we’re going to start with the classics. But it’s TTENG we’re talking about, so even the classics will have a twist.
Finally, just to keep us all happy, here’s a (re)post of a great coffee recipe. Learned it from an ex, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t tasty. Click here and enjoy!