During the film festival in Portland, we we’re averaging 4 espresso’s each a day. There were too many places to choose from and favorites to return to. The never, fucking never land of coffee. Vancouver, BC has come along way since I last lived there and I hadn’t been since Slayer/Megadeth 2009.
Back in this northern desert, I’m making coffee at home with beans ordered from the coast. As much as I want to support local businesses, we’ve given up on the shops and roasters in this town.They don’t give a fuck and most customers don’t know better. In a town of 30,000 we have four Tim Horton’s, three Starbucks and a plethora of terrible coffee shops downtown.
I still do occasion the local shops, a necessity of caffeine, a place to sit and read, or meet a friend.
When I was working construction, one of the guys on first break would do a coffee run to “Timmies” and bring me back a medium black, no sugar. Outside all winter, the pain and strain in my muscles, black snot, grime and sawdust in every crease of my skin and clothes, the relentless noise of Sun FM, excavators, cranes, dump trucks, concrete trucks, and huge fucking – paid for by the oil fields – trucks. This high risk, physically exhausting, volatile environment, mixed with that hot, strange, cracky, chicory flavor, insomnia inducing Tim’s, tasted good. At first I retched and said “No thanks” to each coffee run but suddenly I started saying yes and it became more a way to get through the rest of the day. Then, I just started bringing a thermos from home.
I cringe when a tourist cheerfully looks around at the multitude of shops and asks, “Where’s the best coffee in town?”. Last week, judging by my sideways glance and drawn out “Uhhh”, he got it and responded, “Where’s a half decent coffee?”. I brightened up when he told me he was staying in the next town over and I could recommend an inconsistently good place.
My honest response is, a two and half hour drive to the north end of the valley, but I didn’t want to be a douche bag and for now that’s my opinion. I look forward to the next Portland festival as an excuse to hound the best espresso, keeping me up late in Lovecraftian dreams.