Posted Mon Jul 22, 2013, 6:36pm Subject: The Java Sojourner cannot believe that this Delaware barista...
..wants to stay in business. Backstory: Delaware with its miles of ocean and bay fishing grounds, its farms, and its proximity to food-rich states such as Pennsylvania and Maryland has a horrible reputation for restaurants. Lately, I have had the opportunity to prove this to myself and now I find one weird experience that may suggest this may also pertain to its coffee cafes.
My story: I am driving down Lancaster Pike in the town of Hockessin, Delaware, on my way to Woodside Farm Creamery to try their nationally renowned ice cream on National Ice Cream Day (21 July 2013), not having had breakfast or lunch for reasons partially due to the preceding paragraph when I see a large sign in a roadside strip: Bishop's Coffee Company. Having spent the day before in Amish country and therefore in need of a good cup of coffee, I swerved across the oncoming lane and just made it to the front door in one piece.
There was one man behind the counter, so when he said "I'll be with you in a little bit, I have to make this sandwich first", I said "Fine" and began to explore the retail space that he shares with a small market. When he was freed up he asked me what I will have.
Having seen a display of brown paper coffee bags with a 'Bishop's Coffee Company' label on them, I asked, "So, you roast your own coffee?" He seemed genuinely taken aback by that question, so I went on to point out the display I had seen, to which he replied, "Oh, we just make coffee available from our suppliers. We don't roast coffee, we buy from roasters who supply us." "Who supplies your coffee", I asked. "We have a roaster in Canada and one in Baltimore that supplies us." "Who in Baltimore?" I asked, since I am living there now and I have made the rounds. "It's a private roaster", he said. Now it gets thick. "Oh", I mused out loud, "some guy that roasts out of his garage for you?" "No", came the reply, "its a very big roaster but I can't tell you who it is." Interesting. What business does this guy think he is in? I am not that interested in personality disorders anymore, more interested in infusion results, so I ask him to pull me shot. "We get our espresso from our Canadian supplier." He says as he steps up to the machine. I am not going to bite. So what? He must have affected me because all of a sudden I did not care who his d*** Canadian supplier is, did not notice the machine that he is using, or the fact that he pulled my shot into a paper cup. All of a sudden this paper cup appears before me. I stammer a little and he looks at me as if he does not know CPR and I look at the top of his machine and no cups are there but I ask anyway because it worked a few days ago at Caribou Coffee, "Do you have any porcelain cups?" "No", he says and by this time I can see in his eyes that he thinks he is being plagued by some urbanite poseur who wants to show off how much he knows about his business while in fact knowing nothing but how to annoy honest folk. I down the shot (no crema) and become glad that I did not bother to ask him any more about his beans, his supplier, his machine, or anything else. America is full of coffee-shaped objects. The trick becomes not so much in finding the good ones as dodging the bad ones.
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