Hi Everyone! Please continue to read my blog at https://bloc11dieselcafe.com/blog/!!!
Thank you so much for reading.
I took this photo while standing on the edge of a pond on Christmas Day.
I looked out at people standing in the middle of the pond, sliding in their sneakers, wondering how the ice was not cracking under their weight and their heavy movements.
Winter in Boston is unpredictable at best. In a single week, it can be snowing 12 inches and then 60 degrees another day. And as I head into my 20th winter in Boston, I think I have learned a thing or two, finally. I am a firm believer that every day marks a new beginning and that New Year's Resolutions are not any different than resolutions we would want to make every single day that we get out of bed. However, the end and the beginning of the year mark something....A good friend of mine said that he liked lists, so here goes. Top Ten Memorable Moments in 2008 and Top Ten Memorable Moments to Look for in 2009:
1. Bloc turned 1. Happy Birthday.
2. Birth of the blog....(Memorable does not necessarily mean good :)
3. Union Square is under construction. The entire year. Basement floods, every rain storm.
4. Too many break ups, to name.
5. I get suckered into Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, Typepad, and G-chat.
6. Lots of Music that started with the letter "B": Bon Iver, Beirut, Britney, Beyonce
7. Bloc gets a new floor and outdoor seating.
9. Single Cup Brewing at Bloc.
10. Diesel gets a new menu.
1. Diesel turns 10!!! Look for a celebration event!
2. Bloc 11 finally gets a real, live website up and running. (Thanks to Andy at Truly Good Design)
3. Union Square construction and beautification slated to be finished!!!
4. Egg sandwiches at Diesel.
5. Goodbye Bush. Welcome Obama!
7. The dogwood will bloom again.
8. Spring and then summer will come.
9. Single cup brewing to come to Diesel. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.
10. Greatness that we cannot even imagine.
I had my first taste of coffee when I was 8. From a can from a vending machine in Tokyo. UCC: creamy, sugary coffee in a slim tan, red and white can. Kind of like a can of coke on a hot day, you just can't beat it. My parents were pretty liberal when it came to beverages. We were allowed to have sips of beer all growing up and tastes of coffee were not discouraged. But after we moved to the US, and there were no longer any vending machines lining the sidewalks with Kirin beer and UCC, I stopped drinking coffee.
It was not until I was 13 that I re-introduced myself to "coffee". I had been accepted to a pretty competitive all-girls prep school in Boston and we were assigned a paper that I knew was going to take me all night. My first all-nighter. My preparation required coffee, preferably black coffee. So, I went downstairs after my family had gone to sleep and made some coffee. I opened the cupboards, unscrewed the maroon colored top, measured out 2 heaping spoonfuls into a quart-sized pickle jar and added hot water. I stirred until the coffee crystals melted away.....
Since then, I have gone through differing phases of coffee. In high school, I drank black coffee from the cafeteria and frappuccinos from Coffee Connection. In college, I drank Green Mountain and Au Bon Pain with lots of cream and sugar. Then cappuccinos and lattes and americanos from local cafes and coffeeshops.
And in the past few years, I think that I have come full circle to really appreciating the taste of coffee. All of the different tastes. Not to drink it so that I could stay awake and get to class or finish a day's work. But to drink it to savor it. I still drink at least six cups of coffee a day, but lately, I have noticed that I enjoy every single one. Lately, our African coffees have made me fall in love with coffee again. We currently have 3 amazing coffees from Africa: Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya. I don't think that I ever had coffee like this until recently. Coffee that almost doesn't taste like coffee. Coffee that tastes like chocolate, apples, cherries, blueberries, cider, nectarines, peaches, apricots, dirt, and everyhing in between. Coffee that sparkles and weighs your tongue down with a syrupy sweetness. Coffee that tastes like juice and melted dark cocoa.
There are few things in life that I could not live without, but I am quite certain that my love for coffee is here to stay. It is my drug of choice. Something that brings me joy with every cup. Every morning, I look forward to the first sip of my first cup. And I know that it is going to be a good day, because I have had my coffee.
Here is a lost of coffee tastings for the month of January!!! Come taste some amazing coffees for FREE. We hope to see you there.
1/6 Tuesday: 12:30-1:30pm Diesel
1/10 Saturday 3:30-4:30pm Bloc 11
1/11 Sunday 3-4pm Diesel
1/15 Thursday 1-2pm Bloc 11
1/20 Tuesday 12:30-1:30pm Diesel
1/24 Saturday 3:30-4:30pm Bloc 11
1/25 Sunday 3-4pm Diesel
1/29 Thursday 1-2pm Bloc 11
To help me transcribe this interview, I have purchased one of Claire's favorite snacks, Snyder's Hot Buffalo Wing flavored pretzel bits. They are....amazing.
What is Your Full Name?
Claire Lillian Pittari.
Do you have any nicknames?
Yeah, uh huh, yeah I do. Uh, I dunno, um…..Tucky has taken to calling me Sticks or Sticky, but it’s not sticking, so to speak….Claire Bear, Pit Stains, that’s a good one. I don’t really listen to people when they’re talking to me…..
Where are you from?
Connecticut. Ahhh, you wanna a town name? Bethlehem….birth place of our savior.
What brought you to Boston?
I was gonna try to go to school. And then one thing led to another, and here I am….
Where do you go to school?
I can technically still answer this. I am a student at the School of Museum of Fine Arts. For like another 5 minutes.
How long have you worked at Diesel?
Ahhh, like 6 months….??
Why did you choose Diesel?
I thought it might get me laid, I didn’t have any money….Did I not write that on the application?
What was your most memorable Diesel moment?
We leave this one and come back, maybe 3 times…
Uh….I do like it here…Um…Oh wait, I do like that it’s given me the opportunity to like, I gave up music snobbery like rock snobbery and that kind of stuff, it’s boring, it’s funner to not be a music snob you know, to like have moved past that, so I need something else. To be a snob about. So, I like that I get to be a coffee snob…
That’s appealing in a person…
Uh, yeah no, something, something that you can feel like you are better than somebody.
That’s always, really attractive…
I know, especially when you throw it out on dates. No, I really like everybody here….All right, most memorable moment, a memorable moment, ahhhh….
Finally, she starts to tell me. A story from this past year’s Halloween.
Yeah, I mean, it’s no Bones….So, Kim and I. So, Kim and I, Kim and I came….Kim and I had been up all night trying to make costumes for Halloween, and so we get this call. Bones calls her in the morning, I had stayed there, So, Kim was like, answer the phone. It was a really weird conversation to be on the other side of…Bones wanted her to bring mascara to work….And we were thinking that, we were mostly hoping that Bones was after the black in the mascara to paint, like paste….I really hope that Bones doesn’t put it in her moustache….Because that would be like so disgusting. Yeah well, You have to tell her when you hand it to her that she’s not allowed to comb it through her stache, cuz’ that’s like crazy…..So, I just ended up hanging out at Diesel for a little while and at one point, Bnes calls her into the back and so you know like, I sneak back there and not only was Bones’ plan to dye her moustache with the mascara all along, but she had Kim do it for her.
You really like moustaches, huh?
I fucking love moustachios!!!! Like right now, I couldn’t possibly be more envious of Joe because he gets to parade around with his ‘stache all day long….
What is your favorite food?
Yeah, I mean, ah. I think my favorite base food is like spaghetti which is like boring but things that are more interesting go with those things. And rice. Spaghetti and rice. Crammed inside a baked potato.
Yeah, I liked the House Original….I really like the Ethiopia too.
Favorite coffee drink?
Ah, coffee. And I like espresso as well, but I don’t like fancy drinks that much….
How do you take your coffee?
Straight up, like my women.
Yeah. Yeah I do. I guess I like it here.
Yeah! I really like, um, possums, raccoons, um, cats, I like woodland things.
Person you would most like to meet.
Pause…..Ahhh, I don’t care about anybody, I guess…..I am content not having to meet anyone.
Whiskey or orange soda. I like gin and tonics, they make me feel old. Smell like Grandma….
Um…No, just…Yeah I like dancing. Yeah. I do like that.
Do you identify with McCauley Culkin?
Ah yeah, uh, I both identify with and am desperately in love with….
Um…I really like um…Uh, I don’t know how to read, you know that. You always find a way to bring it up.
Let’s pretend you could read, what would be your favorite book?
I guess I really like Breakfast with Champions. I like the pictures that Kurt Vonnegut drew. I think that’s the answer I would have given in high school.
What were you studying in school?
Animation, mostly. We didn’t have to declare, but I accidentally discovered that I liked it. Sculpture. And animation, mixed media….martial arts….
Music that you are enjoying right now?
I can kind of hear the music upstairs and Tucker’s voice is nice….Well. Guided by Voices is always a good one….
Change names here. Um…You know, involving Diesel Folk??? I think a lot of funny things happen. I burn Kim a lot. I think we hrt each other a lot on the floor here. That’s usually funny, I think that’s really funny…Yeah, because, I’ll pour an entire shot of espresso on Kim’s hand and she’ll like drop the Americano water on my crotch and everyone around feels better. It’s a morale booster…..Ok, um…
What is your favorite thing to wear to work?
My pink G-string. Jeans and a T-shirt. My lion t-shirt, but it’s white. And where my stomach kind of sticks out, it gets…..she rubs her tummy to indicate….
She looks at me with mild disdain.
No I don’t. Ummm. The guy on ProjectRunway, made me laugh a lot. No, I don’t have a favorite, no, we’re gonna go with Levi. That’s a classic standby.
Favorite Hat Style
Fitted, flat rimmed, god, I wish that were my favorite. I just have a lot of them. I don’t really wear them, but I have worn flat rimmed, with the sticker on ’em to keep ‘em fresh.
How Do you Get to work?
Practice. I just purchased a bicycle and I like to ride it, but it’s cold now, so the bus, or my car, I don’t really walk anymore….
Best Advice you Ever Got.
My most recent advice. That I ever got. Bones told me no sleep overs until after 3 months. Bones gave me a series of advice that was too little too late…...That’s the problem, I so rarely listen to people….
Only child? Middle child?
No, Youngest… Oh, now, you got me like all figured out now??
Aside from McCauley Culkin….We flip through a couple of my magazines.
Mmmmhmmmm. I do, yeah! But the thing is, I have like ethical food aversions and then actual food aversions. I’m not crazy about meat in general, the idea of it, but I eat it anyways. I mean, apathy won out a little bit…but um, I feel really guilty. I have an aversion to the guilt I feel when I consume animals, but, I don’t like raisins and I don’t like…I pretty much eat anything.
Favorite Dance move:
You know what I have an aversion to? I have an aversion to…certain foods, that like, dishes that put, try to make themselves more fancy by putting fruit in them. Like, cranberries and raisins….that was more of a complaint, sorry…
Favorite dance move?
Wait, what’s a salmon’s favorite dance move? Poppin Lox. Pop, Lock and Drop it?
I admit that I don’t know what Pop Lock and Drop It is….
Oh God, Where is Tucker???? You know what I hate???? I hate explaining jokes to people….
Oh my god, my favorite science???? My favorite science….
Um, I said technology.
I’m taking this bus and driving it straight off a cliff. Dude computer science…is so smart. Those little smart boxes that you can get your internet on. Carry around with you.
Like the iphone?
Well, yeah, like NO, like all of them. I don’t have one…..
I like video games that’s a good technology. For me. That’s me.
Favorite YouTube Video?
I like any video that shows people falling down, in a funny way. Have you ever seen….Charlotte, was it Charlotte? It’s a really long video and she’s singing and she’s totally making up this song as she goes….She’s totally making up this song and puts on these ugly-ass shoes and she gets up on this table and, she’s a big girl, and falls over and lies on the ground for a long time….Yeah, pretty much not like America’s Funniest Home video, kind of way….Babies laughing….Oh angry cats, really angry cats that are like screaming and…
One of the things that I love about our job is that there are no rules. I never went to business school and had worked for less than 3 full-time years before starting and owning my business. It is also the hardest part of the job for me. Most of the time, I feel as though I have no idea what I am doing and second guess most decisions we make. We make a lot of mistakes and hopefully learn from them. And, thankfully, our customers and staff are forgiving enough to stick with us.
When we opened Diesel, we had a frequent buyer program that rewarded loyal customers a free coffee and sandwich after ten purchases. A couple of years ago, (my timeline is horrible, so it may have been longer or more recently) we looked at the actual cost of what this meant over the course of a year and realized that we were giving away thousands of dollars annually. Upon serious consideration, my partner Tucker and I realized that we could not continue to give away as much as we were and become profitable.
In the early and mid-90's, there were a slew of local cafes in the area. 1369 Coffeehouse, The Someday, The Phoenix Coffeehouse, The Liberty Cafe, Toscanini's (all 3 locations), and The Coffee Connection (before Starbucks bought them out). Most of these cafes had some sort of loyalty program that gave something back to their regular customers. With the demise of most of these cafes, the concept of a loyalty program diminished as well. Our immediate competitors in Davis Square, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts do not have any sort of frequent buyer program. And we realized that as our competition changed, we had to adjust our business model as well. Many people still expected that the independently and locally run places should be cheaper than the bigger chains and wanted recognition for their loyalty, which they should. For surely, there is a difference between Diesel and Starbucks, right?
At the core, we felt that what we were doing with our coffee card program was rewarding each customer with a little something and also giving back to the community. But the cost of a coffee card program and a sandwich program had gotten too high. So, after many weeks of deliberating, we decided to eliminate our sandwich card program and overhaul our coffee card system. Instead of a free drink, we discounted the customer's 11th order by a $1. And we matched that $1 to a local charity of our choosing.
Each quarter, we choose a local non-profit that we want to partner with to donate the proceeds. We have received a lot of interest and have been able to reconcile our desire to give back to individual customers and the larger community that we exist in with our need to stay profitable and competitive.
Some of our past recipients of our quarterly coffee card program are Resist, Groundworks Somerville, The Somerville Homeless Coalition, and The Family Center. Each of these organizations is committed to bettering the community, whether it be by promoting social justice, helping the homeless, educating people on global warming, or promoting healthy family systems. Each of these organizations are based in Somerville and give back to the immediate (and larger) Somerville communities. We are proud to have been able to help in a small way.
In addition to drinking tasty, responsibly traded coffee, we hope that knowing that you are helping to give back to the community with every cup makes it even a bit more enjoyable. Thank you for continuing to choose us!!!
If you are interested in applying to be a recipient, please email the following to email@example.com: Diesel Non-Profit Application.
Coffee and cafe culture have lots of names and words, that have lost meaning. As someone who works in a cafe, frequents lot of cafes, pays attention to what customers ask and say, I have noticed a trend toward language that does not communicate much. "Small or large", "Light or dark", "House or dark", "Tall, Grande, Venti", none of these mean anything, mostly because every single cafe uses different standards.
Tucker, my business partner and one of my best friends, often tells me that I am honest to the point of being rude. While I am working on learning tact and different ways to get my point across, I hate saying things that I do not mean or things that don't seem to communicate anything. I tend to be blunt and a little abrupt. I am working on it.....And while I know that how we communicate about coffee will not change the world, my hope is that if we can communicate better, in general, we will all be a little closer to getting what we want.
So, if you want to know what to look for in a cup, read on....
Here are a few important terms to consider when you want to know what your coffee will actually taste like:
Cinnamon (Light)--->City (Light)--->Full City (Medium)--->Vienna (Medium)--->Italian (Dark)--->French (Dark)
Even this spectrum of roast levels is somewhat debated, but the main point to know here is that how dark the coffee has been roasted will indicate a certain flavor profile. Dark roasts are great because they offer a heavy body and richness, but will often lack the depth of a lighter roast. What you taste in a dark roast is always the roast, not the bean itself. After a certain point in the roasting process, you lose the acidity and gain body and flavors that come from the caramelization of the bean. Lighter roasted coffees will allow for a deeper and wider range of flavors and bodies and allow for the acidity (the fruity high notes) of the bean to shine through. The lighter roasted coffee can quickly highlight an imbalance, but it is only in a lighter roast that one can have that perfect balance of acidity,the sparkly tones, and the body. Both are great and I like to start my morning with a lighter roast and end the day with a nice dark roast.
Where the coffee comes from is also an important indicator of how the coffee will taste. All of our single origin coffees are roasted to a light or medium roast so that you can really taste the coffee. We don't want to tell you what you will taste, but guaranteed, the range of flavors in a lighter roasted coffee will be greater than a dark roast. Currently, between our two stores, we are fortunate to have coffee from Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sumatra, Nicaragua and Honduras. Come test your taste buds!
While a really great single origin coffee does not need anything to enhance it, sometimes, combining great coffees can really deepen or intensify the flavor profile of a coffee. Sometimes, it can really balance a coffee in a way that might make it more palatable or approachable. Intelligentsia's Celebration Blend, for example, combines two of my favorite coffees: Ethiopia and Nicaragua to create a sweet, spicy, earthy fruity cup that is sooo easy to drink.
The biggest question is filtered or unfiltered? Examples of unfiltered coffees are espresso, americanos, and french press. The characteristics of these coffees are a very full body and a rich mouth feel. Filtered coffees are coffees that have been brewed with the usage of a paper filter, which helps to keep the coffee particles out of your cup. Filtered coffee tends to feel less dense and "cleaner". Most cafes use some form of automated brewing of filtered coffee.
There is no right or wrong answer here, but perhaps, we have peaked your interest to try something different?
Diesel was eight years old when we decided to open Bloc. I do own 2 motor vehicles (a car and a motorcycle), but as many of you know, I pretty much only ever ride my bicycle. I have taken the T once in the past 5 years and maybe only twice more in the past 10. I have not been on the bus in over a decade.
One of my main concerns in owning two stores was balancing the stores, our employees, customers, and the space. How to physically divide my time and my energy so that it made sense and felt right. On a given day, I try to be at each store at least once a day and usually I am back and forth more than that. People ask me where I will be on a particular day and the reality is that I don't know. While I do my best to be organized and make a schedule, I go where I am needed most or where I feel like being.
I do not really celebrate Christmas, but it came early this year in the form of my newly modified commuter bike. You may notice the custom painted fenders in hot metallic pink and white candy-cane stripes, the custom titanium rear rack for panniers, and the custom titanium front rack for a u-lock and anything else I can strap down. All of these items were custom-made at Seven Cycles in Watertown. (I know, it seems as though every other post is about them, but this bike has changed my life.)
Driving, being underground on a train, being on a crowded bus have never appealed to me. I fall asleep at the wheel after 30 minutes, I start pacing on trains, and I can't really get on a bus. I don't drive often enough that I forget about feeding the meter and I get too many parking tickets. I miss my stop on the T because I space out and I can't keep strange people away from me on the bus no matter what I do. I love riding motorcycles, but understand the danger of them and don't ride as often as I would like. But, what I love more than any form of transportation is riding my bike. I have had many bikes in my life but this bicycle really gives me all that I need. I can carry all that I need in a day on me and this bike. I even have a trailer in my office at Diesel that I can attach if I ever need to bring along another 100 lbs (I have been trying to convince Tucker to get on it).
Riding has afforded me the ultimate flexibility of transportation while being energy efficient. I don't have to wait for the bus or the train and often times, I can get between the two stores in almost the same amount of time as a car can, not that I ride fast, but mostly because I don't have to wait behind a line of traffic-locked cars. In addition to the added convenience factor of avoiding fender-benders because I fell asleep behind the wheel of a car, riding my bike to and from work, between the stores, out for a longer ride, or to run errands is one of my most favorite times of the day. I listen to my music, appreciate the weather (whatever it may be), feel the day, and move. It is a time of introspection and quiet for me. Oftentimes, the short commute between the two stores also serves as a necessary transition for me.
Happy Riding!!! Hope to see you out there.
I was an English major and for the majority of my life, I thought that I would be a writer, by profession, a poet, actually. However, it was not until I started learning about writing in high school and college that I decided that it was not for me. Mostly because it was not something that I was inherently "good at". My grades in the sciences and history were better and it seemed easier to gravitate towards the things that I was naturally good at.
What I loved about writing was the freedom of it and the fun of placing words together. That, while there were guidelines about how to write a sentence correctly or punctuate appropriately, there were very few rules about how to write a story, how to begin it, end it, make it interesting, or approachable. I have always thought about the difference our words make, whether in speech or in text. How we use our words is incredibly powerful. And there are so many words.
So, when there are that many words, why is it so hard to name something? Tucker (my business partner) and I are really different and everything we do is a compromise that takes time, sometimes lots of time. Naming Diesel took 3 years and naming Bloc took 1 year. Bloc was almost Diesel Cafe (2). But, opening another store with the same name within a 2 mile radius felt too much like what other coffeeshops with green mermaids do.... So, we needed a new name, a new neighborhood, a new identity, we needed to start over.
A few names that we almost chose:
7. Safe Haven
10. 11 Bow
You may recognize some of these names as they made it onto our menu. But even as we narrowed down to our top ten, we were not able to come to a final agreement. The only two things that we could agree on were numbers and one syllable. We liked the idea of a single syllable word that would roll off people's tongues as they spoke of our cafe. We have always liked numbers, especially prime numbers. Eleven happens to be my favorite number. It was also the number of years that Tucker and I knew each other in 2007. Eleven also happened to be the street number for our cafe and was a reason that we fell in love with the space. So, at least, we were able to agree that the number "11" should be part of the name. But "11 Bow" seemed done. There are so many great restaurants and boutiques that have successfully used their address as their name, that we felt that we would have fallen short. The "b" was compelling. And we got a little stuck on words that began with the letter "b".
"Bloc" was a last-minute suggestion made to us in the 11th hour. We had to file some paperwork to open in time and it asked us for the business name. And for some reason, Bloc, with no "k" was a word that we both agreed upon. Right away. "Bloc 11" was born with the idea that there are so many reasons why these words make sense to represent our cafe, our space.
1a. A combination of persons, groups, or nations forming a unit with a common interest or purpose
b. A group of nations or persons united by a treaty or agreement for mutual support or joint action.
2. A group of legislators or persons who act together for some common purpose irrespective of party lines.
To us, "Bloc 11" encompassed all that we hope to accomplish in owning and operating an independent cafe. We hope that this place has made a small difference in your lives and that its presence has brought about something positive.
When I was in high school, I played field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. Every other spare second I had was spent studying. In the past decade, my sports have taken me in the direction of more solitary activities like cycling and long-distance running. And the work that I have selected has brought me outward from myself.
As I look out, what I see are the people that have chosen to be a part of our Diesel/Bloc11 community. While I look forward to writing about our amazing customers sometime, tonight's post is about our staff.
At least once a year, we make cards for our staff. Whether it is in thanks and celebration for our anniversary or for a holiday, we try to hand-make something for our staff. Having two stores and nearly 50 employees makes this feat a little more daunting, but I remind myself of what they do for us every day that they come to work. My partner, Tucker spends a good two hours each week drawing a picture on the staff time sheet. And despite the fact that she has done it every week for the past 495 weeks, each Sunday, the staff gathers to see what she has drawn.
These images were taken in my office as we laid the cards out to make sure that we had not missed anyone. While it may not look like it, from start to finish, we worked on these cards over a four day period. Each one is unique, made with a particular person in mind. Diesel's staff and Bloc's staff are very different and every single employee is quite different from one another. We range in everything from age, sex, gender, political views, religious beliefs, music tastes, food preferences, but when we come to work, those differences rarely get in the way and more often than not, help to make our work environment more interesting and dynamic. Most days, there is at least a ten year, if not twenty year age difference between the youngest employee and the oldest employee. Ten years ago, I used to be one of the youngest, but now I tend to fall on the older side of the spectrum. But one thing that has not changed over time is that what makes Diesel, and now Bloc, a place that we want to come to everyday, is the staff. Whether the individual members shift and change or not, we have found that the constant is that we get to work with talented and awesome people.
A somewhat little known fact is that Diesel Cafe and Bloc 11 Cafe almost never happened. In addition to the usual obstacles like money, space, my lackluster need to graduate from college, and contentment with the status quo, the truth is that we were actually going to open an ice cream shop. My business partner Tucker and I met while working at Herrell's Ice Cream in Harvard Square almost 13 years ago to the day. I remember that it was winter and the students had left the dorms for winter break and I was getting a job scooping ice cream. I also remember that we often had days where we served less than 50 people. Ice cream and winter in New England are not things that are meant to go together like pumpkin pie and whipped cream. It physically hurts to eat an ice cream walking around in 12 degree weather. After leaving Herrell's, we moved on to work at Toscanini's where we learned yet again, that ice cream is not sought after in the winter time. Our long winters scooping ice cream for many years confirmed that while we loved to eat ice cream, building a business around such a seasonal commodity was going to be more stress than we could handle. So, we decided to open a coffeeshop. And that taught us a couple things: that the cafe business is seasonal as well and that maybe we could learn something from the seasons.
Winter, for me, is a quiet time. Maybe the snow muffles the sounds from the streets, but despite the crisp air and blinding reflections from the ice, winter feels soft. As I rode my bike to work today, I fell twice but the snow and the extra padding from my clothes cushioned my fall enough that I did not feel any physical pain. Winter also seems quiet because people are not out and about as much. The pace of things just seems to slow down a bit. I guess my point is that as each season approaches, we adjust. To the weather, to our cravings, to going out, to staying in, to eating soup instead of salad, to drinking hot coffee over iced tea. But we still expect certain things all year round. Even though the earth is frozen solid around us, we still want and expect foods like fresh tomatoes and greens.
As we realize the impact of depending upon large scale economies and global transportation of goods (Yes, I know that coffee is imported from about as far away as one could imagine, that's a separate issue.) I wonder how we can shift to maintaining a close relationship to the seasons and local economies. While it is my nature to think wider and bigger and more, I think that there is something invaluable in keeping things small. The image that I posted is a seal from Intelligentsia denoting their commitment to maintaining a relationship to the seasons. Coffee is a great example of produce that we have grown to expect all year round, but the reality is that great coffee from particular regions is only available during certain months out of the year. Right now, our stores are featuring amazing coffees from Africa like Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. We also have a Nicaragua and a Sumatra. These coffees taste so great because they are in season. We hope that you come taste some spectacular coffee with us, some of them won't be here that much longer.