Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Don't cubbyhole me, part n + 1

I was visiting Texas' capitol city, Austin, for the second time this week. The first was to see my close friend be sworn into service as a Texas Department Of Public Safety State Trooper.* This second time, was to visit family.

Saturday, while my wife and kids went shopping, I went to get a cuppa with an online friend/old high school acquaintance. In the Austin fashion, I got a hug coming and going.  The coffee at the White Rabbit Coffee House was very, very good, and I asked them about their roaster. They sent me to Texas Coffee Traders, at 1400 E 4th St.

That's a rough part of town, but sometimes, the rough parts are where the innovation is...

...and this was definitely the case, here. I arrived, and found them busy, but not too busy to help me. Ron showed me around, and even gave me a quick tour of their roasting facilities. I got to see how they load up 66 lb batches of green coffee beans,


...and put them into one of their hot-air roasters...
...to make perfectly roasted beans.

They even have some awesome museum pieces, that look ready to be put into service. Note the old drum roaster:
Also, check out the old high-volume coffee grinder:
Honestly, these would need a fair bit of cleanup to get to the standards that they have. But I'll bet that they could do it.

So I bought a pound of their excellent Ethiopian Sidamo and half a pound of Costa Rica Cafe Monteverde each in water-processed and "Natural".

I also picked up some coffee-making/bar supplies (stirring spoons, measuring glasses), and was pleased to be rung up by their nice staff.

With my brown paper bag full of incredible-smelling goodness, I headed out. I stopped to take a picture of the front of the place, and apologized to a customer whom I captured petting the shop cat. I asked if if it was okay to put the picture on the blog. She laughed, said it was fine, and invited me to sit with her boyfriend and herself for a bit, at a table in front of the roast house.


After an hour of chatting, Jessica and Vincent and I were treated by RC (the business owner) to some holiday caramel popcorn before he locked the gates. During the last hour, I had explained that I didn't actually have anything against the independent businesswoman who had attempted to open negotiations for her private itinerant business. I listened to their personal views of the world, and found them quite loving. I learned that they were both artists and musicians. When my wife called to tell me to remember to find a "White Elephant" gift for the family exchange, Vincent ran to his car to bring me some art. I said, "I couldn't give fine art as a white elephant." He laughed and said "this isn't very good art, though!"

One piece? It was so completely inaccessible to my narrow brain, that I absolutely had to give it as a white elephant. Another, I'm putting up on the mantle. It's pretty damn good. Come by my house, and I'll show it to you. Vincent is actually a pretty eclectic, capable artist. I don't know about his rapping. It's not a genre that I'm a huge fan of.

We talked about the pleasure of making the days of strangers, and I thanked them for inviting me to join them. I mentioned an occasion (witnessed by Don Gwinn) where people gave me free cupcakes in the streets of downtown St. Louis. Vincent asked what I was in St. Louis for, and I told him that I was there for an NRA convention. "Holy shit!" he exclaimed.  There had been a similar statement when they learned what I do for a living.

We went our separate ways with hugs. I took my art, and was smiling.

I dropped by the HEB grocery store, and stopped to sample some ham presented by Tamara, a nice lady. I asked about where the jalapeno dip was, and she shut down her booth to take me to it. We chatted along the way, and she told me that I was a blessing to her day. Well, hell, she was to mine, too. I hugged this woman and was damned happy for it.
Tamara, whom I requested permission to blog.**
She and Vince and Jessica, and Kendra-- they made my day. Hell, they might have made my Christmas, whatever that may mean.

Love your neighbors, friend. They're Real People. You can be the best part of their day.

___________________
*More on that later.
**NOT Tamara K, referenced here often.

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3 Comments:

At Monday, December 24, 2012 5:11:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Good day, and good coffee, doesn't get much better!

 
At Monday, December 24, 2012 6:37:00 PM, Blogger Brigid said...

Merry Christmas Matt, may it be a safe and happy one for your entire family.

 
At Monday, December 24, 2012 7:56:00 PM, Blogger Rabbit said...

Sounds lovely. I'll have to check them out on my next opportunity to make the run down 35. Those old roasters, however, are still state of the art, and are even an improvement over a roaster we used to buy from outside of Tyler out the old Troup Highway.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, friend.

 

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