Why I Drove 140 Miles For A Cup Of Coffee.

Daily take by Ezra Hilyer
Daily take, a photo by Ezra Hilyer on Flickr.

This is not typical behavior for me, but after a long day at work, and the pent-up stress of life; I decided to drive the 70 miles from Warren, to Erie for a cup of Starbucks.

There is a closer Starbucks, (25 miles to Jamestown, NY) but I needed the drive to unwind from the week. I needed to pick up a re-supply of coffee as well, and so I bought a pound of their Espresso Roast Beans.

I have heard about their new instant coffee ‘Via’ (which is supposed to mean ‘road’ in Italian), but had yet to try it, so I gave in to temptation, and well designed product promotion, and bought two boxes of Via; Italian Roast, and Columbian.

I only saw one other kind in the store: and that was decaf. I am not sure if there are other flavors, but the two I bought were decent; good for instant, but not show stopping. I also picked up a travel carry case for the Via. It is a plastic (feels like Silicone) that is very clingy to the packets (which I found annoying) and comes with four stir sticks (that seemed overkill, two would have been quite sufficient)

Naturally, I also bought a cup of Mocha, and enjoyed that most of the way home.

For me; I need something to break the monotony of daily life, and to give me a reason to push the boundaries aside: to be more than I am. Perhaps the drive didn’t accomplish all of those things; but at least I got some coffee out of the deal.

-Ezra Hilyer

Originally Posted To http://www.ezrahilyer.com
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Poetic Coffee

Poetic Coffee by Ezra Hilyer
Poetic Coffee, a photo by Ezra Hilyer on Flickr.

There is something deeply poetic about coffee. The grinder pulverizing the beans, the ritual tamping of the fresh grounds, and that beautiful smell when the first coal-black drops of liquid cascade into the cup.

When the steamer sings its song; and the union of sound, sight, and savor meet in that moment -such is the stuff of perfection.

I remember when my romance with Coffee started; it was on my first visit to Starbucks, in Portland Oregon in 2002. Before this; coffee was something that only came in luke-warm pots, and had to be dosed heavily with sugar, and then mixed with milk.
It was a part of the day, but never the hightlight.

Upon that first visit; I entered a new world. I remember how the entire building was drowning in the heavy scent of the sacred bean, and the sounds of the drinks being prepaired was an alien music.

Throughout the rest of that 2 week visit, I took the chance to return there many times, and it started what has become a lifelong love.

When I returned home, there were no local coffee shops nearby, at the time the nearest Starbucks was over 100 miles away.
So, over the next few years; the only time I would get to visit Portland would be heavily filled with visits to coffee shops. I would wander the city always with a cup in my hand.

Eventually, a small shop opened up in Warren, (20 miles from where I then lived) and I could then expirence good coffe regularly, and would sometimes make the trip into town just for a sip of that heavenly liquid.

I even took my future wife Ami, on our fist date to that small local coffee shop; and not long after that, she started to work as a Barista there. Many of my memories of our dating life are laced with the scent of coffee, and the whirr of the machines.

Last year Ami bought me a Breville Espresso machine for my birthday, and from her expirence as a Barista; she taught me to prepare all of my favorite drinks. The world has come full-circle, now I can re-live those memories, and moments whenever I take the time to start the ritual process, and turn those dark roasted beans into sacred powder.

-Ezra