I’ve been pregnant for 9 months. Well, 40 weeks. In other words, this is my due date.

One of the things I’ve had to give up during this time is caffeine, specifically, caffeinated coffee. This is not because anyone told me to, but because I realized about 4-5 months in (after finally getting over coffee smelling disgusting) that coffee seriously increased my anxiety level to the point where panic attacks were sometimes an issue. I’ve never been fond of medication to counter uncomfortable emotional states, and over the years, I’ve found that if you can cut something out, and make your life better (or add something, like exercise and sleep), then I’m much better off in the end. Pregnancy seriously limits your medication options (even with pain relief) so decaf was the option.

There is a shortage of quality, delicious, freshly roasted decaf available. I like Stumptown Coffee, for instance, but the bag of beans last purchased from a local business was stale before I brewed them. I have a history of working at Starbucks a decade ago, and while their decaf options are more limited now, I picked up a bag of Decaf Verona (a guilty favorite of the Starbucks blends). This was about 5-6 weeks ago, and I still have some beans left.

Here’s the miracle – they really don’t taste that stale, though they definitely are old (and definitely a bit on the stale side). They’re drinkable in the way the Stumptown stale decaf was not.

I don’t know much about coffee. I leave that expertise to Tonx and his coffee roasting genius. If memory serves, the reason that the Starbucks beans have miraculously stayed drinkable (yet stale, and who knows when they were originally roasted) is due to their over-roasting for consistency.

Meanwhile, my husband has been receiving his 2x/month shipments of Tonx Coffee, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a smell and a sip when it first comes to my house. We’ve given away a few extra bags (since he can’t drink it all himself) and friends have come back saying it’s the best coffee they’ve ever had. One friend said she and her husband couldn’t stop smelling the bag.

There was a great write-up of what Tonx is doing in LA Weekly (seen here). I’m hoping one day I’ll get a bag of decaf from Tonx OR that my tolerance for caffeine will come back. Either way, Tonx Coffee is the coffee I want to drink.

Coffeeshop for Daring and Open Minds

Yesterday I was wrapping up an impromptu weekend in the Bay Area and happened upon a most unique coffeeshop. One that is not for the closed minded or faint of heart. One where you must be 18 or older to enter. Ladies and gentleman, a kink coffeeshop and erotic boutique called Wicked Grounds.

I was low bloodsugar and short on time when I stumbled upon this place, and my need for food thankfully brought me in. Lucky for me, they had a food menu! I admit to being a bit intimidated to walk through the doors, not being a member of a scene and not oozing aloof awesomeness from every pore. Thankfully, once inside there was the relaxing warmth of a neighborhood cafe, just with more interesting art on the walls. I felt like I could actually sit, relax and not worry about social pretentions. (Crazy enough, I used to have that feeling in the Chicago goth scene, and haven’t found a good replacement on this coast.)

I had to grab my sandwich (and souvenir t-shirt) and run, unfortunately.

Not even a cup of coffee this time.

Next trip, I’ll definitely try to stop in again. I’ll repeat that the shop isn’t for everybody, however, it is one of the many reasons the crazy California vibe has ensnared me. Seriously, all the many permutations of humanity seem to have a home in this state, and I appreciate the beautiful juxtaposition between the polarities.

Missing Metropolis, Needing Iced Coffee

While I was in Chicago, I had the pleasure of being just less than a mile from Metropolis Coffee Company on Granville in Edgewater. During my 12 days in Chicago, I went there probably about 12 times, and only once did I have a slightly disappointing cup of coffee. My usual iced Americano was fantastic every single time, and I actually felt like I could taste the notes within the espresso. Since returning to Seattle, I’ve been longing to get such a high quality iced coffee drink that was worth my unemployed dollars.

Then I remembered that another place I had coffee in Chicago offered their iced coffee as made with the Toddy cold brewing system. I had made coffee w/ the Toddy system when I worked for Seattle’s Best Coffee around 2001, so yesterday I set out on a money saving experiment. I picked up a Toddy brewer at Seattle’s Best Coffee in Pike Place Market, and just previous to that, bought 12 oz of beans from Stumptown (their House Blend). The barista at Stumptown steared me towards their House Blend with the knowledge I’d be making it with the Toddy. While I was at SBC, they offered me a free pound to go with my Toddy maker, so I picked up some of their new-age sealed (good for a year!) Panorama Blend.

I don’t know that much about coffee – especially compared to some – but I did spend the better part of 3 years of my life between Starbucks (back when you learned to pull real shots) and SBC (back when they were owned by a chicken company). I have the hope that the Panorama Blend might be palatable. We shall see.

For today, I’m on my second glass of the Stumptown House Blend. It’s a little more bitter than I’d like, but I’m liking it so far, and am glad I’ll have a carafe of it in the fridge whenever I need a bit of a boost. For the newly unemployed such as myself, inspiration is needed to get my butt into gear, so I hope this will provide it.