Crisi di Caffe’


Copyright 2015 Jimmy Reina


I was weaned on coffee.


Seriously, I was weaned on coffee.

When I was an infant (and to my Mother’s dismay), my Grandmother would mix coffee (and certainly sugar) with the milk in my bottle, and feed it to me. Grandma was a baker, so as I progressed to solid food, my morning cereal was chunks of fresh bread in a large bowl of this same “latte” mix.

There has not been a day of my life that hasn’t started without fresh coffee and for almost 40 years, those days have started with grinding my beans. For 20 of those years, I have devotedly bought those beans from the same roaster.


I’m in Berkeley, California, where coffee is taken (sometimes too) seriously, and there is no shortage of roasteries.
My office once sold a house to someone who stipulated they be located within walking distance of The French Hotel Cafe’, where I buy my beans. Sometimes, when I want a midday cup, I will drive across town in order to enjoy their coffee, it’s that good.


Now I’m in panic mode! The Cafe’ will no longer sell them by the individual bag.


I am a bit of a coffee snob, not for brand names (and we have plenty of them in Berkeley), but for freshness, quality, blend and roast that satisfies my taste buds.
It has to be fresh, and it has to have soul.

At Caffe Roma in San Francisco, they have a saying (and a T shirt) that sums it up-
“Black as Night
Strong as Sin
Sweet as Love
Hot as Hell”

If necessary, I will go to San Francisco to buy my beans, but it’s a schlep, and it is a trip that will have to be planned several days in advance. A recent off topic discussion on a photo blog that I read suggested mail order bean purchasing, but that is even less my style-with certain things, particularly food, I’m an instant gratification guy. I wouldn’t have the patience for trial and error tastings.

I feel like a junkie, who knows where the “good stuff” is but it is inaccessible.

My current plan is to call the roaster, and start begging.


I went to the roastery, and begged them to sell me beans.

Although they are not set up for retail walk in in customers, they were very accommodating-a very nice office manager went back in the warehouse and personally had a bag of beans prepared for me.

While I was waiting, I joked with her colleague that I must have sounded like a junkie, pleading that I had to have “the good stuff, only the good stuff will do”.



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