“What the fuck is a Brazil French press?”
“I don’t know man. It’s half the cost of a French French press.”
“It looks almost the same. Same size. Does the same thing. Yeah?”
“Well, screw it. Let’s get it. Or, I mean, we could get two for the price of one.”
“Yeah but that’s not necessary.”
The next morning I was eager to play with my new toy. This required a crucial ingredient: coffee. Specifically coarse ground coffee, ideally freshly ground, which shouldn’t have been hard to find because almost all pre-ground bagged coffee won’t work in a French press (but it will for drip purposes). There’s was so much to think about. I didn’t want to screw this up. “Relax. It’s just coffee,” I told myself, “yeah, but it’s not just any coffee. It’s French press coffee!” "Well, Brazilian French press coffee. Whatever the fuck that is.”
The grocery store across the street from my house always has decent coffee on sale: Peets, Starbucks, Illy, Dunkin Donuts. I’m kidding, Dunkin Donuts is shit, though the coffee they sell in stores in licensed and not actually the coffee they brew in their shops, so even if I was a fan, it would be pretty stupid to have gone that route. Dunkin Donuts: America Runs on Caffeinated Water.
I chose Peets because I wasn’t in the mood to spend more than ten dollars. But the coffee grinder that once graced aisle five in Ralphs of West Hollywood on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, California (a Kroger Company - Kroger: It tastes!) was missing. An inquiry with cashier Lynda confirmed my worst fear: they no longer had a coffee grinding machine. Though this was probably for the best as I’m pretty sure they only cleaned it bi-annually during a celebration known as “The Great Coffee Purge,” sponsored by Clorox, in which they’d pour Clorox in, around and all over the machine and call it a day.
I decided to figure this debacle out after my weekly torture session; i.e. triathlon training, i.e. Sunburn Saturday, i.e. sand and ass crack rendezvous, i.e. negative 1,500 calorie morning, which means I can eat as many pastries, burgers, and breakfast sandwiches as I want for the rest of the day. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Because two-and-a-half-blocks-away-from-my-house Ralphs didn’t have what I needed (which, if you recall, was a decent bag of sub $10 coffee with access to a coffee grinder), I settled on the next best thing: Stumptown Coffee. Two problems surfaced: their Los Angeles location is downtown, the opposite direction I needed to go, and their coffee is significantly more expensive than the nine dollar bag of Peets I held in my soft, caffeine-lacking hands hours earlier. I rationalized this decision because they were certain to grind my beans for me.
An hour and five minutes later I arrived at Stumptown, located in an abandoned area in the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles next to the LA River, which isn’t really a river at all, but more like a dry aqueduct. The shop had a colossally large roaster in the back. “I didn’t know they roasted right here in LA!” I thought, “this was definitely the right decision.” While fifteen dollars for a bag seemed semi-reasonable for coffee quality of this magnitude (my perceptions of “reasonable” had changed over the course of four hours), I soon realized their bags are only 12oz, putting the cost per pound at twenty dollars or over double what I would have spent on Peets. To put that into perspective, if we create a new unit of measurement called the Coffee-Distance Correlation, or CDC, where CDC = distance traveled times cost/pound, given the extra 11 miles I drove to and from downtown, that’s 220 CDC for Stumptown, compared to 0.9 CDC for the Peets from Ralphs, but again, Ralphs didn’t have a coffee grinder so I really had no other choice.
It had to be Stumptown.