A Pursuit of Coffee – Beantown Expedition #1
Like almost every morning in Boston, I sat in the presence of old and new beauty. It’s an interesting juxtaposition. Indoor plants adorn the wall in front of me – beautiful gradients of lime to forest. The verdant presence radiates life into the room. A woman sits in front of the wall, uncomfortable as her husband takes her picture.
I sit at a wannabe mid-century modern table. The top fits the bill but the legs are too chunky. A small succulent in a black coffee cup is the table’s only decoration, and it feels so small in comparison to the wall of grandeur its brothers and sisters make behind it.
But through the small noise of chatter, classic music penetrates the ears of patrons. It’s loud and refreshing in comparison to the “Folk Indie” station I seem to always listen to on Spotify. It places me in a state of creativity and wander for the old.
The lights above are metal, industrial. With little shade from the bulb, I feel like the spotlight is on me. “Keep your head down, Meghan,” I tell myself. “It’s just you and your paper.”
But I can’t focus. The spotlight has moved to Fedora-guy who talks too loudly to his girlfriend about their lunch date. With a hint of a lisp, he declares, “You can’t order three martinis at lunch like you did last time. I don’t want to drop that much money today.”
The couple next to me reads a newspaper but only half-heartedly. Instead, he’s desperate to find a phone charger, and all she wants is to be warm. He promises her a warm fire when they leave and a trip to Walgreens.
Three feisty ladies enter the room at the perfect time. “Are you leaving?”, one of them asks a young lady starting to pack her bag. As she nods, the feistiest one proclaims, “Great! Well not great that you’re leaving, just great for us!” They both laughed, but I think her British accent and hearty smile tempered the situation. The three women then resume a rowdy conversation about politics.
People work. People play. People take mini-naps. Young people read newspapers and books while older ones read iPads and phones. Nonetheless, I feel the energy of it all, and I smile. I look out the window at the brick roads and row houses that define Beacon Hill. I see an antique store. “Flurries of Fun” is painted on its windows, and in the same second I see literal snow flurries begin to fall from the sky.
When I make myself leave the warmth of my cozy apartment, I’m always greeted with the magical warmth of this city. Its heart is entwined with modern and colonial, but the history never stops the progress. And this openness to change, justice and equality marks it not only as a city full of firsts, but as a city full of thoughtful people.
Why don’t I go experience the life of Boston more? All of the reasons aren’t good enough excuses to even list here. Therefore, I’m making a point to go to at least one new coffee shop each week and document my experience just like you’ve read here. Every Wednesday night (at least through this month), I’ll post my story.
This week, the story you read above was about Peet’s Coffee & Tea on Charles Street in Beacon Hill. I’ve never taken a moment to appreciate this coffee and have only visited kiosks between one city to the next while I sip in a terminal. The coffee has always been flavorful and consistent. It’s not pretentious or basic. If you don’t know a lot about Peet’s Coffee & Tea, here’s a little history (source):
It began in Berkeley, CA in 1966 by a man named Alfred Peet, a Holland native who grew up in the coffee trade. He was appalled by what people called “coffee” in the United States in the 1940s, so he wanted to change that. Regulars at his original establishment were called “Peetniks” and are said to be the first in the movement toward artisan food crafting. The coffee shop chain’s goal: “Continually strive to raise the bar for the American coffee industry, while always delivering a great tasting cup for those who truly love coffee.” They practice responsible sourcing, farmer assistance training and partner with nonprofits to create community support in the lives of their farmers around the world. Click here to learn more about it.