Sunday, November 27, 2005


"You see, it should've been me, It could've been me. Everybody knows, Everybody says so"

Morrissey, "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful"

I have this awful habit. The acerbic wit and charm that I fancy myself as having in spades can occasionally turn bitter as a cup of Starbucks coffee. Morrissey captures it pretty well with his trademark unambiguous title above. But for me, it's not just about friends; everything from an internet story on the latest Indie Wunderkind in Hollywood to the story in the Westword last week about the 21 and 22 year old dropouts who are buying a high-profile night spot downtown can send me flailing into a vortex of self loathing, causing my bite and sarcasm to flare up like an allergic reaction.

It's a toxic habit, unbecoming and unproductive, and I should cease and desist right now. But I've brought it up, and let's face it... I wouldn't be doing my job as a writer if I didn't give an example of exactly what I'm talking about, right?

About eight years ago, I was working at the Diedrich's on 9th and Downing, trying hard to convince myself that the cool clientele and neighborhood feel meant that I wasn't really working for "The Man", even though Martin Diedrich is a rampant egomaniac who speaks his family name in the same hushed tones one uses for "Christ" or "Hitler", and may very well be the guy for whom the term "The Man" was coined. The Man. Plus, the tips were off the charts. I figured, hey, I'm making at least as much as anybody who owns their own independent joint, and the benefits are just as good. (Which is to say: nonexistent)

Into my bubble of delusion walked a slim hipped, sunken shouldered man my same age who struck up a friendly (though I would come to discover - loaded) conversation about coffee. He then invited me to a cupping, a friendly "taste off" between the big players in town... Starbucks, Diedrichs, Peaberry... and his own elixer, which he was roasting in his own home. He even had his own invitations.

And there it was, in glorious black and white, on a quarter sheet of paper. A photo of him, in front of a brick wall, sans shirt, with a doe-eyed look which seemed to moan, longingly "Please come see my band... our influences are U2 and Mr. Mister and we have feelings." Over the next few days I learned that my friends - baristas, bean jockeys, Italian Soda Jerks all - had received the same invite.

(Not to be a dick, of course. The above is just, you know, an example.)

But really, an invitation to your own party, with a picture of you on the front? It is pretty bad, right? See, I just can't tell anymore if I'm justifiably calling out a faux pas or if I'm just being jealous, seeing as that guy is now one of the owners of Kaladi Brothers Coffee, home of what is, hands down, the best cup of coffee in Colorado.

The storefront is unassuming enough, and matches the energy level of the nearby DU Campus, which makes Front Range Community College look like one of Playboy's "Top 25 Party Schools". The boy-ristas are all coffee-cocky know it all swagger, but I've never had a bad experience with the females who work there. Case in point is Heather, who was working when I went Sunday morning. She looks like Edward Scissorhands' cheerleader sister and gives the place the sort of street cred that usually only goes with a joint that's open past eight o'clock at night.

But where the shop REALLY shines is it's coffee, drip and espresso alike. I have never had a less

than perfect shot pulled from the kind of machine that Starbucks is afraid to use nowadays. And
speaking of machines, the shop has been known to feature a fetishitic display of espresso
makers, including the particularly pornographic display of mid 20th century art deco design currently alongside the menu.

So I admit it... I want his shop. I want his notoriety for serving such great coffee. I want his location so I can keep it open later. I want my disembodied brain to be placed in formaldehyde in the glass cylinder of that old espresso machine so I can rule my army of steam powered robots! I am small and petty and jealous.

But still, dude... keep your shirt on.


MrDanger said...

hhhhmmmmm... clever title ......
How about

"My boy band is better then your....."

" My swinger friends are better then your......."

totalvo said...

you have to keep this up. I love this entry

Anonymous said...

clever title to Mr. Kaladi' about..
'I'm going to make you love me...dammit'