Saturday, August 15, 2015

In the Highlands

MUG: English ironstone mug made by Adams in the UK. There is a pleasant country decoration, Lancaster, on the cup.

COFFEE: Colombian Huila Finca Guadalupe, French pressed.

NOTES: I am sitting on a friend's front porch in northeast Dallas, the Lake Highlands neighborhood that I grew up in. I watched these houses being built in the late 1950s (my dad even building some of them), and attended elementary school at the end of the block (White Rock Elementary).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

MUG: Hand thrown coffee mug from Marshall Pottery in East Texas. Made in the 1950-60s by Senior Potter Lawrence Houston (it's signed with a stamp).

COFFEE: Colombian, Finca Alta Guadalupe. Roasted to perfection at Central Market Westgate.

NOTE: The cup is old. Got it at a thrift store in Far North Dallas.

The coffee is new. My usual Colombian coffee (Santander) has been less than satisfying recently, and I was excited to find this bean. It rivals the fantastic Colombian San Roque from La Colombe Torrefaction that I got through Der Kuchen Laden in Fredericksburg.

The idea that this mug was made in Marshall is borrowed from my memories. No verification.

The blue is the blue stripe over the grey salt glaze. This is in the German-American 'Westerwald' tradition.

Monday, June 15, 2015


MUG: 20 ounce latte mug, made in Chine for/by The Old Pottery Company. This massive mug is off-white, with a deep red interior glaze. The exterior is ribbed horizontally, which makes a nice catchment feature for dribbles.

COFFEE: The usual. Colombian Santander 'light' roast from Central Market, roasted by Frank on June 6th.

NOTES: I took on part-time work a couple of years ago for the dual purpose of relieving retirement-induced boredom and financial stress. I went to work for James Avery Craftsman (now known as James Avery Jewelry). I chanced into a wonderful environment, but more importantly, a wonderful team of (by my standards) young people, completely devoid of the sullen, entitled Austin worker so common in retail and restaurant fields in the region.

The drive into Sodom-On-The-Colorado was gruesome (a combination of over-taxed roadways, poorly-designed-by-design highways, and DUI drivers) and began taking an unexpected toll on my well-being. An opportunity came to follow my manager and transfer to another store, one that was closer to home, and in the opposite direction of Waterloo. A third fewer miles and less than half the driving time.

In my life, I have worked for (at times over-lapping) United Artists, Presidio Enterprises, The University of Texas, Texas Education Agency, three ad agencies, the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, and The City of Dallas. I have never worked with a team I cared so much for as the team I left behind in the Barton Creek Square James Avery store. The featured mega-mug (along with a leather journal, some chocolates, some chipotle peanuts, and some beef jerky) was part of a gift basket given to me on my last day. I had to shift into 'stoicism mode' to keep from showing a level of emotion that might be seen as 'un-German'.

BIG HUGS: To Caryn, Desirae, Colleen, Shellie, Karen, Rita, Gaby, Debbie, Crystal, Soly, and Jennifer (and to former co-workers Michelle and Veronica), big hugs.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Into the heart of darkness.

MUG: Waechtersbach plain white, hergestellt in Deutschland.

COFFEE: Starbucks Ethiopian 'medium' roast. Very dark by my standards

NOTES: June began with a coffee shortage at Casa Verano. Just as I was contemplating how to arrange a trip to secure some magic beans, a friend who's husband manages a Starbucks offered me a bag of their Ethiopian beans. Drinkable. Black. Better as an iced coffee base, this coffee carried me for two days until I could make the trip to Central Market (a day earlier than hoped). Central Market is only on the 'edge' of darkness.

It's not the dark I find disagreeable, it's the burn. The kindness remains very much appreciated, nonetheless. Far better than any HEB-available emergency coffee.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hash tag.

MUG: Another 'Fakersbach' mug from Society6.

COFFEE: Guatemalan Antigua from the grocery store (where it was roasted).

NOTES: This mug speaks to me. Said the small man in a box, "Come, come, Mr. Bond, you disappoint me. You get as much fulfillment out of killing as I do, so why don't you admit it?"

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Verdant and deadly.

MUG: German-made Waechtersbach mug, acquired at Der Kuchen Laden in Fredericksburg. Uranium green.

COFFEE: An Antigua from the mountains of Guatemala. Medium-light roast. Chock-full-o-flavor.

NOTES: It has been a very green spring in semi-arid Texas. Lots of rainfall, and the ground (both the thin soil of the rocky Texas Hill Country, and deep rich soils of river floodplains in northeast and southeast Texas) are saturated. My family has known the signs for generations, and other than the southern 19th century family homestead in the fertile Trinity River plains, we have have always lived on high ground (above the Red River, above White Rock Creek, and now above the Blanco River). 'Always lived' is a key phrase in a land where the water runs violently swift today in an arroyo that was dry yesterday.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Black in White.

MUG: Spanish-made German Waechtersbach mug. Unadorned. White.  

COFFEE: Colombian Santander, 'light' roasted at Central Market Westgate.  Slow-drip brewed.

NOTES: Simple unadorned pleasure of a quality cup of coffee, both the white mug and the black coffee... although my coffee is usually a dark muddy brown in appearance due to a combination of the lighter coffee roast and higher coffee content I prefer.

According to Wikipedia (where PR departments get to create 'encyclopedia' articles), Colombian coffee cultivation began partly as an act of penance.

The coffee plant had spread to Colombia by 1790. The oldest written testimony of the presence of coffee in Colombia is attributed to a Jesuit priest, José Gumilla. In his book The Orinoco Illustrated (1730), he registered the presence of coffee in the mission of Saint Teresa of Tabajé, near where the Meta river empties into the Orinoco. Further testimony comes from the archbishop-viceroy Caballero y Gongora (1787) who registered the presence of the crop in the north east of the country near Giron (Santander) and Muzo (Boyaca) in a report that he provided to the Spanish authorities. 

The first coffee crops were planted in the eastern part of the country. In 1835 the first commercial production was registered with 2,560 green coffee bags that were exported from the port of Cucuta, near the border with Venezuela. A priest named Francisco Romero is attributed to have been very influential in the propagation of the crop in the northeast region of the country. After hearing the confession of the parishioners of the town of Salazar de la Palmas, he required as penance the cultivation of coffee.