The sharp ringing of a morning alarm blares through the soothing darkness. Groaning in sleep-deprivation, I blindly throw one arm out to hit snooze.“15 more minutes…” I mumble out loud, falling back into a warm cocoon of deliciously lush blankets. …
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the Dirt Bag Barista, Zach Hester, but we’re glad to know he’s alive and well- last seen somewhere in New Mexico. To catch up on his travels read Part I, Part II, and Part III.
The Earth Ships of Taos New Mexico
We had just come from the Earth Ships of Taos and the wild sagebrush stretched for acres, maybe miles. The smell was what you’d imagine— turpentine and beautiful desert mythos. From left to right the vast desert stretched into some wild blanket of the brush until finally, some miles off, it ceased in growth at the foot of the Sangre Di Cristo Mountains. Somewhere in the distance you could see the coloring of yellow October Aspens and, illuminated by the sun, it became suddenly quite clear why Taos is the oldest continually inhabited community within our United States. The history dates back to 1000 A.D. I feel certain places secrete a stillness in the air that carries over into its’ environment, I’m not sure what one would call it—I imagine a lot of names for such held breaths in the natural world exists and Taos certainly carried this notion in abundance. The place is powerful.
As Ian and I drove up the road and …
Editor’s note: Travels of a Barista Dirt Bag is an ongoing series of dispatches from barista/ guest blogger Zach Hester. The search for a delicious cup of coffee is taking Zach from his native Kentucky bluegrass, down the Mississippi Delta, across the Southwest to the shining Pacific Ocean. In Part III Zach reflects on what it means to be a barista while getting in touch with nature. Get caught up on his previous travels here: Part I and Part II.
The Two Rules of Coffee
There are two rules with coffee— or, at least, two rules that have stuck with me, rules that I try to be mindful of on each shift, each time walking into work. Rules that were embedded into my conscious through various teachers and rules that, apparently, translate beyond coffee’s ideal extraction, as I came to realize one morning in west Texas. In fact, rules that, those who have worked with me, particularly my friend and fellow Sunday morning cohort, Richard Blackwell—soon to be married— hear me mutter …
Editor’s note: Travels of a Barista Dirt Bag is an ongoing series of dispatches from barista/ guest blogger Zach Hester. The search for a delicious cup of coffee is taking Zach from his native Kentucky bluegrass, down the Mississippi Delta, across the Southwest to the shining Pacific Ocean. In Part II Zach searches for the best Coffee in New Orleans. Get caught up on his previous travels here.
The Big Easy
I blinked and must have missed it. Sure, I’m a bit rough around the edges this morning, the two bottles of wine at dinner last night from our gracious hosts down here in New Orleans didn’t exactly set the mood for an early and productive morning in the Big Easy, but still, my nose is usually better than this. I find coffee shops. There it goes again, another strafe down the sidewalk, another miss. I see beautiful Live Oak and Weeping Willow, a Whole Foods, a parking lot set off the road a bit and tons of New Orleans character, but no coffee. Where is this Velvet Espresso Bar that serves up Stumptown and why can’t I find the shop?
Trying to sift through the groggy early morning cobwebs and sitting on the sidewalk, I hum along to Bob Dylan’s …
Day 1: 10/6/ 2013
Editor’s note: Travels of a Barista Dirt Bag is an ongoing series of dispatches from barista/ guest blogger Zach Hester. The search for a delicious cup of coffee is taking Zach from his native Kentucky bluegrass, down the Mississippi Delta, across the Southwest to the shining Pacific Ocean. Tune in each day for a fresh update.
On The Road
We took off a day and several hours past what we had originally planned. By “we,” I mean myself and long time friend and vagabond, Ian Herrick, who has just made his way back stateside from a long stay over in Costa Rica as a hired hand on a sustainable farm. His latest addendum to his diverse CV: planting a banana orchard. It’s no wonder we’ve left Louisville with something to be desired in the department of punctuality, although I am mainly to blame for this. It’s October 6th and sometime around three in the afternoon. We’re driving south on 65 and still some miles north of Nashville. Tropical Storm Karen’s rains are very much present in the atmosphere. Everything has cooled over the last 24 hours and our field of view comes in and out with the rhythms of windshield wipers. We’re listening to the Beta Band, loudly. …
An Accidental Coffee Drinker
I started drinking coffee by accident. At the time I was working at a coffee shop in my hometown between semesters in college. I had no interest in coffee but enjoyed the free smoothies. In retrospect, I’m appalled to think about how bad of a barista I must have been. One day after cranking out a slew of drinks for an unexpected afternoon slam, I discovered that I made an extra iced mocha by mistake. I figured, “What the heck? Why not?”, and proceeded to add two extra pumps of chocolate sauce before taking my first sip. I was pleased to discover that it tasted just like chocolate milk.