I like Santa Cruz. It’s a swell town. It’s been getting some attention lately because of its happy tweets and its job growth, but just now I’m feeling more like the character, Grandpa, in “The Lost Boys.” In the morning, I just want some coffee. If I have errands to run and a full day ahead, I may not take the time to make coffee at home and instead will count on buying a cup or two as I’m going from place to place. But there are very few places in Santa Cruz where you can just get a cup of coffee. Verve will do it. Lulu’s will want you to select from a bewildering array of possibilities, where the beans are all sourced from different locales and they are all roasted differently. Santa Cruz Roasting Company offers a similar set of choices. Starbucks, like Verve, keeps it pretty simple.
You know, tea varieties are so easily distinguished. Ceylon, oolong, darjeeling, and Earl Grey are each distinct and distinguishable by someone who has never drunk tea before, and that’s just sticking to black teas. But coffee? In this decade? Everyone is growing and selling arabica, so it comes down to very subtle differences in terroir. Like that’s even a thing for coffee. One might possibly be able to detect the difference between an Indonesian coffee bean and a Mexican coffee bean, but after they’ve been roasted (one to very dark and one light) and then brewed (one by someone who never cleans the coffee maker and one by someone who rinses the carafe with lemon juice) are we really going to pretend that the distinction between the two cups of coffee comes from their country of origin? And seriously, is it at all reasonable to require me to be a coffee hipster before I’ve even had any coffee?
One of Grandpa’s more dramatic lines is, “One thing about Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires.” One understands that Santa Carla is really Santa Cruz, and if one substitutes “hipster” for “vampire” then I’m right there with Grandpa. I must remember: when going out and getting coffee, just stop in Boulder Creek first.