Grinding Coffee at Costco

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I buy all our coffee at Costco — ok, all of my coffee as no one else drinks it in my house. And based on my age and lack-of-sleep pattern, I’ve learned to concoct a special brew that combines varying degrees of caffeine. For this process, Costco is the clear winner when it comes to the cost-experiment ratio of possibly dumping out a batch that either causes the jitters, or reduces motivation to zero.

Inevitably, like last Saturday though, I find myself along with my gal pal to be beyond the line where the Costco folks use highlighters to draw lines across our receipts — when I realize I did not grind the coffee. Again. I’m wondering if I’ve done this “forget” routine part of my forages so often that it is indeed, a routine. Thanks to gal pal, I didn’t have to trek to the car to unload the roasted chicken and baby lettuce before returning to the receipt line for my green sticker so I could return to the grinding machine. With the eye roll and nod I received, clearly I’m not the only person on this particular afternoon to walk this same path.

The commercial grade grinder at our local quasi-surburban Costco is wedged between the  .25 bottled water cooler and the condiment bar — yes, ketchup and ground-up pickles are mere inches away. This naturally creates an odd range of odors, and collection of people hovering in the same area. Not to mention, cleanliness is not first on the minds of either customers or employees on this stretch of industrial steel counter. On the best days, there is a marginally functioning tape dispenser and a pair of scissors covered in coffee mist on the grinder’s section of table — on the not-so-great days, you have to carefully maneurver back to membership to secure your fresh roast.

But when you remove the iron-clad tab, flex your triceps to open the seeled bag of two pounds or more of beans — the aroma snakes its way out and starts to cover the mustard smell down the row. Dumping those beans in is satisfying not just for the nose but for the upcoming victory over cheap condiments you’re about to win. Turn that dial to finer roast and you know it will be insta-coffee dist spewing forth in just seconds. Is there a word bigger than aroma? I don’t know and I’m too lazy to pull out the thesaurus just now (it’s spelling bee season, and I’m wearying on word-aides). Bigger and louder to the senses than scent, aroma, odor or all the rest — when that on button is pushed, nothing short of powdery intoxication comes forth — overtaking your brain and the rest of the counter crew. Instant seratonin boost, followed by waves of memories and expectations rolled all into one brown-ish cloud of desire.

And then I realized I forgot to push the off button when all the beans were pulverized, which would explain the continuing cloud of dust holding sway over my hands and possibly the folks to my right. Um, whoops; clearly I’ve been washed away in my own dreams of cookies at my great-grandma’s house, what kind of cream I’ll be using in the morning, do I have any cream, and maybe I should just drink this as soon as I get home.

There is no way to remove each and every brown crystal of former bean from your hands once you try to reseal the newly soft, pliable bag…solution: shake hands a little, then just rub in the rest so that while driving, you can reach your hand near your face, for a little whiff of what is to come.

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