How My Coffee Purchases Border on Illicit Drug Deals

I am a coffee snob. There. I said it.

I fool my students into thinking I love Starbucks. I do appreciate the gift cards, though mostly for their sugary treats. Honestly, Starbucks coffee tastes like dirt lit on fire. You doubt me? Try a cup black. No sugar. No milk. No chocolate. Yeah, not so good. Starbucks isn’t a coffee dealer. They’re a sugar and chocolate dealer.

Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of coffee from all sorts of vendors. Now, I can hardly drink most coffees. I can taste the artificial flavor drizzled over the beans. Yuck. Long ago I loved Kona coffee because that’s what my parents drink. I would probably go back to that if I didn’t have another, if somewhat strange, alternative.

I discovered a unique Pannikins in downtown San Diego. I say unique because it was only Pannikin in name. The two ladies that ran the shop took over the site. They’re actually called Hessian Global Goods. They have all sorts of bizarre tea cups and coffee pots. They have a huge assortment of Day of the Dead knick knacks.

Now the coffee is astounding. They import from all over the world. They even have Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica and St Helena coffee from Napoleon’s exile island. My favorites have always been the African coffee. Typically I get Uganda or Zambia. I know if it’s the coffee or their grinder, but the java is addicting.

Things were going well until the girls closed the shop due to skyrocketing rent. Since then (about a year now), I still by coffee from them. The process looks a little weird. I call the ladies up. (Like I will this weekend. Getting a little low.) We plan a meeting place. Typically this is a park. We meet up and make the exchange. I swipe my card through their phone, and they hand over a brown bag with two pounds of coffee. Yeah, it looks crazy. But the coffee’s worth it.

It may end soon. The ladies are planning on buying another shop. Mostly because all their non-coffee wares are wasting away in a storage unit.

Tim Kane