Yesterday I walked across the room and around the corner and into an old dream. There, at the sofa, sat a Caucasian man and two Asian men, all wearing business suits. I don't know why. And not a word was exchanged between us. I'd only seen them once before, in my sleep. Insignificant details. But I dream a lot. And my dreams become reality.
I once was visiting my cousin, Greg, and we were both probably around 10 or 12 years old. I was always fooling around with cards, maybe because my parents weren't allowed to play cards growing up and so there were cards all over our house. And we were fascinated by card tricks and fancy shuffling techniques. But card tricks weren't my forte; that was my brother's thing. So I shuffled the deck with a simple riffle and bridge and told Greg I wanted to show him a trick. "Pick a card." "Look at it and memorize it and put it back in the deck, anywhere you want." He stuck it back in the middle. And I shuffled the deck some more. A lot more. An unreasonable amount. So much that Greg became bored and annoyed. I shuffled and shuffled, and then I spread the cards like a fan and pulled one card out of the middle, and showed him the card and said, "That's your card." He was shocked. How did you do that? Do it again. Tell me how you did that. But I wouldn't budge.
Because I knew the one thing about card tricks that no one ever thinks of.
Even if you don't know any tricks, you still have a one-in-52 chance of being right.
To say, "This doesn't always work" is an understatement.
But that's not the only card trick I did growing up. My friends and I were determined that we could learn to do things that other people couldn't. We spent parts of our lives trying to teach our brains extra sensory perception. Focus. Concentrate. I see the card you have in your hand. Was it the card I could see or was it the mind of the person holding the card? Could I see into the future and know the next roll of the dice? And where did we cross the line between being right by a 1-in-52 chance and being able to know the card without looking? Was it a child's exercise in futility? Or did I learn something you don't know?
The average person only uses 10% of his brain, we were told. And we wondered what the other 90% was capable of. Statistically... we didn't keep track. Our goal was to be right every single time. We didn't know what we were doing. We just figured if we did it enough, we'd get better at it. Like learning Spanish. When I was right, I'd focus on the same thing again. Or was it the lack of focus? Having an open mind? Or focusing on the mind of my confederate? Or were we just practicing statistics?
"I'm a good guesser. That's how I got through high school." It was a catty remark I used to explain my uncanny ability to guess right. This has been an ongoing theme in my life.
I have always dreamt a lot. When I was a child, and we had moved from my birthplace to a town in red dirt country, I remember having a dream that I was a superhero and I was fighting crime and criminals, and I vaguely remember glimpses of the dark hallway and my shadowy parents and then the next morning, waking up to find out I had been sleepwalking through this dream. And the sleepwalking plagued me, finding me wide-eyed and nightmarish, wakeful but asleep, flying through the colors between mesas and struggling to avoid the big fall, straining, flailing. And playing basketball in the hallway of a hotel during a school trip to Washington D.C., in front of a roaring crowd at Madison Square Garden, schooling Dr. J and throwing up that jump-shot to win the game, and then waking up to my schoolmates standing around my bed with the teacher over me, asking me if I knew my name and if I had been taking drugs. But I also had dreams about conversations, about people I didn't recognize, foreshadowing real events that seemed to take place later when I would remember someone I had known for a short time in that dream before I met them, and the words coming out of their mouth would already be in my brain, because I had already dreamt it, already experienced it in my sleep, and my responses were already written down for my recital. Brief glimpses. Many people. New friends from old dreams. And I was told that my grandmother used to dream about people before their ultimate demise. A forecast of death. A foreboding shadow. But maybe it's hereditary. Her grandparents were Native American. Do the Indians have special powers?
But my dreams come true.
Can I penetrate your mind? When I look into your eyes, what do you feel? I know what you feel. I feel it too.
I feel it while I'm roasting.
The coffee beans, inside the drum, roasting. Hotter and hotter. Cracking. I feel their personalities and their emotions. They want to be roasted, but not too much. And I felt the rock was alive when I was a rock climber. I could feel that it wanted us on it. Or it didn't. I feel the objects you accuse of being inanimate and always fill my life with interesting chairs and sticks and skulls and saddles with stories and old paintings, everything old and interesting, because when they speak, I don't want to be bored. And as the coffee beans near their final moments in my roasting drum, I feel their anxiety and I connect with them through my hands in the cooling bin, caressing and helping them cool, because it's so hot, it's so hot. And I cried when I saw the 60 kilo hipster machine at the coolest coffee bar around, with its auto-loader and conveyers and I could feel the loneliness of the beans and I said what they told me: "This is where coffee comes to die." And everyone was having such a good time in that sanctuary, that mortuary, laughing and drinking PBR and name-dropping and one-upping each other through passive-aggressive backstabbing, oblivious to the pain and sadness which lived in that hall.
I touch your coffee. And it touches me.
Finding good coffees is always an ordeal. Getting samples from brokers or farmers and roasting them in my little 2-barrel Jabez Burns and tasting them and making notes, and then tasting them again and comparing them, trying to decide which is best or which is delicious or which is interesting. And then deciding how much to buy. And hoping it tastes good when it gets here- as good or as interesting as it did when I tasted it on the cupping table or in our sample trials. Is it luck? Just hitting the odds? Maybe I'm still a good guesser or my sixth sense is honed in...
We have some new coffees that have just arrived and more on the way.
A new Rwandan from a lady named Epiphanie Mukashyaka arrived yesterday, and I roasted it straight away. That's what I'm drinking now. It's good. Different than the last Rwanda we had. This one has spice and nut and it's a full, sweet cup. I think it's going to be a big hit. Also on yesterday's pallet we received a new crop Brazil from Fazenda Rodomunho. We had a dry-processed coffee from them previous to this, but the new coffee is a pulped natural, which means they ran the coffee through the pulper to take the cherry skins off and then they dried the coffee with the mucilage still attached. Compared to wet-processing, this tends to lend a bit more sweetness and slight fruit tones to the cup. The Brazil PN is nice - with traditional nuttiness, but added sweet molasses and a buttery finish.
More coffees on the way. I bought a washed Sidamo that I like. Complex, mild berry and citrus and chocolate. I also committed to buy two micro-lots from Costa Rica. One from Tarrazu, the same region as La Minita, from their regional mill called Dota in a town called Santa Maria, where I once rode my bike over the rolling mountains and sat in the park in front of the church, watching school kids mill around the square playing soccer and fraternizing. The other is a honey process coffee (which is another way of saying pulped natural) from the West Valley, of an old variety of Bourbon known as Villa Sarchi, which was grown and processed at the Genesis farm by Oscar and Olga Mendez. Pretty exciting stuff, and I'm roasting more samples today in search of more.
But all that is nothing. Just wait til I tell you about some other dreams of mine that have come true...