Lantana, Petunia and Sweet Potato vine. My sunny container arrangement. (Unretouched photos by ADS)
Above: This container arrangement makes me happy.
When she last visited, my daughter asked about the espresso maker which made single cups. I told her I had stored it and wasn’t using it. The water here, traveling from the Appalachian Mountains to our west, through the Shenandoah (Great Valley of Virginia) or “the Vally”, as the locals call it, then down the Potomac to Washington D.C. where it is processed before it reaches our taps, loaded with minerals like calcium, making it “hard water” quickly ruins appliances like coffee makers.
You could get it fixed she said. I sent it to the manufacturer, he fixed it and sent it back, but I haven’t used it since. Do you want it, I asked her (she has well water), but she declined.
David has resumed using his Braun coffee maker which is so full of calcium deposits are oozing through the seams. And, I am once again using my water kettle, also oozing calcium, to make tea. Lately, I’ve switched tea only, having the odd cup of Starbucks espresso when I’m out and about, maybe one cup per week.
Every Saturday for years, David and I shopped for our coffee at a local establishment in Alexandria VA. When we entered the eighteenth century store, I almost swooned from the aroma emanating from the huge bags of beans along the counter and lining the ancient wooden aisles, appearing as if offloaded at the wharf which once graced this historic tobacco port.
We ordered various kinds of beans and roasts, experimenting until we found the blend we liked best.
At some point the Coffee Bean went out of business, probably because other patrons besides ourselves began shopping at chain stores, choosing convenience and cost over quality. These days, I don’t shop unless I can do it from the comfort of my easy chair.
Enter Amazon, the world’s largest coffee bean trader, where I found an excellent Italian roast coffee for my espresso maker….until it broke and I resumed drinking tea most of the time.
But David loves his coffee every morning, and I don’t mind the aroma of a fresh brew, so I buy the coffee. David complained the regular coffee was too weak, so I began to look for a darker roast. But it had to be organic, shade grown, bird friendly, and fair traded. And it had to have the seals to prove it.
Many of those song birds we love so much, like hummingbirds, winter in Latin American forests. If they lose their winter habitats, they will become extinct. It’s that simple. Arabica coffee is more expensive, but its grown under tall shade trees, and unlike the common Robusta coffee, lacks the bitter taste. Fair traded coffee means the grower can earn enough to support a family and won’t turn to raising drugs to make a living.
This morning David brewed coffee from Guatemala. Yesterday he tried the coffee from Nicaragua. He likes them both, and I told him I would order either. Both meet the requirements of being organic, shade grown and fair traded. Our small contribution to make the world a better place.