Monday, October 12, 2015

Mendo's Coffeeneuring Challenge 2015 - Day 2

Take Two at the The Cool Bean

Fortunately, my inclination toward cycling challenges with arcane rules is well understood by my dear wife. She belongs to an asylum (web group for runners of half-marathons) who have criteria that would appeal to randonneurs. I list their disclaimer for your entertainment value.
The Half Fanatics will not be responsible for any of the above conditions incurred by you. Examples of these, but not limited to, the following actions:
  • On the verge or getting into financial ruin, including bankruptcy, by participating in so many marathons
  • Loss of a significant other, due to your addiction in this sport
  • Neglect of your residence (inside and outside, especially the yard) because of your constant absence due to participating in marathons
  • Any damage to personal property due (or property of others) when driving to and from events, especially when you’re tired and have to drive quite a distance to another marathon the day after you completed one (or the same day!)
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you can’t participate in events due to injury, special engagements, family functions, costs, etc.
And so I find myself supporting her at the Yosemite Half Marathon. If all goes well, next weekend will find her in two other states on Saturday and Sunday for two other half marathons and thus qualifying her for some new level of fanaticism. Aren't we a cute couple?

I am not a runner. So I brought my bike to look for coffee in this tiny town near Yosemite National Park.

### Coffeeneuring Control Stop #2 ###

DATE: 10/10/2015
DRINKS: Grounds for Change "Forestal" (Guatemala)
MILEAGE: 3.2 miles
COFFEE SHOP: The Cool Bean Cafe, 40120 Hwy 41, Oakhurst, CA

2nd Cup at The Pour Over Bar
BACKGROUND: The Cool Bean Cafe specializes in fairly traded, organic certified, shade grown coffee and direct trade, organic certified tea. You can select from a list of coffee origins at their pour over bar or have the baristas hand brew you an individual cup - see the last section. "Shade grown" was new to me, so I had to learn why coffee grown in the sun might be frowned upon.
Wikipedia: Coffee is a small tree or shrub that grows in the forest understory in its wild form. Sun-tolerant coffee plants were created to produce larger yields through higher-density, open planting, but the cultivation practices used for them are considered unsustainable and often have a negative impact on the environment.

Casey and Alyssa Lucas opened this shop in October of 2009. Casey grew up in the area and graduated from Yosemite High School. Alyssa grew up in Nebraska and then moved to California when she was young. They met in college and have been inseparable since!Apparently, not cyclists.

By the way, I also looked up the origin of the phrase "cool beans" and found nothing that I actually believe. Sorry.

COFFEE REVIEW: I walked in and said, "are you Casey?" and not surprisingly, the guy said "yes, I am Casey." "But not *that* Casey - Casey is the owner, but my name also happens to be Casey," he clarified. Okay Casey number two, what's brewing today? So Casey pointed me to the pot with a Guatemalan coffee called "Forestal" which is a single-origin, dark roast from a company called Grounds for Change. In addition to being fair trade, organic and carbon-free (well, carbon offset), they also participate in the Cafe Femenino Coffee Project in Peru, a co-op completely run by women and allowing them to take full control over the profits. Cool beans.

If you read my first post, you know I had a Guatemalan coffee last week. I'm barely educated enough to know dark from medium, so this is a total coincidence. And this also happens to be from the highland region of Huehuetenango. It was different than last week, but similar. Very smooth, rich but not overpowering. Clearly there was some hint of chocolate. Once he mentioned it, I could detect some smokiness.

I chatted more with Casey who asked, since I seemed like someone who really knew coffee (fooled him!), if I liked cold brew coffee. Never tried it. So he gave me an espresso-sized cup of some and I was very impressed. It was cold (no surprise), extremely smooth with no smokiness or "dirtiness" just really rich, complex flavor with no acidity. Fabulous.

FOOD PAIRING: I asked Casey, who clearly hadn’t given it much thought. But to his credit, he looked in the case and settled on some pumpkin bread. They bake it fresh. And I have to agree that it went very well with the dark roast.

BIKE AMBIANCE: Yelp has an item called "Bike Parking" and it said yes for The Cool Bean Cafe. The shop sits in a strip mall, but has an open patio. This morning, a pair of smokers were out there, so I sat inside. The fence around the patio was a nice place for the bike, so I’d give this place a “B” for bike ambiance. Not bad. As I was leaving, I chatted with the two old guys who were smoking and enjoying their coffee. My prejudice was broken when one said, “I used to have a Cannondale.” We chatted some more and they gave me some advice about navigating left across the busy street. Cool beans.

Moon over Denny's,
along with Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Regulus
DUCK'S VIEW: Mendo really looks good next to coffee, don't you think? Mendo thought the pour over bar was cool, he loved the copper. The bar, the food case, the busy behind-the-bar area was so "coffee shop" but the seating area was less interesting for a duck. The experience was comfortable, a little burbling fountain to float around in would be nice ...but then rubber duckies probably aren't the target demographic. This is more of a chainsaw-carved-bear sort of place.

THE BIKE: Soma, see the bottom of the "Day 1" post.

THE RIDE: Oakhurst is in the foothills next to Yosemite National Park. Our hotel and the coffee shop were on the same street and my ride was mostly downhill. I'm sure I pedaled, but not much. Afterwards, my task was to go retrieve my car from the local high school. My wife drove there are 4:30am to catch the bus taking the marathoners up the mountain so they could race back down. Not much of a ride. It was a classic Coffeeneuring ride, meaning it fulfilled its task of getting me some coffee - it's not about the bike.

TAKE TWO: I’m not sure if this counts as a double entendre, but this is Coffeeneuring Challenge ride number two, I talked with Casey number two and the coffee was so good that I went back later for a second cup. This time, I went with Casey’s suggestion for a medium roast pour-over from the Congo (I think, it might have been "Congolon" from Honduras now that I check their website). I was searching for the plum tones with a vanilla aftertaste but I wasn’t quite finding it. It was good and smooth, but I had a runner approaching the finish line and had to be there for her. Cool beans, take two.

No comments:

Post a Comment