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Dear Youth A Treatise on Art and Coffee

Coffee Sightglass San Francisco What Youth
NXT /
12.20.12 – TAGS: , ,
Photo: Stuart Cornuelle

Coffee is a drug. That’s masked by ubiquity and social acceptance but it’s just hot speed. Black hot wonderful speed.

That thought lingered last Saturday morning as a nice young man in a waxed-cotton apron and mustache — and not a November mustache, but a real annual subscription to the thing — fixed my Guatemalan pour-over. He was meticulous and it was good. It was art.

We were at Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco for a meeting. Sightglass is one of these modern temples to the coffee experience where you can, and might latently be sort of expected to, know the farm’s longitude and elevation for every bean in your biodegradable cup. It’s drug use elevated to art and science with an attendant style re apron plus mustache, live-edge counters and exposed beams (likely reclaimed industrial). It’s full passionate expression of this mundane daily basic that until recently didn’t aspire beyond battery-acid Folgers in one’s own kitchen. At least not on a popular scale, and at least not in America.

Now it’s art. This legal morning drug dose is art. What if popping Advil had such a subculture dedicated to its craft and nuance? Maybe it should. Coffee happens to be having a moment but there’s nothing that can’t be done well and creatively enough to constitute artistry. Whatever we do today can be art.

I watched a TED Talk about this recently. That’s why it was in my head on Saturday as the coffee dripped. Passion brought to bear on a day’s outfit or a life’s work or anything in between can make it art. Let’s not be underachieving here.

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