My Holy Grail

You know, I try to make my own coffee. I’m not even bad at it – it’s perfect for my own tastes. Strong, robust, caffienated enough to make my head spin after only one cup. But no matter how much I like the homemade java, I still yearn for the store-bought buzz on these working mornings. So I’ve set out on a quest; a holy journey in search of the best coffee on the commute.

The coffee must adhere to these standards:

1. easy parking – so that no matter how late i’m running I can conveniently pop the e-brake and dash in without hassle

2. good flavor – a good friend of mine once said that she drank her coffee black because when you add milk the shelf life decreases. I didn’t understand this in high school, but in recent years I’ve come to value her wisdom.

3. good cupfeel – the tactile element is important. McDonald’s coffee isn’t actually that bad, but the generic cup just wrecks it for me.

4. not starbucks – I don’t think I need to clarify that any further.

I’ve explored many venues on my search for the perfect morning coffeeshop – I found a small french bakery that sells tiny cookies for 14 bucks a pound, a small cafe that does catering and has the most divine scones (apple pecan, you thrill me to the core), and I’ve even revisited Bruegger’s Bagels, an eatery that I loved in college but, alas, is only good for its Hazelnut. While all these are acceptable establishments, none perfectly fits my standards. The french place and the scone place, though replete with convenient parking, are a little out of the way, and the regular brew at Bruegger’s is definitely subpar. I have also tried the Peet’s in Newton, but to be honest I don’t much care for their regular coffee, and cappuccinos take too long to make.

Today my route was more circuitous than usual and I was vigilant while I guided my car through Brookline. Driving down Beacon St, I noticed a store across the train tracks whose sign boasted “Cafe Jaiponaise”. Their logo was a little guy carring a loaf of French bread. I pulled over and ran, but as I was about to cross the street something stopped me. A small neon sign, handcrafted long ago, blinking:

/coffee/ /coffee/ /coffee/

Another french bakery. God help me.

Pulled by a force beyond my control, I made my way into the shop.

The walls were painted yellow, the air smelled of freshly baked croissants. The coffee was self-serve, brewed in pots and left by the counter. Styrofoam cups – the big ones like you get at New York delis.

Enraptured, I waited my turn at the old-fashioned wood-and-glass counter, perusing the spread of extra-fattening baked goods. ((YOU WILL NOT GET A MUFFIN. YOU WILL NOT GET A MUFFIN))

I ordered. A “petite” cranberry and orange muffin was put in a bag and handed to me. I poured my coffee and fitted the plastic lid onto the satisfyingly large 16-ounce cup. I grabbed the brown paper bag containing my illicit breakfast and skipped back to my car.

People, the muffin was WARM.

HOT, even.

I ask you, when was the last time you ate a freshly baked muffin? Never mind that the batter was chock-full of orange pieces and cranberry bits that just melted in your mouth like butter.

Satisfying cupfeel? check. Good flavor? check. Easy parking? check.

And, to borrow a phrase,

Fresh baked cranberry orange muffins? priceless.

(look, I’m so in love that I didn’t even swear once in this entire post. What the fuck is that all about?)

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