An Excellent Staycation So Far

We decided to take a couple weeks off, and I am so glad we did. Things didn’t go as planned at work on Friday, so I actually ended up working from home a bit on Monday… but I have managed to not work since then. It has taken me until today to stop thinking about work all day, I barely even read my work email.

What grand things have we done? Not much. Just relaxed and took care of some things that we have been putting off like routine doctor/dentist appointments, searching for a new dining table, etc. Today was probably the most awesome day so far. Earlier this week the shopkeeper at Savory Spice told us about Counter Culture’s weekly Friday cupping while we were chatting with her about how awesome Jubala is, which lead to a conversation about coffee and stuff.

Every Friday at 10am Counter Culture has a “cupping” at their training centers, which are open to both employees and the public. Since the Durham location is where they roast all their coffee, the Durham location has the added bonus of a tour. It was pretty cool, although some of the people there were definitely a little too into coffee for someone that is not employed in the coffee industry. They set out three types of coffee and walked us through the “cupping” process used by coffee buyers to determine what they want to buy.

The first step of the process is to sniff the grounds to determine the “fragrance” of the beans. After that they add hot water and sniff again to determine the “aroma” of the coffee. Next you “break” the crust of coffee beans on the top of the cup and stir it to settle the grounds to the bottom, once again sniffing. All this sniffing is done with your nose pretty much shoved in the cup. The final step is to use a large spoon to scoop up some of the coffee and quickly (and loudly) slurp it up. While tasting it you are supposed to look for four qualities: brightness (acidity), flavor, body, and after taste.

After each step we would all talk about what we had smelled/tasted and what we thought of it. It reminded me of a wine tasting class we did at a local wine shop once. It was definitely interesting to learn more about the finer points of coffee and hear everyone’s interpretation of the different coffees. The best part was the tour though, but then I love that sort of stuff.

The facility was surprisingly small. It pretty much consisted of the “training center” which was a good sized room full of various coffee gadgets and machines, a small hall with a few offices, and then the roasting area and warehouse. I assume there was another warehouse for their outgoing stock that we didn’t tour, but that would have been boring anyway. The tour really only had two stops, the first being the warehouse that stored the bags of green coffee beans. They said they keep about 2-3 weeks worth of stock there at a time. The second stop was the roasting/packing room, which was cool to see. I loved watching the masterful coffee roasters at work, and the machines were nifty. It is cool to know how/where our coffee is roasted, and that it is shipped out the same day it goes in a bag.

We hadn’t eaten and were starving, so I convinced Sean we should go to Dame’s Chicken & Waffles in downtown Durham. It is an awesome place, and I wanted to use the opportunity to take him since the chance to get him to downtown Durham is rare. Dame’s gets crazy busy at lunch, so I was kind of expecting to have a horrible time finding parking, and then have to wait for a table. It couldn’t have been more perfect though! We found a parking spot right out front, were seated immediately, and the kitchen sent our food out incredibly fast. And it was so very yummy. Sean was impressed, and I was happy he enjoyed it. That place has the best mac & cheese ever, and their chicken is simply delicious. The waffles are merely good, but everything else they serve more than makes up for it.

I am grateful to have had the week off to spend with Sean, and it has been a good week even if we haven’t done anything overly exciting. I am only sad that it is coming to a close. Tomorrow we have to go pick up the turkey from Ray Farms, which is the beginning of the end. It means now we have to start focusing on cleaning up the house, shopping, and all the other preparations that go into hosting Thanksgiving. And then, once Thanksgiving is done, we will be focused on cleaning up again and then it will be time to go back to work before we know it.