Saturday, January 28, 2012

Coffee, aaraamale.

I visited one of the Philz Coffee stores in the Bay Area recently. At Philz, the barista grinds the beans only after you select the coffee you want, waits for you to taste it and fixes it if you don't think it's just right. I had one of their dark roast blends, Aromatic Arabic, and it was pretty fantastic. One of my friends wasn't a huge fan of the medium roast she got but didn't feel like going back to the barista to tell her that it tasted a bit off. It's hard not to disappoint though when you name the drink, 'Ambrosia Coffee of God'.

I've wondered for a while about the kind of coffee shop I would like to run. I can't distinguish one kind of coffee from another with the articulation of a coffee conoisseur. But I have been to many coffee shops and absolutely love how the very best ones can be inspirational. The smell of coffee beans, the chaotic rhythm of people chatter, lighting so artful as to tempt a photographer, music that sets the tone and sofas to wind down on. There's a wonderful warmth to that atmosphere.

In my coffee shop, a small library is a must. The bookshelves will be filled by books donated by customers (and me, of course). Anyone can pick up any book and read it in the cofee shop, or if it's not a book that can be finished in a couple of hours can borrow it for free to read at home, the understanding being that they return it in a reasonable amount of time. A community driven library that runs completely on the goodwill of customers.

Filter coffee is definitely on the menu and will be served in a steel tumbler accompanied by a steel dabarah. There will be a make-your-own-coffee section with a press, a small grinder, a selection of different types of beans and a barista to guide through the process. 'To go' cups will be compostable and people are free to draw on the mugs they get their coffee in with permanent markers.

There will be a few seats outside for people-watching on a warm day. A little stage inside, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering a glimpse into the city as the backdrop, will host nights of poetry and music, book readings and interviews. Local artwork will occupy the walls of the cafe with one wall devoted to display this quote, my favorite, by Picasso:
I'm reading the paper; sitting around; I'm chatting; going for walks. But all of this is just perception. I'm actually working. Or rather: something is spinning around in my head and I'm just waiting to grab it and form it.
And finally, the cafe will bear the name, 'Aaraamale' (pronounced aa-raa-muh-ley) which in Tamil means 'warm forever'. @lavsmohan tweeted it as a play of words on AR Rahman's 'Aaromale'. Coffee on the house for her if she'll let me steal that name.


Sumi said...

... and it'll be open 24/7, right?

neon said...

haha till pretty late, even if not 24/7

dharmabum said...

great idea :) dropping by hear after a long time. how have you been?

neon said...

hey, long time! i'm doing great :) how are things going with you? i see that you've shifted to wordpress

Bhuvana said...

Please do open aaraamale in the greater seattle area soon.. :)