A co-worker of mine from my other job told me he buys his
daily serving of vegetables in powder form: he mixes it in
with a strong concentration of pineapple and orange juice
just to get the bitter taste down. He does this because he
doesn’t cook, and has no desire to. “If I could just get my
serving of vegetables down like this and live on bar food
for the rest of my life, I’d be a happy man,” he told us
after work the other night. First I thought, just gross.
Can’t you man up and eat some carrots instead? I wanted to
pinpoint why his story had caused such an unsettled feeling
in me. It’s because it displays so much about the obviously
daily disconnect that happens between community and food.
If you’re solely serving coffee, you’re doing it wrong. In
such a hurried culture with high expectations for instant
results, coffee- as with food- can easily be seen as a
product to be consumed and nothing more. Sure, we’re busy
and sometimes just need a little caffeinated help so we
may continue on. But if anyone walks into a place like The
Green Bean and decides to stick around for a while, they
would see that something much deeper and meaningful is
going on within those bright green walls.
Wes gets a medium roast in his big yellow chalice-like
cup. Chris never has to say a word when he comes in for a
double tall latte not too hot. If the honey isn’t filled
first thing in the morning for Morgan’s 20oz drip, it
throws both of us off. And when Ida and the rest of the
Zumba crew comes in, no one knows what they’ll order; but
it’s guaranteed to be a Spanglish-like conversation between
myself and those beautiful women.
In addition to my wonderful ability to match orders with
faces (yes, I’m boasting here ), I end up getting sucked
into conversations with customers and hearing their stories
and at many times seeking their advice. A few months
ago I found myself sitting in the back by the couch one
afternoon working on my graduate school applications,
asking for feedback and commentary with customers-turned-
accountable friends. And when I was accepted, who was
there to celebrate with me but Scottie, a regular in his
60’s, with a couple of big cigars on a Monday afternoon.
We sat outside in the rare February sun on the plastic
Adirondack chairs, both understanding the way friendship
can span across generations. Our conversations spanned from theological debate to ethics to distasteful jokes,all under the subtle overlay of cigar smoke. Without The Green Bean, I would have never understood the importance of inter-generational friendships and their ability to teach and influence each other’s lives.
This building defines what it means to be an eclectic
community. There is a hidden understanding in all of those
who follow our motto- “sit long, talk much”- that coffee
and food bring people together for a beautiful purpose.
What better way to share our lives, stories, questions
and doubts together than over coffee and a meal? We are a
connected people, despite our culture’s attempts to drive
us into individualized, self-dependent people.
If you step into the Green Bean, I am convinced you’ll find
authenticity, honesty, and joy. Our values go way beyond
how each shot of espresso is pulled or the way the milk is
steamed. I delight in my conversations with customers and
their ability to open up and engage with a short blonde
girl behind the counter. So, to all of those who have done
so, I thank you. And I ask that you keep the stories and
conversations coming. Because I don’t just pour coffee into
a cup, and you don’t just give me some money in return. We
both have the capability to connect beyond our ability to
–Justine Post (barista at the Bean)