Cost of Cash

Refreshing just looking at it...


It turns out that I have a new hobby: finding new coffee shops.

Lately I’ve been making an effort to schedule a lot of meetings, which for me means coffee meetings. Partly, I’m sure, this is compensating for the fact that I haven’t had the opportunity to be social in a non-academic context for months and partly it is a way to build my network and get me out of the house once a day so that I don’t hole up in my little introverted cave in blissful solitude and get so comfortable that I never want to go out again.

At first I scheduled these meetings to take place at Starbucks, which is a perennial favorite because I have gift cards. And it’s hard to go wrong with Starbucks. Sure, their fancy drinks are expensive, but a regular black coffee doesn’t cost too much. They do, however, have a LOT of caffeine. And I’m saying this as a regular coffee drinker. If I have more than one meeting in a day, I get the coffee-jitters in the most shaky and nauseated way.

So I’ve begun seeking out alternative coffee shops. Graffiti Cafe was my usual go to when I’m feeling sophisticated and artsy. I still love it, but I can only handle it in small doses these days. The Bourgeoise Pig is fun when I’m feeling bohemian and want to hang out in the dark. Urartu in Glendale- comfy, middle-eastern themed- the kind of place to go to read a book. Novo in Burbank. Etc. I switched from Starbucks to local coffee shops and then I switched from coffee to tea and from hot tea to iced tea. So I seem to be undergoing a transformation of taste.

Today’s cafe was so well hidden that I never would have found it on my own. Called the Ignatius Cafe it was tucked away in a Korean-Catholic church complex built into a series of old houses near the USC campus. There’s no sign for it on the street- in fact you have to walk up a driveway and around a hedge before you can see it, but it is charming. The cafe supports the church. They roast their own coffee. They don’t sell drinks, they accept donations for drinks- cash only. There are only four drinks to choose from.

I didn’t realize this was a donation based place when I set the meeting, so I had to go get cash. I could have gotten the drink just for the cost of the ATM fee since I had to go to an ATM that wasn’t part of my banking system- because banks always take their cut, while church cafes ask politely for a donation and give you a nice drink. I found myself wondering whether a church would see an uptick in their donations if they provided an ATM near the door.

Anyway, it was a first world problem: having to walk all the way across the street to an ATM that charged a fee and finding someone to break a twenty into smaller bills, and walking all the way back to pay donate for a drink, and then they didn’t have iced tea they only had iced lemon tea. Ugh! Sheesh!

But it was probably the best lemon iced tea I’ve ever had. I’m not sure that tea was involved but darn-tootin’ there were real lemons in it. And who could say no to a cafe supporting sweet Korean-Catholic nuns in their little grey habits? It was worth the effort. I’ll probably go back. Next time I’ll remember to bring cash, though.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 3, 2016.

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