Shame

I decided to come to peace and use a French Press.

I decided to come to peace with myself this weekend, and try coffee made from a french press again after making unnecessary fun of a friend who said that’s how he made his coffee.

My “french press” might be your old CD collection, raver wardrobe, dark matte lipstick—it is whatever hill you died on in college. It is bourgeois shame.

I would only come to peace with shame if I knew it might’ve hurt someone else’s feelings to know I thought they were stuck in a time loop I created (and then exited).

In this case, French Press is shameful because: the concept of a french anything. French doors, french fries, french nails, french vanilla. *fart noise*

To have drank french press coffee all through college like it was “a whole ass personality” only to move to France for two years where you did not see a single person who owned a Bodum cylinder, or bruise the palm of their hand pressing the stupid knob on the absurdly thin axel of the lid? Was a little humbling. What did we know as Americans about anything fransch?

No regrets, buddy.

I used a french press today after taking a week off coffee, and started my federal American week with a mild kick. (It is Sunday as I write this and it is ridiculous that we start our calendar week here.)

The FP coffee was an even drinking experience: coffee beans procured from a co-op which sourced Stoop Sitter from a local roaster which hopefully sources the volatile crop in a wholesome manner *eye roll*, ground to a coarse pulp by my DēLonghi bean grinder *eye roll*, and then run through sub-boiling water, let to steep for less than 2 minutes, before that painful plunge of the filter *eye roll*. Yes, I had a Bodum cylinder all these years.

In other words, I am not beyond the ritual for individual experiences or subsuming to my narcissism of small differences. I can even pretend they truly mean something to an elected few, chosen only by their own pretensions. I am even letting go of the shame surrounding this ordinary ordination. *eyes dilate*


In grad school, the venerated Japanist Donald Keene told us a story about having asked for coffee in Japan in his very early years while stationed in (probably) Yokohama (?) as a GI. In his anecdote, the Japanese supposedly didn’t know what he was talking about but after he described what he wanted, they brought him heated Coca-Cola.

I have always been suspicious of this story, not the least of reasons being that to my knowledge, coffee has been such a staple in Japanese cafés for generations (yes yes, I realize it’s a predominantly tea-drinking culture but just…take my word for it).

I learned on a travel show that the Japanese have a taste for the mild tones of Jamaican coffee, and that the major beverage brands there have bought futures of Jamaican coffee beans for basically, eternity. And that is totally believable. Your run of the mill coffee in Japan tastes the same everywhere. Like it’s been pressed by the same hand for eons.

Now that kind of attention to detail is for sure a response to a kind of shame.