I’ve been drinking Thomas Jefferson’s coffee for the past week or so.
Thanksgiving last year we visited my brother and his family in Maryland, and then we did a historic tour of Virginia. We stopped at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s plantation. In the gift shop, we saw one-pound bags of coffee beans with a story on the label: Jefferson was an early coffee enthusiast, and these beans were Monticello brand, from a local microroaster. That was the only Thomas Jefferson connection that coffee had; the plants weren’t descended from plants Jefferson grew, or anything like that. But in the style of museum gift shops everywhere, the flimsy connection was enough to slap a label on it and make some money.
On a whim, I bought a bag — not for myself, but for an English co-worker who is a coffee hound. He goes to a coffee festival in London every year, like I go to Comic-Con here in San Diego.
I carried the coffee around in my luggage for another week or two while we were in Virginia. When I got home, I parked the suitcase in the bathroom for about three weeks, which is where I put my suitcase when I get home from travel and how long it usually takes me to unpack from a trip. And I didn’t get around to sending the coffee to my colleague for a while.
Shockingly, my co-worker had no interest in coffee beans that had been sitting on a museum gift shop shelf for an undetermined amount of time, then in my luggage in proximity to my dirty underpants for several weeks, much of that time in my bathroom. So he told me to grind the coffee up and drink it myself.
But I was not making coffee at home at that time, so the beans just sat around in their bag for most of a year, until last weekend Julie unearthed them and I figured what’s the worst that could happen? And I’ve been drinking that coffee for the past week and, well, it’s drinkable.