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Kermet Apio's Laugh Corner

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July 2008


Coffee Fix


A few days ago I saw an AP headline that read “A Half-ton of Premium Coffee Beans Stolen in Hawaii.” A Google search of that headline brought up repostings of the story in places like Kansas City, Arizona, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Seattle. That was just the first page of search results. Luckily, there was nothing important going on in the world to report on. Oddly enough, when you visit Hawaii news websites there never seems to be a mention of a barbecue robbery in Kansas.

As it turns out, the heist wasn’t a “Thomas Crown Affair” kind of master plan with black outfits and precision-timed movements. It was just 1000 pounds of coffee being taken from a house. That’s it. The story was three sentences longer than the headline.

This tells me that the main perpetrator is a) a severe coffee addict or b) dumb as a Chia Pet. Or maybe both. Then you have a pea-brained criminal who’s jittery. Who would walk past the jewelry box, the laptop, and the stereo and head straight for the 100-pound burlap bags filled with beans? The criminal who wants money, plus a sore back and constipation.

In the article the police asked citizens to report anyone selling “Green coffee beans.” Or you could report anyone whose truck is doing a wheelie and smells like Tully’s. Are there people in Kona buying beans in the alley behind the dumpster? So I could be walking along Alii drive and hear “Pssst. Hey. I got beans. Pure Kona. French roast…you a cop?”

I’m not a coffee drinker for two simple reasons. The first reason is basically my philosophy for all food and beverage intake: if it tastes like crap, then no thank you. This theory of consumption has worked well for me and it is one of the few things I’ve actually stuck with in my lifetime. And no, you crazy people, cream and sugar does not make it tasty. It just makes it less horrifyingly evil. The second reason I don’t drink coffee is that I find being awake to be very, very overrated. Mornings suck. Why would I want to give full attention to 7:00am? I barely want to know I’m up at that point. When you’re awake you see things like to-do lists, or a column deadline, or hungry children. Folks, give half-asleep a chance. You’ll thank me. Oh yes you will.

I hate coffee but my wife loves it. She talks about coffee the way hippies talk about their trip to the Phish concert. You can hear the happiness but the details don’t make any sense. I have no idea how the coffee maker works. When I unload it from the dishwasher I stack the pieces like a drunk playing Jenga. In fairness my wife declined to be interviewed for this column. Apparently she doesn’t appreciate the home paparazzi bothering her before she’s had her morning coffee.

My wife loves Kona coffee, as do most coffee drinkers. Apparently Kona’s temperature, humidity, and marijuana-laden soil make for the perfect bean. We have friends who become ecstatic when I return from the islands with Kona coffee. This is weird for me because it’s like saying “Hey, friend, I brought you a bag of something that I dislike so much, I would give away military secrets before allowing a sip of its nastiness to touch my lips. So enjoy.” Sometimes I’ll copy a 25-year-old TV commercial and replace their Kona coffee with Folger’s Crystals, at which point they’ll wave a switchblade at me and say “Gimme my fix, man, or I will cut you.” Oh, once they get their coffee, how we laugh.

Okay, brace yourselves; here comes information, or stuff I saw on the Internet. It’s from a website called crazyaboutkonacoffee.com, which speaks about Kona coffee in a way that screams addiction.

Coffee plants were first brought to Kona in 1828 and were used only decoratively. These garden plants grew quickly and healthily in the environment of the Kona hillside. People just couldn’t explain why mynah birds were exploding. It took a while for coffee as a beverage to catch on because in 97-degree heat, a hot cup of jo doesn’t seem appealing. And it’s hard to have an iced coffee without ever knowing what ice is. Another reason coffee didn’t catch on is because free wifi internet wouldn’t be invented for 180 more years.

In July of 1866 Mark Twain wrote “The ride through the district of Kona to Kealakekua Bay took us through the famous coffee section. I think Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other be it grown where it may.” I have no idea what that means but it sounds positive. I’m inclined to think of that as a compliment whether I’ll be where I be or may be where I’m at.

It is amazing that this 20-mile by 2 mile stretch produces this supposedly world-renowned coffee. A product so popular it is a topic of conversation wherever I go. A product so in demand that someone would steal a half a ton of it despite the repeated rejections from pawnshops. Now it’s 3:30 in the morning and I need a final joke. If I were a coffee drinker, it would be hilarious. Good night.

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