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Authentic

Daniel Velez
Daniel Velez
2 min read

Press Coffee on Apache Blvd was a haven for me. A place away from home where I could work away on my MacBook and get stuff done. When it closed down, a small part of me was lost. It was a chain but, it was a local chain with great coffee. Ziggi’s Coffee opened a shop 50 yards west of Press.

By default, Ziggi’s became my new go-to coffee shop. I walked to Press so now I’ll walk to Ziggi’s.

Going to Ziggi's was awkward. It was like dating after a breakup I didn't initiate. One day I was told it was over - but I wasn't ready for it to be over. I thought it would last forever </3.

The same cast of characters at Press Coffee were at Ziggi’s, but, something was off. It was like seeing Macbeth

on the set of The Chicago Musical; you know Macbeth belongs on stage but the background is wrong.

I no longer saw the former patrons of Press Coffee at their usual times. There was a certain comfort level at Press that made it natural to ease into work. We built an unspoken camaraderie by working silently in the same place. The disruption of this new coffee shop made people adjust their schedules. I saw the same folks less and less and eventually, I stopped seeing a good chunk of my laptop warriors altogether.

But my stubborn ass remained.

Besides the people, there are a couple of things wrong with Ziggi’s. 1) It isn’t my ex-girlfriend-coffeeshop (an

insurmountable fact). 2) The coffee sucks. Most of their menu is a concoction of artificial flavors and syrups. 3) The place isn’t authentic. It’s a national chain and it feels like a national chain.

All the bad coffee drinks with artificial flavors are packaged in single-use plastic to-go cups. I can't pay without being harassed to download an app and sign-up for rewards. Don't get me wrong, I love sweet and artificial shit on occasion. But once I picked a random item from their menu, their "Turtle," and had a headache within five minutes.

I didn't realize this inauthenticity right away, but I felt it all along. I'm not sure what clicked, but one day I decided I can't come here anymore. I need to leave this cultureless place and go to a coffee shop that feels real.

I packed up my stuff and went to Infusion Coffee & Tea; established in 1999 in Tempe, AZ. This place has mismatched furniture and real wood. One wall has circuit boards (not sure why) and another wall has random-sized coffee cups. The coffee is roasted on-site and has my approval. However, there was one element that made this place feel truly authentic. It was how they served their coffee. I ordered a drip coffee. It came with an empty coffee cup on top of a saucer plate. Tucked between the cup and plate was a folded napkin and vanilla wafer cookie. The coffee came in a tall and skinny glass jar on the side. The cream came in a stainless steel milk-cup with a handle. All of this was atop a small wooden tea-tray.

These reusables were an invitation to stay a while. Ziggi's single-use cups were a suggestion to leave - so I did.

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Daniel is building the future of reuse. His last venture, Growly Delivers, delivered local beer in returnable high-tech growlers. What will he do next?

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