Trends and fads are ever-changing. As soon as you seem to catch up they move right out from under you … with the ferocity of getting the rug pulled right out from under you. You land on the ground with a dull thud. Ouch. Sometimes these fads last but a few weeks. It is like a radiant comet shooting across the night time sky. It vanished as quickly as it came. Some trends last a few years. You may have held out (and still do) of the whole skinny jeans thing. Finally after resisting for years you bought a pair of slim (not super slim, mind you) pants from Old Navy, but all of a sudden you’re noting baggy is trickling back in.
We see trends (longer lasting) and fads (quick) in clothes, music, words or sayings, and especially in the bike world. Like clothes, if you hold onto your bike long enough the trends will circle back around. With a couple upgrades, new handlebars, and poof … it’s now highly coveted for bikepacking. I’m fine with all of this cyclical nature of things. As much as I love 80’s music I also love and appreciate when musicians take that foundation and build on it with new twists and fusions.
That’s why spending time at Goodwill is like rummaging through a sunken pirate ship. Sure enough you find what you’ve been searching for … the treasure chest. After attaching ropes to it you send a signal to the ship above to begin hauling your find up to the surface. Once on the deck you tentatively crack open the chest … and what you find astonishes you. That’s the feeling I get when shopping at Goodwill. I never know what amazing finds I will stumble across.
There are three key sites in a Goodwill I visit each and every time. First, I hit the books. I’ve found innumerable travel, adventure, and history books. My shelves at home are lined with these books still with that $2.99 Goodwill sticker on the back. Then I move next to the shoe rack. I’ve discovered many brand new pairs of Converse and Vans shoes. Shelling out $12 for a fresh pair of Converse Jack Purcells is no different than finding lost pirate’s booty.
Lastly, I make my way over to the coffee-glass-cookware-mugs-bowls aisle. With trained eyes I begin my search. I pick up items, push others aside, reach … straining … to grab that odd contraption just barely out of arm’s reach on the top shelf sitting in the back behind cheap Mr. Coffee carafes. There’s not a month that goes by that I don’t find treasure … coffee treasure. As I type this I look immediately to my right on my desk to the Hydro Flask I picked up for $3 at a Goodwill a couple months ago. I have pourovers, expensive travel mugs, and other ways to brew coffee, store coffee, and more. All Goodwill treasures.
Two weeks ago I found a brand new small French press. I should say, my wife found it. Like fads and trends, I rarely see coffee shops use them any longer. Most opt for batch brew or pourovers for brewing coffee. But French press? That seems like it has somewhat gone out of style like baggy cargo shorts, However, like cargo shorts, I still see French presses everywhere I go … but not in trendy Third Wave coffee shops.
Yes, I have a big French press already at home. A Bodum. But I rarely use it since it takes 54 grams of coffee and it ends up being way too much coffee for me to drink. So when my wife walked up with a mini French press she found … not in the coffee-glass-cookware-mugs-bowls aisle (of course not, it’s Goodwill. Why would it be there?) I was elated! $2.99 later I walked out of the Goodwill grinning ear to ear. Immediately when I got home I washed it and then prepared to use it.
Honestly, I really didn’t have any high expectations when I brewed a cup of coffee with it. I tend to not like brew methods with any assortment of metal filters since it leaves a bit of sooty gunky stuff at the bottom. I like a clean cup from using a Hario v60 pourover or aeropress (double filtered). When brewing with the French press I used a pretty standing ratio … 1:16. After my 4 minute timer announced to me that it was done brewing I poured it into my cup (that same Goodwill find … my Hydro Flask). I took it to my desk and waited just a couple of moments for it to cool before I took my first sip.
I scratched my head and wondered … why I hadn’t used a French press in a couple of years? Done right (ratios, grind size, water temp, etc) it makes an astonishing cup of coffee. It’s been two weeks since my wife brought this treasure to me in Goodwill and I’ve been using it 3-4 times a day. It was and is a not-so hidden gem.
Words and photos by Sean Benesh
Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager