Mornings in BM were usually not the most pleasant time of the day for me. It’s known. Mornings are burning and nights are freezing. It was not different that morning. I jumped out of my tent as soon as I woke up. Not because I was ever a morning person, but because I felt the sun sizzling burning in my tent. It was only 7 am and I was still tired from the night before but I am not going back to the tent. No no.
We had a camp communal space as well as a nice kitchen with all the things you need to cook. The living room and the kitchen that we all built together on the first day at Burning Man. I took my backpack to the kitchen to fill it with water. Hydration is the key to survive at BM, so I can drink more alcohol (safely) through my day.
When I sat down on one of the couches in the “living room”, some of the camp friends were talking about getting coffee. Abby in 2019 drinks coffee everyday and really appreciates good coffees, but in 2017, I didn’t really believe in coffees. I could have skipped this experience easily but it was pretty early and there was nothing much to do at that time. So five of us-Sam, John, Caleb, Jake and Abby!- jumped on bikes and started biking to the camp that apparently serves coffee.
As I remember, Caleb was wearing all-white-dress. I don’t know if it was for “white theme” day of BM, but he really was blended well into BM scenery. I don’t remember what I was wearing, but I remember that we all looked pretty ridiculous if we think of what we normally wear outside of BM.
When we got to the “coffee shop”, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It really was a coffee place(in the middle of desert)! We parked our bikes and locked them in front of the coffee shop and walked to the “door”.
Chapter 1. Appearance of the guy
There was a guy welcoming us at the door. He could be late in his 30s, 40s or maybe 50s. Who knows? I couldn’t really tell because… of so many reasons. First off, typically I can’t really guess ages accurately for white people. More accurately, I can only tell with Asian people, I thought, but it’s not even true anymore. (Science, plastic surgeries, etc) Second, he was wearing ridiculous clothes so I couldn’t guess from what he’s wearing. Third, I couldn’t believe what I see was real at that time.
As I remember(probably some exaggeration here), he was wearing shiny purple hat that was ridiculously big. His vast was striped with green and black. He didn’t wear any shirts underneath, so you could see his chest hair. Well, at least I could. His pants were puffy like the ones from movie Aladdin and his shoes were pointy in the front. I can’t forget his mustache. It was light brown or ash color, curly like horizontal letter S on each side. He could be easily a magician from Middle East. Or perhaps, he is a merchant from “Alice world”. Or he could be a human manager from “Oompa-Loompa” forest.
Chapter 2. Greeting from the waiter
When we got off the bikes, he welcomed us with smile and big hugs. There was a rope at the entrance and he moved it for us to enter. Even at the entrance, I smelled rich flavor of coffee and I could tell that this smell is coming from some serious coffee, not mediocre instant coffee I expected.
Chapter 3. Coffee table
There were several round-shaped coffee tables inside. Those tables reminded me of a coffee place at Stanford mall in Palo Alto I used to go. Tables were a bit old and dusty but still elegant and sophisticated in some ways. The tables were ivory white with South American style tiles around.
Chapter 4. Menu
As we sat down, the waiter brought us five menus for five of us. I was surprised that they actually had menus for this kind of place. I mean, we are in the desert! I was already blown by the fact that we can have freshly made coffee in the desert, but espresso machine, proper(more than proper, it was my favorite kind of coffee table) coffee table, waiter(really? When do you get waiter for coffee?) and menus? Crazy thing is, it was not just a regular menu. It was definitely high-end menu that you can see at a fancy restaurant. Menu paper was thick and ivory color sparkling coated. When I touched it, the surface was so smooth and has quiet gloss. The waiter who was holding a white towel on his left arm asked, “What would you like to order?”. I opened the menu carefully with an excitement. Inside of the menu, maybe font size 11pt, there was one word in the middle, “espresso” and nothing. It made me giggle but I pretended like it was no big deal and pointed the word with my finger.
“Hmm, I feel like espresso today. Maybe I should have…… an espresso.”
“That is fantastic! We just happened to make the best espresso in the city. Great choice!”
He took the menus and handed it over to the barista.
Chapter 5. Coffee
Coffee came out in a white espresso coffee cup with a matching saucer. We all looked at each other with excitements and held the cup with pinky up.
“Wow, he is right, it really is the best in town!”
It was rich and thick. I felt caffeine in my bloodstream and it woke me up in a good speed. We talked about what we want to do through the day and where we should explore while enjoying this authentic burning man coffee.
Chapter 6. Leaving
When we were done with coffee, we brought the cups to the barista. I could not thank them enough for this experience. The only thing I could do was, telling them how great the coffee was and gave them big hugs. Although, the waiter was the one who gave me a better hug! I think this is one of the best parts of burning man. I never know what I expect and there is always something surprising happens. I am so used to pay money for exchanges of services and goods, but here, they don’t do all these for money. They do it because they want to, they do it because it makes them feel good and want to share their love and care with other people. It may seem not that significant, but it made me believe that people are really good and we all live together and help each other in different ways.