Cars and coffee. What exactly do these things have in common? On the face of it, not much. However, if you look a little deeper, you can find a myriad of similarities. The raw ingredients that make cars and coffee are, by themselves, not very useful. It is only after thoughtful manipulation that they find their prodigious uses. Blank sheets of metal and coffee beans have a world of possibilities awaiting them. Surely though, you have had a subpar cup of coffee and have driven in a less than desirable vehicle. But what if you had the BEST coffee in the world and got there by driving a very thoughtful and well executed car? Now that would be something. And it happens to be something I did very recently.
As the 2019 Chevy Equinox arrived in front of my house, I was immediately smitten with it. Its svelte size was a departure from its earlier iterations and it just looked like a well-balanced vehicle. Hopping inside the Equinox, I found it curiously familiar, even though I had never driven or been inside any Equinox before. Why was this? As I went for my first drive around the block, I felt at ease with the car. Why was this happening? Speaking with Chris Gamble, the Interior Design Manager for Chevrolet, I soon found the answer.
“One of the keys to the SUV market is making the vehicle “Right Sized”: Large enough to feel safe and small enough to make it easy to maneuver and fuel-efficient. With the Equinox, we were able to keep the same interior dimensions, while shrinking the exterior and reducing the vehicle weight by 400 pounds (or about 10% less weight),” said Chris to me. With the explosion of SUVs into the American marketplace showing no signs of slowing down, manufacturers are continually sharpening their vehicles to suit the needs and wants of an ever increasing fanbase. The sheer amount of choices to consumers is mind boggling, but when you really get down to the nitty gritty, some SUVs are just too big to be considered reasonable. Long gone are the days of lumbering and slow cars with poor visibility. Chris added, “to increase visibility we pushed the instrument panel “low and away“ to give a more spacious cockpit”.
The Equinox is not a new SUV, but one that has been around and has gone under the knife, so to say. It lost weight, got a facelift and toned its body to reemerge as a mirthful car. Zipping around town with its 2.0 liter turbo engine was a breeze and the Equinox cut and dove through traffic like it was a sports car (thanks to its switchable all-wheel drive). I drove family members to errands and activities with each one commenting how they felt the car was extremely functional and a pleasure to ride in. The 63.9 cubic feet of cargo room added to the equation. Indeed, I managed to get 3 bikes into the back of the SUV without breaking a sweat! And with seating for 5, I had 4 loud kids that couldn’t be happier than to boss their uncle around and somehow convince him to buy them ice cream.
After dropping the kids off and giving myself a much needed reprieve, I made my way down to Klatch Coffee in Redondo Beach, California for a special treat. Mike Perry, owner and proprietor of Klatch is a coffee geek unlike any other you will ever meet. And trust me, I’ve met a few I wish I hadn’t! As an educated chemical engineer, Mike scours the world for the best coffee beans to bring back and share with consumers. His ever evolving quest for the most complex and best tasting coffee beans is something to witness. Much like a car design that goes through several refinements to come up with the perfect balance, Klatch only brews coffee that meets its highest standards. In the latest Best of Panama auction, which you should know is like the Oscars awards for the coffee world, Mike bought the highest scoring beans around. At over $1,000 a pound, these are nothing to sneeze at! Called the Elida Geisha Natural 1029 (1029 being the $1,029 per pound cost), these beans were scored the highest at 95.25/100 by the panel of 21 international judges. Lucky for us in the United States, Mike bought the lot of them, save for a very small percentage that went to Japan, and is now offering them to consumers at Klatch’s locations in SoCal and in San Francisco exclusively.
Having been beaten down by kids that aren’t even mine, I hauled my weary bones to the front counter of Klatch and ordered the 1029. The staff collectively gasped when I placed my order, such is the rarity of these special beans. Immediately I was asked questions and told stories of what I was about to enjoy. The process for brewing the diminutive bag of beans involves using special water, cleaning out the grinder of lesser beans and their dust, all the make way for the king of beans. Not one step is missed and everything is controlled from first ordering the holy grail of joe. All of this ensures you will experience, taste and enjoy the 1029 in its purest and most refined form.
Sitting there watching the poetry of motion Klatch’s staff took with my order, I could not help but to feel something very special was about to hit my tastebuds. Standing before me was a cup of coffee that exuded aromas of stone fruits and chocolate. I inhaled the plums, blackberries and cranberry notes. Hints of tobacco and bittersweet chocolate danced around my olfactory senses. As the clouds hung low in the sky outside, I was warmed by my coffee adventure. As the sweet elixir hit my palate it was a dance like no other. The flavors and notes changed and varied through the sip. The finish notes went to tropical fruits notes of melon, guava and mango. Suffice to say, Elida Geisha Natural 1029 was the best coffee I have ever experienced in my life.
Happy with my resbit, I headed for home in the Equinox once again. It wasn’t until I got home and into the driveway that I noticed my trip was over 30 miles. The car was just so perfectly suited to SoCal driving that I hadn’t noticed the distance one bit. Driving some cars is a chore. This car is the exact opposite. The Chevy Equinox just is a refined vehicle and the design and thought that went into it wasn’t taken lightly. “It is the design, like roasting, brewing and service, that creates the unique experience that provides delight to customers. You have to listen and then, importantly, interpret their desires,” said Chris. It seems to me that Chris and Mike need to chat and I know a good place and a great drink to recommend to them.