Have you ever tried a new food or beverage product, really liked it, wanted more and not been able to find it again?
That was my sad tale last weekend when I tried to buy Silver Bridge coffee. I’d tried it when it was sampled in a Kroger store where I was shopping a month or so ago. The person serving samples told me it’s roasted by a company started not so long ago in Gallipolis, Ohio by a young woman: thus the Silver Bridge brand and a drawing of the bridge with a young couple in silhouette on the package.
I liked the story as well as the coffee, bought some and drank it all. When I went back for more for myself and some to take to a friend, it was as if it had never existed — no place on the shelf, no hole where bags of coffee had been — nobody knew anything about the brand.
When I got home and called around to likely outlets, one customer service person said her store had held a tasting a while ago, but that was as close as I got. She thinks her store might stock it some time in the future: “Check back in a couple of weeks,” she said. Maybe not.
I ran out of likely outlets close by to call. When it finally dawned on me to examine the package the beans came in — there it was, plain as could be — a website. Things started looking up from there. All it took was a quick trip online to discover several local outlets.
With hope renewed, I headed to the closest grocery mentioned on the website. Yes, they stocked the brand. No, they didn’t have the flavor I’d tried. I could, however, fill out a request form and they’d order some and call me when it came in. People at that market have gone the extra mile for me before, when I needed something in particular — thus I know I’ll get my coffee.
The episode started me thinking about some of the local merchants I’ve counted on for years, like the neighborhood pharmacists and the grocer three blocks down the street. They know my name — I know theirs. They ask about my kids, grandchildren, husband and Jackson the Hound Dog. Our pharmacists know what medications we take; the butcher knows how I like my meat cut and packaged.
It’s nice to feel a part of helping the merchants in my neighborhood to stay in business here. Take heed, retailers of all types and descriptions. I will keep shopping at a store where someone cares enough about me to order in my preferred coffee, freezer wraps my meat the way I want it, and takes good care of compounding the medicine I take. Their paying attention to my needs and preferences will keep me going back to their stores and continue to put my money in their tills.
As soon as my coffee comes in, I’m going to brew some to make Irish Coffee. The flavor, Salted Caramel, will be perfect. This recipe came from the old Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco, but these same four ingredients and the technique are well-known wherever an Irishman bends his elbow. (It’s even good without the whiskey for those not so disposed.)
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
4 teaspoons sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) Irish whiskey
1 1/2 cups strong, hot coffee
Whip heavy cream with sugar until it just holds stiff peaks.
Divide whiskey into two mugs or Irish coffee glasses. Add enough of the coffee to fill each three-quarters full. Spoon whipped cream on top.
Makes 2 cups.
That’s one for you and one for your favorite Irishman and one each is enough.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.