Sacramento, California is not a bad place. It just isn’t mine. I lived here for over six years. And it never did feel like home. Santa Cruz wasn’t home, West Los Angeles wasn’t home, the DC Metro Area wasn’t home, Brooklyn wasn’t home. I had different reasons for not being wholly, roundly happy in any of them. But wonderful things and magnificent people abound in all of them.
So I’m in my mom’s house and I need coffee. She’s a tea drinker. (Incidentally, she gets her imported Welsh tea from the Tea Cozy, a little independent, local shop near her house. Strongest bagged tea I’ve had.) I was driving around picking up take out Mexican and I drove past Insight Roasters and stopped.
I usually ask the people who work at a place to recommend to me what I should try first, especially if they aren’t busy at the time. It was evening, and chill. Nice space, airy and light. Sacramento has cheaper rents than the Bay Area, so rooms are bigger here. It feels less claustrophobic than any other place I’ve lived. (I told Shadow Fairy I thought my apartment was 300 square feet and she was appalled. I didn’t tell her she’d be appalled with the rents in Southern California should she get down there.)
I was recommended the Guatemalan by the very nice man pulling shots behind the counter (barista still feels like a stupid thing to call a coffeeshop gentleman or lady), but they were out, so I got twelve ounces of the Brazil. Fifteen dollars, which isn’t cheap, but that’s probably what an independent roaster has to charge to make a profit. Beans aren’t cheap, equipment, et cetera. And it’s not like Peet’s charges that much less. Plus you get a free shot of espresso with every bag of beans. Nice.
The coffee itself was one of the smoothest brews I have tasted in memory. It is chocolaty, sweet and complex–without any sugar or milk in it. These are the beans talking. They aren’t greasy or very dark, which is usually what I reach for, but that’s fine; they’re mellow, full, rich, and deep.
I went back and am on the Guatemalan now. I prefer the Brazil, but the Guatemalan is nice, too. It’s heartier, with more of an acrid finish. My next bag is the Sumantra. Haven’t opened it yet.
I grew up on Peet’s coffee, so I’m used to a really dark cup, and Insight satisfies that. It’s really full coffee–don’t let the sweetness in the description or the review throw you off. I’m sure they have a coffee that hits a more bitter note if that’s how you roll. (I don’t care for Starbucks, myself. Tastes acrid-bitter-burnt and bites on the top of the back of the throat.)
They also sell unroasted beans. I have wanted for years to roast my own coffee beans at home. I haven’t, but I want to. You can do it using a popcorn popper, or a heat gun, or a skillet, or a wok, or a cookie sheet in the oven. Anyways. I don’t need another expensive, time-consuming hobby. I probably won’t make better coffee, and it really isn’t that much cheaper when you consider how much time I’m spending cooking it and storing it and shipping beans to my house. But a girl can dream.
Anyways: this is damn good coffee. Highly recommended. When you’re here and I’m here we’ll go here and get a cup.