And she gets up in the morning. And he goes to work at five.
He goes to work at five.
The crows are cawing. The grain truck idling, its driver awaits the man’s arrival.
“G’mornin’,” the driver says.
The man grunts.
And she gets up in the morning.
The cat is meowing; it wants to chase the crow.
The woman gets up in the morning, and she walks to the kitchen. Old wood floors, cold.
Home, without insulation, of antiquity, Americana. The cat rubs against the woman’s legs, and the woman grinds the coffee beans. Water boils. Aromas fill the air.
The man grunts.
Winter, the walk through the factory is cold. The walk-in cooler is warmer. He gets to the security panel and disables the alarm. He turns on the lights. And then he unlocks the back door of the facility and turns on the air compressor. With the flip of two switches and four clicks on a panel, the entire factory is operational. Pipes. Hoses. Brite tanks.
He grips the chain of the heavy bay door and pulls. The winter air wafts past the man, its icy chills, an unexpected wave of warmth— a temporary reprieve from the cold concrete and aluminum factory. “All ready,” he says.
The driver grabs the hose from the grain truck. The man helps the driver carry the hose to the silo. “I got it from here,” the driver says. “You go on ahead. It’ll be about two hours. I’m gonna catch a snooze in the truck.”
The man says goodbye and starts his work. He walks up the metal stairs to the control panel and pushes the first button. The system activates. He opens the door to the mash tun and admires the cleanliness. “Good maintenance,” he says aloud to no one. He adds enough water to a level just above the mash tun’s false bottom, and then he pushes another button. The rakes
of the mash tun rotate. With another button, the system’s hydrator activates. After a few minutes, he pushes another button and grist from the overhead mill begins to fill the mash tun. More time passes. The mill empties; the grist awaits metamorphosis. “One more,” the man says. The last button is pushed, the disco ball rotates overhead, the party lights come to life, and the old Sony speakers join the party.
The old speakers join the party, and the woman walks to work.
And the cat follows her. She gets to work and the cat sprints away. “Maybe a crow,” the woman says aloud to no one. She walks into the coffee shop and the music is blasting. Her coworker, busy baking pastries before sunrise.
“Oh, hi!” the coworker says.
The woman grunts. She asks, “Are the lemon bars ready?”
“Five minutes. Have an espresso, love. And one for me too, please. Rough night?”
“Great night. Rough morning.”
The woman grinds the coffee beans. She puts the grounds into the portafilter and slides her finger across the top, sweeping off the excess. The surface is smooth, even. Perfect.
Eighteen grams of coffee harvested from the fields of the Green World Coffee Farm on the North Shore of Oahu, the manager’s secret stash.
She tamps the coffee once. She tamps it twice. The perfect puck. No twist. “Fuck twists.” She fills a second portafilter. Tamp, tamp—perfect—and puts both pucks into the coffee shop’s new, fancy espresso machine.
She is hungover. The machine does most of the work. Water comes to pressure and drips through the puck. Aromas fill the air. She takes her espresso outside and lights a cigarette. In the distance, a crow caws.
In the distance, a crow caws. The machine does most of the work.
The man is hungover. Water comes to temperature and flows through the grain bed. He pushes a button and the water travels through the system’s pipes and empties into the kettle where it awaits further metamorphosis. When all the water transfers into the kettle, the man pushes a button and brings the wort, the water with fermentable sugars, to a boil. He adds the first hop addition: eleven and a quarter pounds of Chinook, ninety minutes. Then the second addition: eleven and a quarter pounds of Cascade, thirty minutes. In that hour and a half, two Grateful Dead songs blast through the old Sony speakers. Aromas fill the air. The man grabs a sample of yesterday’s bottled batch. He pops the top, takes a swig and smiles. Six days ago, he brewed the wort for this sample. The yeast did most of the work. It was responsible for the metamorphosis.
It is six forty-five and the man’s coworker arrives. The driver is still in the truck, snoozing. Ocean, the coworker’s thirteen-year-old pit bull, waddles alongside his human. The man hands his coworker a bottle and they share a breakfast beer. Ocean makes his way to his bed, near the Hot Liquor Tank, and naps. He’s tired, the old pup.
“G’mornin’,” the man says. “Rough night?”
“Great night. Rough morning.”
The caffeine does most of the work. It is responsible for the metamorphosis.
Early risers storm the coffee shop. They’re groggy, and they demand. They want their drugs. They can’t function without them. They fill the shop and they wait in line at the drive-thru. The woman grinds the coffee beans and listens to orders on the headset. She puts the grounds into the portafilter and slides her finger across the top, sweeping off the excess. “Soy milk, got it,” she says through the microphone. Tamp, tamp—perfect—and into the machine. She pushes a button. “That’ll be $3.25,” she says to the early riser at the register.
The tamping dies off around nine o’clock. The pace slows, and the woman preps her workstation for the next barista’s shift.
The wort transfer ends around noon. The pace slows, and the man preps his workstation for the next brewer’s shift.
After the wort is transferred to the brite tank, the man empties the spent grains from the lauter tun. The grain truck is long gone by now, its driver well-rested. Around one o’clock, Farmer John hauls his trailer into the brewery parking lot. The man dumps three hoppers worth of grains into Farmer John’s trailer. Farmer John repurposes the grains and feeds them to his chickens and cows.
Farmer John departs; the man hoses off the inside of each tank of the brew system. By two-thirty, the man is done. And he joins the patrons at the taproom to drink his first official shift beer. At two-thirty, the taproom’s patrons are the morning’s early risers.
It’s been a long day. They want their drugs. They can’t function without them.
They fill the taproom, and they wait in line to order.
By two-thirty, the woman is done. And she joins the patrons at the taproom. She sees the man sitting at the bar and takes the seat next to him.
“How was your day?” she asks.
“Pretty cool,” the man says. “I got really high and listened to the Grateful Dead. Then Dave showed up, had a beer. Played with the dog for a bit. Farmer John showed up. Then I cleaned, Dave took over. And now I’m here. What about you?”
She gulps her beer. “Well I got super twacked out this morning, too many espresso shots. And then this hippie customer kept giving me shit about soy milk. Other than that, same old. Same old. What do we wanna do for dinner?”
And they drink their beers ‘til five-thirty. And they leave the bar at nine.
She gets up in the morning. He goes to work at five.