Friday morning and I look forward to departing Milwaukee after a week of work. The Acting President is coming to town to speak at commencement for some flavor of Christian college here, and there are rumors of traffic disruptions on I-43 and at the airport. I’m hoping my plane schedule skirts his arrival like a black cloud, as I only have an hour between planes in Detroit.
One thing, though, that used to be a problem on the road is becoming less of a challenge - finding a decent cup of espresso to jumpstart you from a bad night’s motel slumber. As I’ve written before, I used to carry a sweet little miniature espresso maker as a standard part of my luggage, because, unless I was on the west coast or in the downtown core of a large city, I would be at the mercy of the evil drip residue at a client’s office.
The remarkable transformation of America by Starbucks, however, has created a large and growing class of folks that won’t settle for Denny’s coffee. As many stores as Starbucks has, however, there always seems to be room in the interstices for smaller chains or local entrepreneurs to open a kiosk or shop and be successful. To my delight, the pictured cafe opened around the corner from my Milwaukee client a year or so ago, just in time to save me when my portable died of trauma at the hands of Northwest Airlines baggage handlers.
It’s a family operation, and usually staffed by the owner and her mother in the morning when I stop in. The building is a converted gas station, possibly on the historic register, the perfect backdrop from which to serve up my 40-weight morning drink - 4 shots of espresso and a little nonfat foam floated on the top. The mom has some memory issues, and I always have to tell her how to punch my order into the register, but the owner always knows exactly what to fix without my having to speak.
The owner of my client business, a hyper guy anyway, has started patronizing Kletzsch Perk in the morning, following my example, and has progressed from diluted drip to a double latte. I’m not sure that this is a good thing, as he seems incrementally more alert to the quality of product that I’m delivering, but I’m happy to help the coffee shop survive. My shoulders are a lot happier when I’m not carrying small household appliances through airports, and I can do without the suspicions and/or incredulous looks from the TSA scanners.