a cup of reminisce

During the years 1990-1992 (i think) I went to a coffeehouse called Aroma. It was a wonderful new coffeehouse in Santa Rosa, CA….in the downtown historic district. So, that was 18-20 years ago…wow…hard to believe…does not seem like it. Anyways, the coffeehouse opening was a pretty big deal. At that time, there were only a few places to actually get good coffee in town. But, this place, this place was new, different and special. For one, the colors were so inviting; burnt orange, brown, chocolates were the interior colors and a big RED coffee roaster was smack in the middle of the place. The coffee bar area was long and pretty, with a gorgeous Copper Espresso machine. There must have been about 20 wooden tables for customers — all perfectly sized for enjoying a seat/table alone or for intimate conversation with a friend/loved one..There were windows…one large for looking out into the square.. I loved sitting inside, especially on rainy days, and just looking out the windows…watching the raindrops fall on pavement, hear the cars swoosh by and check out the travelers come and go from the Hotel La Rose across the street. There was something simple and romantic about it…just sitting there.

The coffeehouse was opened by two women who had definitely done their coffee homework and were smart & savvy business women. It was the first time i was introduced to organic coffee & fair-trade coffee, not to mention beans from all over the world; Sumatra, Kona, Ethiopia, etc…They were educators as well as business women.

I truly was one of their first customers. 2 friends and I had discovered the place and ended up going daily, sometimes 2x a day! The owners knew us, the staff knew us. It was the beginning of a long and fun relationship. I would arrive right at 7am when they opened so i could just soak in the beautiful emptiness and quiet. In the mornings, they had wonderful music playing…Gregorian Chants or Enya or Nina Simone…but it was always a gentle tune to awaken the soul and greet the day. I will never forget those many mornings of arriving, getting my coffee mug, choosing which blend I wanted and going to sit at the small table in the corner by the little window. I would actually walk up a small ramp (for wheelchair accessibility) and pass the row or coffee bean containers…so pretty. There were a few items for breakfast i would typically order…a baguette w/ butter & jam or a scone with butter & jam. Those damn scones remain some of the best I have ever had over the years. I miss those….

The coffeeehouse became such an integral part of the community. So much happened there for so many people who came and went….so many friends made, loves found, loves lost, study groups, random conversations with random people, crushes made and dissolved and made again…deep conversations followed by flowing tears, breakups and breakdowns, giddy times and painful goodbyes. There were straight folks, gay folks, bisexual folks, questioning folks, parents, kids, teachers, writers, musicians, students, and even an occassional “celebrity” (Tom Waits, Tracey Chapman). It grew into a truly super gathering place and for those of us who were around for a few years, we have many memories and many stories to tell.

Thanks, Aroma!

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3 Responses to “a cup of reminisce”

  1. I’ve never had a cool place like that… (slightly frowny/jealous face)

  2. i was pretty much gonna say what scott said! In NYC there were places similar for me, but LA doesn’t seem super conducive to that. not yet at least. lucky you!

  3. mmmmm…coffee!

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