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Day 2: Bean Werks

i decided to head back to haywood road today. i freaking loved it there. after i left waking life yesterday, i drove down the entire street and discovered more about this gem of a neighborhood. brick warehouse buildings, cafes, shops, yoga & massage studios, pubs, diners, and other regular businesses. it was like a little downtown in and of itself. so, i just had to go back.

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today’s destination: bean werk’s.

this time i trusted my handy gps from the beginning, and you know what? she rocked it out. i made my way to haywood road heaven through little neighborhood streets, which gave me ample opportunity to check out local homes. i looove drive-by home shopping. anyway, right turn here. left turn there. and suddenly i was coming up a side street with bean werks directly on my right, on the corner of haywood road and herron avenue.

as i sat at the stop light, i began to panic about parking. should i park on the street, the busy, 2-laned haywood street, or…  oh no. green light. i instinctively turned right and passed bean werks and another business, and magically,  a parking lot appeared to my right. a big parking lot. perfect. i parked my car and felt giddy and super excited.

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the sun was shining, i was in west asheville again, about to embark on my second fika, and just felt the need to wander a bit. to really soak in the atmosphere and all that is haywood road. i crossed the parking lot and wandered behind a building, where i saw the remnants of beer boxes, kegs, organic eggs, and a composting box at the back of a restaurant. i saw a pub door with it’s entrance on the backside. interesting , i thought. must visit sometime. and then, a bush caught my eye. something moved. a butterfly! i yanked my camera out and began snapping away. she was beautiful as she sucked up the nectar from the flowers. it was a lovely, quiet moment. and for that moment, everything felt peaceful and right.

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i continued on and decided i should get on with my fika… off to bean werks!

i wandered down the sidewalk and passed a coffee shop that seemed quite popular. they had outdoor seating and it smelled delicious. it’s on my list of cafes, so i’ll be back to it another day.

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i arrived at the door to bean werks and felt nervous. it was a pretty small place and i hate that feeling of walking in somewhere new, all heads turn and look your way, and everything is just awkward. i considered not gong in. then i realized that was silly. i took a deep breath, pulled open the door, and was hit by a rush of the smell of hot, roasting coffee beans. wow. amazing!

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there were only a few people inside, and none of them were sitting down. in fact, there weren’t many places to sit at all. hmm… awkward moment, hello.

i did a few circles and then made my way to the counter. there was  tons of coffee stuff everywhere. mugs, cups, thermoses, and bags of coffee. whole beans. ground. and all kinds of flavors. it looked a bit like a general store.

and nothing like a funky, hipster cafe. it was raw, real, warehouse-y, and packed with coffee things.

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i ordered a coffee in my mug anyway and wandered around, looking at things on shelves, things on the walls, things on the floor. back at the front of the store, i saw a tall table with 2 bar stools. a computer was on the table. was this a working table, or a place where one could use the internet? well, i went for it. i chanced it and sat down.

pretty soon, i got the feeling that i was actually the only customer there. the others were all working. two men stood at the table beside mine (the only 2 tables in the cafe). they were sifting through coffee beans and taking out defects. at this moment i realized that i was in a place that was serious about their coffee. it was a place of work, and it was a place where coffee was worshipped.

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soon, there was only one man left at the table examining the coffee beans, and it just happened: i engaged in conversation.  go me. i told him i thought it was so interesting to see the beans in the roaster (which was right behind me). i don’t even know if it’s called a roaster… anyway. the man immediately began chatting with me, and before i knew it i was hearing tons about the coffee bean process.

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so, there i sat. sipping my coffee. and listening to eli (we were now on a first name basis with each other) talk to me about the coffee beans he receives from indonesia. he shared with me the story of the process… from the trees to the farmers to drying the seeds to the bean. fascinating! he even turned on the computer at my table and began showing me his personal photos of the farmers and his contact person in indonesia. truly amazing.

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eli’s passion was obvious as he worked. covered in tattoos and a fairly simple, normal looking guy, i honestly wouldn’t have pegged him as a coffee king. but, he is. you don’t even have to talk to him to know that he loves what he does. he mostly roasts the beans and sells them wholesale, as bean werks is not really a cafe in the regular sense. the process of creating a good, quality cup of coffee is what this place was all about.

wow. what an experience! what an opportunity to learn some things about coffee at the beginning of my 40 day adventure. perfect timing.

before i left, eli and i exchanged contact information. i’m sure i’ll head back to bean werks to check in and to grab a cup of coffee. it’s not a place i would recommend as a cafe to sit down and write or read, but i most definitely give a two thumbs up to the coffee and the atmosphere. if you love coffee, you simply must stop by.

oh, and, i told you i’d talk to someone today. wonder what’s in store for tomorrow?!

namaste. ~ liz

About Liz McGuire

Liz is a blogger, writer, and amateur photographer in Asheville, NC. She is a returning expat, re-adjusting to American life after living in Sweden for the past three years. On any given day you can find her planning her next adventure with her wife, blogging away on her blog (www.belovelive.com) about daily life and social issues, and discovering little hidden gems and secret places in the city. She faithfully totes her camera and her coffee mug everywhere she goes. And she’s always up for a conversation about spirituality, politics, or other taboo topics. You can find her on the web at www.belovelive.com.

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