Scenes from an 82nd St. coffee establishment.

June 25, 2010

Counter at Mocha Express

Mocha Express: Bringin' the class back to 82nd Street.

Mocha Express on Urbanspoon
It’s a Wednesday evening on at Mocha Express 82nd St. in Southeast Portland. Following an ill-advised bout of $1 Sushi I needed something to redeem my body’s faith in ingestion.

“…so there’s a bunch of guys fighting, then they stop fighting, they line up, then they fight again.”

“I just don’t get it.”

I was curious where this particular exchange between the baristo (male barista, my quest to create a new word continues) and an elderly gentleman was going, so I took a moment to take in the architecture.  The three computer terminals looked exciting and the cool little desk attachments on the pleather chairs was a nice touch. Beyond that, the fireplace in the corner was surrounded with a clusterf*ck of plushy chairs creating some kind of Feng Shui migraine. If the place weren’t so accommodating, it’d kind of remind me of a Forza that wasn’t trying very hard. There was also a tray of cookies begging for my attention.

“Sometimes they kick it,” the baristo said. “Sometimes they throw it, but they always stop.”

“American football?” I asked.

Mocha Express coffee booth.

Aw, Mocha Express had a baby...and parked it out back.

The older gentleman looked up and continued to try to explain American football to the Jordanian baristo. We started to chat, but I was still distracted by the tray of cookies. As the exchange wrapped up, I considered acting in blatant disregard to the sign on the door (“All customers are required to make a purchase before taking a seat”), but I really wasn’t in the mood to make a scene, and I kind of wanted a cookie.

“What would you like?”

“What do you do well?” I ask, as if the list of a dozen mocha drinks didn’t tip me off.

“Hot or cold?”


“Sweet or not?”

“Not sweet.” I was still staring at the cookies.

“Snickers mocha with half the syrup?”

Lounge area of Mocha Express

Look, the fireplace thing...can we just...not?

That sounded like it would go well with cookies, so I went with it.

“Would you like cookies? Three for a dollar.”

“Three cookies for a dollar?” I exclaimed in diabetic joy.

“Any three!” he replied, gesturing at the twelve cookies, all peanut butter.

“How amazing!” I exclaimed, as a large, white truck labeled “BURRITOS FUNNY” pulled into the adjacent lot.

“That will be one million dollars.” That struck me as fishy, since that would imply that the mocha was $999,999 dollars. Who sells coffee for that price and cookies for $0.333333333333333333 cents?

“This coffee better cure cancer.”

“Four dollars.”

Three dollars for a mocha? Wow, I need to come here more often.

A second elderly gentleman enters and orders a vodka followed by two young boys who order bloody  Marys and review their stock portfolios. Ok, ok, the elerly gentleman discussed 1930s Western films and the boys watched YouTube videos. One of the old dudes did make a Klingon reference (“today is a good day to die”) though, which was pretty cool.


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