The Times made it official in March 2010: New York City had finally joined the ranks of serious coffee towns, after years of playing second fiddle to java Meccas Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself, but I was glad to learn that if I wanted to take a visitor out for a cup, we could now match anything they’d find on the West Coast. Then Professor Erin Murphy told me about her Fourth of July weekend, and I realized we already have to play catch-up. Murphy joined NYU Law last fall after teaching at Berkeley for five years, and when she’s not rekindling my sense of coffee inferiority, she spends her time delving into some pretty cool areas of criminal law, involving such things as DNA evidence and location-tracking technology. (She talks about her focus on a brief video that can be found on this page of the Law School’s website.)
This summer, Murphy and her husband returned to the Bay Area and, over July Fourth, they joined some friends at a vacation spot located on a working farm in Big Sur, along the California coast. Here’s how she started the morning: Taking a mug half filled with coffee, she walked outside and over to the place where the farm owners — who are also cheese makers — milk their goats. Placing her mug under a goat’s udder, she pulled. “Presto, on-the-scene goat cappuccino,” Murphy told me. “If you’re new at it like me,” she added, “you get kind of a trickle,” but those who knew what they were doing would “literally just fire the goat into the mug, and it was frothy and foamy, like a real cappuccino.” (The milk, of course, was already warm.)
I’m going to talk to someone at NYU’s Ag School to see if we can get a couple of goats in the Van Hall courtyard. Until that happens, though, advantage California.