Tag Archives: immigrants

Hardscrabble Blend

19 Apr

Been drinking a blend lately so dark it stained the white plastic spoon I used to stir our French press. It might be our chosen brewing method, but the coffee is gritty, grimy almost. The grounds in the bottom of the mug like factory sludge at the bottom of the Chicago River. Yellowing our teeth quicker than cigarettes.

Fitting then, that the coffee is called Hardscrabble Blend, roasted by Bridgeport Coffee Company, from the eponymous Chicago neighborhood, which is shaped like the state of Missouri. Tucked back off Hwy 90/94, it isn’t known for much other than its proximity to the White Sox stadium. But, like everything in a large city, things weren’t always so. Bridgeport used to be known as Hardscrabble, which itself is a term that’s fallen out of usage but which carried certain connotations:

“Our community, Bridgeport, was Chicago’s first slum. A grim place refered to as Hardscrabble. Hardscrabble was a word in the early 1800s that implied poverty. This early community was inhabited by Irish immigrants (shovelmen) who built the Illinois and Michigan Canal. They worked for whiskey and a dollar a day. This hearty vienna roasted blend is a tribute to them.”

I rarely prefer dark roasts to light, but this one is perfect for this week, when winter takes parting shots at us like a retreating villain.