Last Wednesday I received a rather enigmatic e-mail from Mr. Thane, our guest contributor today, about a piece he felt fit quite nicely under the veil of this blog's dark, shadowy presence. Somehow he also knew about my penchant for strong, dark coffee. Without further ado, here is Mr. Thane's vital advice for the dark-hearted coffee lovers of the world, like myself. Enjoy.
Dark of art,
dark of heart.
But what about our coffee roast?
Those of us involved in the Dark Arts have long-resigned ourselves to our place in society. We’ll always be outsiders, outcasts, and others to our neighbors and the world at-large. In addition to rendering us as little more than the butt of many a joke and the go-to bogeyman in many a cheap “horror” film, it also has cut us off from many of life’s simple pleasure.
We’re not welcome at many churches, despite our assurances that the goat-leg dripping blood on their stoop is simply meant as a mid-sermon snack and not a way to write a hex on their wall.
Many city parks have banned us from holding our meetings there, citing that the sounds, sights, and smells associated with our intricate greeting rites and fellowship meals frighten young children and attract scavengers.
Local restaurants often enthusiastically frown at and intensely discourage our patronage. Apparently requesting raw meat is inappropriate, as is practicing the art of Soul Whispering over your meal. The most grievous offense in their eyes though seems to be requesting walk-in freezer space for a docile zombie needed for a later ritual. Never do this if you hope to eat-out in your locality in the near future.
You can forget being invited to neighborhood board game nights, as they will assume you want to recruit them for your Dungeons & Dragons “guild.”
That’s not even how it works.
Performing in the local public house’s amateur night is right out. Audiences are rarely able to appreciate the musical talent required to play The Piper’s Remorse duet on two flutes at once (though that may have less to do with musical taste and more to do with their distaste for rats). And though they do enjoy the anthropomorphic qualities granted to inanimate objects by the Enchantment of Lifelikeness, once you perform the Spell of Dismemberment on an unsuspecting volunteer you have lost them permanently.
Yes, choosing a life of Druidic Priest, Proto-Atlantean Warlock, or Priestess of the Runes will entail sacrificing many of the simple pleasures most people take for granted. The love of coffee, however, need not be one of them. In fact, as you will soon read, the pursuit of the Dark Arts can actually greatly enhance your ability to brew and enjoy the absolute perfect cup of java.
Don’t believe me? Read on. And pray I spare you the Bane of the Fool! A just punishment for your folly of disbelief!
First and foremost, a good coffee begins with good beans. No matter how thorough or precise your preparation of the bean, it cannot be improved beyond its inherent quality. Much in the same way a Rune of Enlightenment cannot grant wisdom beyond the subject’s ability to learn, a cup of coffee cannot be made better than its beans. Some prefer Arabica beans, others enjoy the distinct acidity of South America’s product, but for the true Dark Art-oriented coffee aficionado, there can only be one choice: Freshly harvested beans from the Invisible Fields of Merlin’s Miller. These can be very difficult to obtain since a) they’re invisible, b) the location of the fields is a closely guarded secret, and c) all the products grown by the Guild of Merlin’s Millers are shrouded and protected by multiple levels of spells, bindings, enchantments, and a couple of dragons.
In short, you’re not going to get them. Unless…you know the right people. And by “people” I of course mean Undead Conspirators of the Fellowship of Secrets. Granted, these…beings are not always easy to contact, they’re a pain to work with, and they often stab you in the back (figuratively) and siphon your soul (literally) but that’s a risk worth running if you want good coffee. Once you’ve gotten the beans, break off all contact with the Conspirators. Seal them in a crypt of Perpetual Stillness if you must, or send their bodies into the Labyrinth of Cain, but, for gods’ sakes, do not maintain a relationship with them.
The product can easily be multiplied using a few simple spells and rituals that you can find in my book Spell Your Way to Success: An Occultist’s Guide to Saving Money, Accumulating Wealth, and Crushing the Hearts of Your Foes (now on sale via the Kindle Store of Fire and Ice for only $2.99 or one male goat with five legs, three horns, and split tail). Now, you cannot sell or barter with any of the enchanted coffee, as this runs afoul of our Binding Codex and will result in the destruction of your coffee, the cursing of your soul, and the loss of any children born in a Leap Year under the light of a waning Blue Moon. But you can use them for your own pleasure without any kind of repercussions.
Well, without any serious repercussions.
Ideally, you're coffee should be roasted at dawn on the morning after a blood moon. Take the souls of your enemies (you have those, right? Good coffee is impossible without them!) and light them with the fires of your hellish wrath and use those to roast your coffee in the Kiln of Damnation. There are a couple of Arabian blessings/curses you can chant over them while they roast, or if you really want to go deep, look up the Honduran Book of the Dead. There's a great little incantation there that helps the beans roast evenly and helps you block out the screams of your enemies as their souls are charred black by the heat of your vengeance.
Once the coffee is roasted to perfection (times will vary based on the number of enemy souls used and their respective wickedness and be warned, using a soul that is primarily innocent but against whom you hold a petty grudge will slow down your roasting time and leave a really, really acrid taste on the beans) you need to spread the beans out on the fleece of a newly-sacrificed lamb so they can cool and absorb the innocence of the sacrifice into them to add a slightly sweet (but non-fattening!) aftertaste to the coffee. A lamb is definitely the way to go here, but in a pinch a rabbit will also work. Do not, under any circumstances, use a squirrel, a ferret, or a mammoth. Some acquaintances of mine used these pelts and they somehow opened a direct portal to Dungeons of Faust and their souls were devoured.
True story. Sad, but true.
Also, it gives the coffee the scent of boiled lemmings.
After they've cooled, they're best when ground using the Teeth of the Hell Hound's Bastard Son OR (if you like a finer grind) the Stones or Aramore (those are hard to get, though, so maybe start with the teeth). Some people have another incantation or ritual they add to this such as the Summoning of the Leper Spirits or The Giving of the Familial, but I don't think they add much to the taste of the coffee and you've already killed about four people by this time and at least one animal. It’s best to keep the body count as low as possible so one doesn’t arouse the suspicions of the local magistrates or awaken the Soul-Sleeper’s Harbinger.
Charlemagne had a nice design on a coffee brewer, but those prints will run you a pretty penny to buy and then some of the materials, like the marrow from a thigh-bone of a Mammoth Rider, are really hard to find. An Aeropress can do the job, but they sometimes crack under the pressure and for some reason they tend to deflect any kind of charm, so they can be a pain to work with. Also, they’re expensive. So I recommend you look for a used Rasputin Brewer at the local market, or even a generic version of Dagon’s Cauldron Line. Or, if you're feeling a little adventurous, you can track down a Leonardo Press and Brew which is handy for preparing a single cup of coffee.
And there you have it! The Occultist’s Guide to the Perfect Cup of Coffee.
We like our arts dark,
our hearts darker,
and our coffee black as the Midnight Harker.
Archiba’ald Thane is an author, speaker, enchanter, and Proto-Atlantean Warlock of the Seventh Spire. He has been published in Dark Arts and Culture and The Bloody Grail. His books are available for purchase in the Kindle Store of Fire and Ice and his newest book Spellbinding: An Occultist’s Guide to Beauty and Fashion will be available in the Fall of 2016. He is also a part-time employee at Whole Foods. You can find him on FaceTome or on Screecher: @THE_Archiba’ald_Thane