Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend a grind for coffee man

Please pardon Marty Liebschner for not having Wi-Fi at his coffee house.

For one thing, his business is portable.

Being in mountainous terrain this past weekend didn’t help, either.

So customers had to be content sitting in a wooden chair, enjoying a dark roast without all the Internet-suffused comfort of home or Starbucks.

No matter.

There’s plenty else to see when you walk out of his tent at a Civil War re-enactment.

Liebschner is new at the coffee business. The Savannah resident, who is known as “Music Hall Marty,” purveyor of musical instruments, was at the Battle of Tunnel Hill re-enactment “testing the market” in freshly-ground coffee.

When asked why he got into this line of work, Liebschner says, “I got sick of bad coffee at events.”

Liebschner has worked at several historic sites over the years. He’s currently working at Home Depot to help pay the bills.

At Tunnel Hill, “Music Hall Marty” had several vintage coffee grinders in use, crushing beans for Colombian, House Blend and iced coffee that sell for between $1 and $3. True to his background, Liebschner had signs in front of each, explaining their use and history.

He even serves chicory, a coffee substitute popular during the war. It doesn’t have caffeine, but it has a bearable taste.

Civil War soldiers were big coffee drinkers, even if it was bitter and strong by today’s standards. Southern troops often had to make due with substitutes like okra, potatoes and corn.

“Unfortunately, all these imitations lacked potency, tasted awful, and upset the bowels,” says one Web site.

We should all be grateful for the real thing.

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