The Legend

Where Coffee Shops Come From

Gather round, children, as I tell you the story of the Wassayak. It is a story that has been handed down for years, if not months, from barista to barista, and finally we have permission from the universe to spread the message. Come help us spread the gospel of good coffee across the globe.

And now, without further ado, we give you the Wassayak:

The Legend of Wassayaks

In the high alpine hills of California, there is a legend that transcends explanation. They say he came one day to the city of Mount Shasta–a little man, dressed in a kimono, silent as the grave. He had scoured the world, they said, in search of the higher power, true knowledge. And in the crags of the mountain, he waited.

For thirty years he made camp in a bed of pine needles, subsisting on wild parsley and suckling fresh glacier water from the river like a rainbow trout. He meditated by day, played songs on a one-stringed biwa by night, and every other Saturday he hosted an informal get-together with his woodland neighbors, which was rarely attended by more than a few stray squirrels. Through all this, no sound passed beyond his lips. He had vowed he would not speak until he received the wisdom of the universe.

And then one day, as he rose early to ready himself for canasta with a particularly wily raccoon, it is said he achieved his ascension. He emerged from his weekly bath in an ice-fed stream, only to find a creature of shimmering beauty perched on a rock above him, directly atop his kimono. Sheepishly, for the man was altogether too naked to be confident, he ducked behind a boulder and waited for the creature to pass by. It did not, however, pass by. Instead, it stood tall on the rock, refusing to move for a full day and night.

The stars crept over the man’s head as he stared at the beast, unable to tear his gaze away and retreat back into the woods. It was a being of pure myth, ten feet tall and glowing, neither animal nor man. Tufts of fur clung to his four hooves, as if he’d draped himself in the hairpieces of a thousand angels. He stood majestically, letting the wind blow his mane toward the rising sun.

Powerful and wise. Like a yak Mufasa.

The man was rapt, though confused. Could this be a yak? No. For a spiraled horn jutted from the crux of his forehead, and glorious feathered wings, soft as the downy fluff surrounding an old man’s bald spot, had sprung from the creature’s shoulderblades. Surely this creature was from another world of myth and legend, the man decided, but just as he had found the courage to approach the animal, it disappeared into the blackness of the fading night.

For days the man returned to the blessed spot where he had witnessed the creature, whom he had named “Wassayak.” For surely it had transcended yak-dom: what once was a yak was a yak no longer. His search was fraught with failure, though, for every day he waited by the rock, watching for the Wassayak‘s reappearance, and every night, his waiting proved fruitless. The man began to lose heart, when late on the seventh day, just as he was packing his meager belongings to begin the long trek home, it appeared to him again.

It is said that on the same rock as before, the Wassayak stood and bestowed upon the man the mysteries of the universe. This is what they say–though we will never know.

Overjoyed with his revelation, the man hiked up his kimono and ran back down the mountainside through the waiting streets of Mount Shasta. “The Wassayak has given me the secrets of the universe,” he called. Onlookers gaped as he gathered a crowd of watchers and wanderers alike, but when he opened his mouth, no sound emerged. His voice, atrophied from long neglect, would not cooperate. Surprised at his own silence, the man coughed and sputtered, and finally forced out one word.

“Coffee,” he whispered.

The crowd circled in confusion. A cup of coffee was presented to the man in a desperate effort to revive him. “What is the secret?” the people demanded. “What has the Wassayak told you?”

But the exertion had proved too much for a body only accustomed to wild parsley and thirty years in the lotus pose. He was already beginning to fade. Bracing himself with his final strength, he took a sip from his mug, hoping it would empower him with the fortitude necessary for one last speech. He drew a nearby bystander close and, in a wheezing effort, muttered his last sentence before leaving the world.

“You call this coffee?”

After that, it is said that the man disappeared entirely, just as his beloved Wassayak had before him.

That, dear friends, is the reason for Wassayaks Cafe. Who knows but that we might know all the secrets of the universe, if only the man had been given a good cup of coffee.