Enough clutter. Enough confusion. Enough complications.

23 March 2010


Sencillo: (adj.) modest, unassuming, simple

Someday I’m going to run a coffee shop called Sencillo.

Each cup of brewed coffee will be made to order. Espresso based beverages will come in one size to maintain a specific ratio of coffee to milk. Everything will be fresh and our staff will be skilled and knowledgeable. Inside, the shop will feel more like a pub than a coffee shop, with baristas working behind an old wooden bar and plenty of quiet corners tucked away for work and conversation. The goal will be a simple, high quality, coffee experience. No frills, no elaborate nomenclature, no cocktail-like combinations of syrups and flavors. Coffee done simply.

But what is simple? What does it mean? Surely there are many elements that must come together to produce a good, straight-forward cup of coffee, aren’t there? Do the many steps, the intricacies of the process, or the subjective idea of “high quality” mean that simple is an illusion? Maybe.

Then again, maybe not.

Something can be layered, multifaceted, the culmination of a thousand miles made up of a million steps, and be quite simple, quite modest, humble, and unassuming. I feel that rocks fit wonderfully into this description, shale specifically. Each particle has a story and a history. Together, however, they are a piece of shale. Life is like that, isn’t it? It can be complicated to no end, if we want it to be, if we let it. We can try to break down every emotion and every feeling. We can grasp at comprehension and understanding, delving deeper and deeper into the details until they add little or nothing to the understanding of the whole to which they belong. Rocks are rocks. Coffee is coffee. People are people.

I know that I’m often guilty of making things more complicated than they need to be. I like to analyze things, to try to understand how they work and why they exist. I like the details, but the more I see the details the less I see the whole picture. The goal of Sencillo, the blog, is to dispense with the frills and the elaborate nomenclature that hide the whole of an experience just as Sencillo, the coffee shop, dispenses with the frills and complications of having a good cup of coffee.

So welcome! Thank you for coming. I hope you’ll stay and talk awhile.


J.G. Malacarne


  1. I love the name,stationary, and background colors!
    How many cups of coffee have you had since you arrived "home" at Charlottesville? :-) mum

  2. It is interesting to me that you have chosen blog as the medium for "Sencillo." Don't get me wrong, this first post is crafted with superlative quality. However, the proliferation of blogs (of which I am undoubtedly a part) has led to the cluttering of our lives with more and more media. I share your passion for simplicity, though. I am happiest when I have a nice view, a book, and a good drink; we need little else.

  3. In Jonathan's (and my defense), a blog may seem like media cluttering but only if we let it become such. For those of us not fortunate enough to be close to family and friends--and bound by the constraints of time zones--blogs are an excellent way to share our musings on our experiences. Jonathan--I'm looking forward to keeping up with your Peace Corps experience as I deploy!

  4. I would like some updates including thoughts as you prepare to head out.

  5. It's been nearly a month since your last post. Slacking already?

  6. Jonathan,
    Just wanted to let you know your Uncle Mark is thinking of you and praying for you. Best wishes for an amazing adventure. Enjoy the experience!