How a Bipolar Woman Invented the $4 Toast Trend

San Francisco cafe owner started new 'artisanal' craze

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 19, 2014 8:38 AM CST

(Newser) – These days, certain San Francisco cafes are offering "artisanal toast": Lathered with yummy stuff like almond butter or apricot marmalade, it tastes good ... and costs about $4. But what screams "waste of money" actually has an inspiring story behind it, writes John Gravois at Pacific Standard. Enter Giulietta Carrelli, a slight, gregarious 34-year-old who's covered in tattoos and runs a San Francisco cafe called the Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club, an "impressively odd" place with a menu of whole Thai coconuts, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice (a nod to the fact you can survive on the two, which Carrelli says she did for years), and toast. She also has a schizoaffective disorder—part schizophrenia, part bipolarity—that afflicts her with debilitating psychotic episodes lasting days, weeks, and even months.

To help ground her, she opened Trouble a few years back with $1,000 in borrowed money. Now her cafe, her clientele, and her 14 employees all keep her tethered to reality. "I own Trouble Coffee so that people recognize my face—so they can help me," she says. She still has episodes, but fights through them and gets proper treatment. Aptly, she calls her drip coffee "guts"; espresso is "honor"; and artisanal toast, her invention, is "comfort." So why toast (in her case, a simple variety that covers locally made white bread with butter, cinnamon, and sugar)? "We never had pie" growing up in an Italian immigrant family, she says. "Our American comfort food was cinnamon toast." Click for the full article—or a VentureBeat piece that blames artisanal toast on "techsters."

  (Shutterstock)
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