It’s January 1, and since many of us love making resolutions for the clean slate that is a fresh 365 laid out in front of us (actually, 366 this year), I’d like to make a suggestion if you don’t mind. Yeah, it’s coffee-related.
Relax, it’s an easy one. If you’re already doing it, great! Add it to the list anyway and just cross it right off (you’re welcome).
Here it is: Consider and explore your coffee in 2016.
More than half of adults in the US indulge in a daily coffee habit, with a hermetically-sealed pod or convenience store fill-up, without much consideration. But it’s one that deserves much consideration. Despite what mainstream coffee purveyors have led us to believe, coffee is not a homogenous dark liquid made diverse by chemical flavorings, artificial creamers and endearing marketing campaigns.
Coffee is cultivated in more than 40 varieties, in more than 50 countries, by tens of millions of small producers, in various elevations, soil types and climates (and those producers work damn hard).
Coffee has more than 800 aromatic compounds that contribute to flavor (about twice to three times that of wine). Drinking a cup of mainstream dark roast, often stale, coffee affords you virtually none of those flavors (ground coffee loses 85-percent of those compounds after five days).
The goal of most (small batch/artisan/craft/third wave/whatever) roasters is to curate and present the diverse world of flavors and experiences inherently offered by the wide world of cultivated coffee. This is done by roasting in a strategically particular and careful way, and presenting it to you provenance intact, attempting to connect you with the serpentine and intimate process — the hard workers in the 50-plus countries — from seed to cup.
So please consider the contents of your daily cup. Consider the farmers and the mill workers and their family’s efforts and sacrifice. Consider the arduous process of seed to plant to harvest to processing to packaging to shipping to evaluating to roasting to your cup.
And throughout your 2016 coffee habit, do some exploring of the wide world of coffee, supporting small farmers and co-ops and their efforts to grow and process in a sustainable way, and the importers and roasters working to support those small farmers.
I’ll be here to provide in that exploration. But I’m just a tiny, tiny roaster in a vast sea of excellent roasters doing amazing work making the efforts of small, high-quality coffee producers recognizable. Throughout my roasting exploration with One Up One Down I’ll also be indulging in the efforts of other roasters, and I’ll be sure to share that with you (we’re all just partners in an effort to get the coffee drinking population drinking better coffee).
So add it to your list: Consider and explore your coffee. But actually do this one.