On Coffee

Full disclosure from the start: I recently applied for a job with one of my favorite coffee roasting companies and my website is on my resume. That being said, I don’t think I’ve really ever written about my love for coffee. I’ve talked about it often, but I don’t think I’ve dedicated this kind of space to it.

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There was a time when coffee was merely a means of feeling more awake. More often than not, coffee was simply just a thing that I added a lot of sugar and cream to so I could go about my morning. Hell, back when I would have to walk two miles to the nearest bus stop in the wee hours of the morning to get to work, I’d stop by Starbucks and shell out the minimum amount of money to get a cup of something cheap. 

For the most part, coffee was a means of being social when I didn’t want to drink beer or didn’t have access to legally drink alcohol. Coffee was an afterthought. It wasn’t something to be talked about, but it at least provided an excuse to enjoy the company of others, but it wasn’t something to be cared about.

2014 rolls around, and I’m working for a fairly prominent tech company. Again, coffee was mainly a means of powering through the morning...except for one of my co-workers. In the small kitchen that we had, I’d noticed a group of people gathered around this particular co-worker as he meticulously measured each grain of coffee, timed out each drop of water that was set at *just the right temperature*. All of this was done with a special scale and some glass contraption that I would have otherwise mistaken for the kind of vase that you’d put a fresh bouquet of flowers into.

I was intrigued. 

Beyond this sense of intrigue, I was actually offered one of these cups of coffee.  While I reached for sugar and cream, the co-worker quickly protested.

”Don’t do that. Just trust me.” 

For the first time in my life, the coffee was the subject of this social gathering—not just a thing to be consumed while being social. For the first time, I realized that coffee was something that could speak for itself. 

I needed to know how to perform this alchemy. 

I spent every day learning about water-to-bean ratios (15:1 is my go-to), the benefit of unbleached filters, water temperatures, the difference between an Aeropress and a Chemex and a Hario V60. I developed a heavy preference for beans from Kenya and Ethiopia. 

Coffee brought me closer to my co-workers. Some would accuse me of just buying into some “hipster horseshit”, but they didn’t know how much I love the craft, the process of making something beautiful. 

I’ve been a musician all of my life. I believe in knowing everything I can about all the pieces and processes that go into making a piece of music. As a pop culture critic, I thrive on knowing the inspirations and machinations behind different pieces of media. Why the hell wouldn’t I apply the same enthusiasm to just about everything else in my life? It gives my life meaning to get granular.

Just as it gives me a sense of pride and joy when people hear a song I’ve written or see a photo I’ve taken, I feel that same pride and joy when I serve a cup of coffee that I specifically chose and carefully brewed.