Coffee, as we know it, has many different meanings for people all over the world. For the farmers in Ethiopia or Sumatra, the drive for coffee in First World countries is a means to support their families, sometimes even the plantation the coffee is grown on provides a home and education for the famers and their families. For the business man who pushes 14 hour days, coffee is a necessity. For the mother of a newborn, coffee is the art of juggling a baby in one arm and a cup of stimulant in another; yet, ultimately a necessity. For the college student cramming for a last minute exam, coffee is a lifeline. For many, coffee is the smell that gets them out of the bed in the morning, the reason they leave their house an extra 7 minutes early, and the taste that allows them to feel like they are finally ready to start their day.
According to the National Coffee Association, statistics from an online survey done in 2013 showed about 83 percent of adults in the United States are coffee drinkers. So while many coffee drinkers view coffee as a vital necessity, not all 83 percent are most likely drinking on a mission. Watching individuals walk in and out of the Coffee Corral the last two and a half years has taught me far more about the people drinking our coffee, then the coffee itself. Sure, initially there are your stereotypical coffee drinkers that want “the darkest you have”. But the beauty in the transformation from a “stereotypical coffee drinker” to a coffee snob, if you will, has been quite incredible. I’ve witnessed people who never thought to imagine past the cup in their hand, start to inquire about that odd-looking time machine in the middle of the store. Those same people then want to know a little more the next time they come in: What goes on when you roast the coffee? How do the green beans get here?. Now those stereotypical coffee drinkers who only want the darkest stuff we have, are now experimenting with that tasty medium roast we recommended last week–“what was it again, Costa Rica?”.
Coffee. Third Wave Coffee. Yes. So now, we have just taken that commodity that 83 percent of adults rely on, and turned into a legitimate art form. Sure, at the end of the day you’re still slurping your first cup of coffee half awake, with the Sandman maybe still in your eye, and fully unaware that your shirt is buttoned unevenly. Ultimately, coffee is coffee and a stimulant is stimulant. But now, that commodity that could be purchased in the rush and blur of the morning at any danky convenience store can now be thoroughly enjoyed. Now, you don’t have to cringe after every sip if you forgot to use sixteen packets of sugar. That burnt, nasty cup of coffee is over. The coffee drinkers that were once ordering the darkest stuff on the shelves, are now learning the sumptuousness of a mild cup of Ethiopian Sidamo might just be the better choice.
I love coffee. I love the first sip–the one I slurp loudly and occasionally will drool a little if all my senses haven’t fully engaged themselves yet. I enjoy knowing where my coffee came from and that the farmers were compensated fairly for their work. I like having the option of organic coffee–why drink chemicals every day if I have the option to not? But more then anything, I have enjoyed watching the way nonchalant coffee drinkers have become more and more curious about the coffee they are drinking. I love watching them try new coffees, I like when they can describe the different notes they are tasting. I love that they are tasting notes and not just burnt coffee! I’ve taken pride in watching employees that needed a job decide coffee is the path they want for their career. The best part of coffee by far, has been the excitement and passion that surrounds it. Incredibly enough, you can take something so ordinary and small and make it a huge part of your day. And for me, that is coffee.
So add some sugar, we will leave you some room for milk if you’d like; but be open to exploring the other side of coffee you might have never known existed. Ask a few questions, let us know what you are looking for, and leave the rest to us. As of this very moment, we have coffee from 16 different origins waiting for you to try. You can save on airfare, and you won’t have to wear a bathing suit when you’re sipping on Bali; but grab your passport and take the travel from origin to origin to see just where you might end up.