What's In Your Cup? — roast
We see labels like “gourmet” and “premium” thrown around every end of the food and beverage industry. Customers become desensitized by these poor advertising attempts until well-defined indicators begin to lose their weight. The phrase “specialty coffee” is not just some cliché. So when used properly, what does it really mean?
The thousands of miles long supply chain from grower to roaster has quality assurance at every step ensuring that when you open your little bag, you’ve got a homogenous, harmonious little family of happy beans, who you will, of course, ritualistically grind and drown. The process of sorting beans is a mix of purpose-built machinery and a lot of manual labor. Much of this sorting for quality and size is achieved by industrial air sorters and sieves but a lot of sorting for defects is still done by hand. Generally this involves workers lining up on either side of a...
Analog coffee is still very much alive. You may have felt it in modest ways, in the plunging of your press, or the lazy circling with your kettle for pour-over, or the aeropressing of… well, you can appreciate the point. I certainly get it when hand grinding beans, in the crunch and explosion of smell. In the end, coffee still gets down and dirty and roasting is no different, though of course the stakes are higher, and the nose has to be better. Coffee has taken on somewhat of a lab aesthetic over the years, right down to the interior...