Realigning All the Empathy

These days, everyone seems to be talking about empathy--how to feel more of it, what to do with it, and why it will make America united again. While empathetic declarations come from a well-intentioned place, there is a slight flaw in our current empathetic effusiveness; the overuse and often misuse of the word is diluting … Continue reading Realigning All the Empathy

About that $18 Cup of Coffee

About that $18 cup of coffee in Brooklyn that went viral. What’s up with it? Why does it cost $18 and why did everyone have something to say about it? Let's break this down. 0. This coffee is not actually available yet. When it is, it will cost $18/cup. Two weeks ago, Alpha Dominche, a … Continue reading About that $18 Cup of Coffee

The Importance of Inefficiency and the Danger of Detail

  Specialty coffee is overwhelmingly inefficient. This inefficiency might be the one unilateral criterion that makes certain coffee special and also the one unilateral virtue—or opportunity for positive impact—that circumscribes specialty coffee as a category. Between 275-320 bags (total varies depending on country of export and their standard bag weight) of coffee are packed into … Continue reading The Importance of Inefficiency and the Danger of Detail

Fat Neighbors

Some people have more money, resources, good looks, connections, and formative educational training than others. That’s life. In the case of coffee, life’s inherent unfairness doesn’t have to be a bad thing and it doesn’t take a mammoth international organization like Fairtrade to help restore some balance to life’s inherently imbalanced scales; it just takes … Continue reading Fat Neighbors

Celebrity Farmers

Way back in the post Division of Decision I suggested that we don't always know what me mean by the words that we use. When we say "farmer" who are we actually talking about? The romantic, idyllic image of a lone man toiling in harmony with the land that we associate with the word is … Continue reading Celebrity Farmers

When Coffee Connects

  Vague generalisms like "coffee connects people" or "coffee shops are a third space that builds community" are tired clichés. What's not tired--what's quite refreshing, actually--is unexpectedly experiencing third space coffee community connections in ways that are concrete and real and not at all vague. Case in point: I almost always make my coffee at … Continue reading When Coffee Connects

Action, Impact, and a Dose of Serendipity

From the trajectory of its debut month, 2015 seems to be the year of serendipity. One such example came yesterday in the form of an email from a high school student in Maine who had read “When Coffee Speaks” and wrote, “I've read your book and am intrigued and impressed by your work. I love … Continue reading Action, Impact, and a Dose of Serendipity

Mutually Supportive

In the previous post in Spanish, I tell the story of arriving on my friend's family farm in the mountains of Antioquia, Colombia and participating in a sort of spontaneous coffee ceremony around using an electric coffee grinder for the first time. In traditional Colombian farming households, coffee growing families would roast leftover coffee (that … Continue reading Mutually Supportive

Antioquia La Más Educada

Hace un mes asistí la conferencia, (o si prefiere “el evento”) del SCAA, la Asociación de Cafes Especiales de Estados Unidos, en Seattle. Como prensa, estuve invitada a un almuerzo patrocinado por CQI, el Instituto de Calidad de Café, el órgano responsable por los estandares, examinaciones, y entrego de titulos de “Q Grader.” Hubo muchas … Continue reading Antioquia La Más Educada