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

Soundbytes from When Coffee Speaks

“When I was twelve my family had come here [to Cedral] to pick coffee on a man’s farm. I dreamed—we came up here to pick coffee, and I could hear the cows and the calves and everything, because there used to be more dairies. And I dreamed of one day coming back, to be able to hear the cows, to come back here to live. I wanted to live here. I prayed to God that I could live here!

Destroyed but Not Defeated

A few weeks ago I started a graduate program in English Literature, which admittedly has nothing to do with coffee and everything to do with being allowed to continue to teach in a public school (trying to be a writer and trying not to be homeless is complicated). I wasn’t planning to see any overlap … Continue reading Destroyed but Not Defeated

Another Year Later

At the end of October 2013 I self published 400 copies of "When Coffee Speaks: Stories from and of Latin American Coffeepeople" as the culmination of a year of research travel, four months of nonstop translating/transcribing/compilation, and a successful Kickstarter campaign. As soon as the books were printed (literally hot off the press; freshly bound … Continue reading Another Year Later


I have been working as a “coffee writer” (covering craft, commodity, conversation and culture!) for about two years, but before I went down the coffee rabbit hole I worked as a public high school teacher in New York City’s unique District 79. D79 is the city’s Alternative Education district, operating as programmatic rather than geographic, … Continue reading Trenches

Ink Spotlight

This internet thing is cool, but there is something about ink on paper that—for me at least—will never go out of style. The internet is an endless feed, but books and magazines are finite and discrete objects, and somehow inked words set on paper put things in a spotlight that is fundamentally different from an … Continue reading Ink Spotlight

Nobletree Coffee Launches in Brooklyn

Get ready coffeepeople; there’s a new tree in town, and it is dressed for success. The coffee industry has gone through many identity crises as different roasters, brands, and shops dub themselves “specialty,” “third wave,” “artisan,” and “craft.” Nobletree Coffee need not subscribe to any wriggling category because it effortlessly demonstrates that it is something … Continue reading Nobletree Coffee Launches in Brooklyn

Para Entender Mejor

  Preguntas como, “como es ser agricultor?” suelen se encuentran con respuestas descriptivas, pero cuyos descripciones son muy someras. Cuando quisieramos saber como es ser la borde mas nueva de una industria muy marcada por sus tradiciones, necesitamos algo mas que lo superficial. Esta historia de Lukas, uno de mis mejores amigos en Colombia, empieza … Continue reading Para Entender Mejor