Celebrate the Good

Coffee, like everything else, is not perfect. Coffee regularly gets negative press of being exploitive on one end and elitist on the other. (For some thoughts on the complexities of making trade fair, see my second guest post for Angels' Cup.) It's nice to take a moment to recognize that coffee is also very inclusive … Continue reading Celebrate the Good

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

The Coffeepeople Event: SCAA 2015

Seattle, Take 2 From April 8th-12th the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) held its 27th annual Event, and for the second consecutive year the world's best coffee makers gathered in Seattle. "Make" is a broad term, and the SCAA Event (Expo, lecture sessions, competitive drink preparation) lures producers, processors, exporters, importers, government delegations, trade guilds, … Continue reading The Coffeepeople Event: SCAA 2015

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

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

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

There’s an App for That: Angels’ Cup, Coffee Tasting for All

It takes many long, grueling hours to become a Q Grader, the technical name for a "coffee sommelier," or professional coffee taster. Earning the title, which only a few hundred people in the world hold, involves sniffing vials of concentrated scents, blindly slurping thousands of coffee samples, and memorizing a vocabulary of hundreds of terms … Continue reading There’s an App for That: Angels’ Cup, Coffee Tasting for All

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

Madcap’s Knapp Speaks

Two weeks ago, I visited Grand Rapids Michigan for my cousin's wedding. En route to the family festivities, I of course coffee crawled my way to Madcap Coffee Company, Grand Rapids' stronghold of specialty coffee. I was elated to find a gorgeous cafe, exciting coffee drinks (that's right, coffee based mocktails of glory) and down … Continue reading Madcap’s Knapp Speaks