Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed. Mwai Kibaki, third president of Kenya In the weeks since I published my post on the coffee industry in Kenya, I’ve had conversations with countless coffee producers, agents, and exporters in Kenya as well as roasters and […]
The sun never sets on the British empire. attributed to John Wilson, 1829 During one of his “yes or no” Instagram Q&As, Scott Rao lamented the declining quality of Kenyan coffees over the last three years—a sentiment I’ve heard echoed by buyers across Europe, the US, and Australia. He kicked a different question over to […]
Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting. Michael Pollan I got a message from Kaapo Paavolainen of One Day Coffee on Telegram, I think, after he saw me snark on Jonathan Gagné’s Ad Astra channel about cinnamon and coffee. I personally don’t want cinnamon anywhere near a fermentation tank—but I also don’t believe it’s the role […]
I am, as I am; whether hideous, or handsome, depends upon who is made judge. Herman Melville Every story needs a villain—and in an industry where the highest achievement many can aspire to is simply not being a villain, at least that measure of success is attainable. But the power to create a villain—power that […]
Corn can’t expect justice from a court composed of chickens. African proverb A comment on my recent post about technological fixes reminded me of something: In the fall of 2019, back before covid-19 or Trump’s first impeachment, Creative Mornings Cleveland invited me to speak on the topic of “Justice.” As a child, my family nickname […]
Driving the train doesn’t set its course. The real job is laying the track. Ed Catmull I don’t tend to write a lot about roasting here, partially because I think my colleagues (Anne Cooper, Scott Rao, Rob Hoos, Candice Madison, Joe Marocco, Matt Perger—to name a few) have said more interesting and helpful things than […]
Alternate title: Slippery Slopes (When Wet) Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty. Zoolander Remarkably, it’s been a year since I published a post on my experiments with rehydrating coffee (and its brief follow-up). In that time, I’ve been surprised to see that of every strange thing I’ve written, […]
“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself” FDR I’d been a coffee buyer for barely two years and had just gotten my Q when, in 2014, I was invited to a cupping series in Chicago at Intelligentsia’s Roasting Works organized by Michael Sheridan, then of the Coffeelands Project through Catholic Relief Services. I was […]
What can coffee teach us about baking sourdough?
I’ve described the events of the past few weeks this way: I’m standing in the middle of a frozen lake and notice a crack forming in the ice. How do we get to shore?