Light Roast Good…Dark Roast Baaaaaaaaaaad

Or: the Agnostic Roaster vs. the Orthodox Roaster That’s right. Contemporary coffee culture is so outrageously reactionary and ideological that this memorable line (read in a sheep’s bleat) from George Orwell’s classic extended analogy for Soviet Communism fits my criticism. Since you probably read Animal Farm in eighth grade or so, I’ll refresh you. “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad” is a … [Read more...]

Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel

      Well, it's here. The SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) has redesigned their Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel. The old wheel had one wheel for good tastes, and one wheel for defects. This combines them, acknowledging that sometimes good coffees have negative traits and vice … [Read more...]

Coffeehouses: A Short History

As coffee traveled out of Ethiopia, across the Muslim world, and into Europe, Asia, and the Americas in the middle of the last millennium, it met with opposition from the world’s political and religious leaders. In 1511, it was banned by Mecca’s most conservative imams (the ban was overturned thirteen years later by order of the Ottoman Sultan Selim I). At the beginning of the seventeenth century, … [Read more...]

On the State of Specialty Coffee: 2014 Coffee Hipster Edition

Last weekend Ma Langer and I went to Seattle for the annual SCAA Expo. We go to attend classes and lectures, watch competitions, look at new products, network, etc. I enjoy the people-watching. There are three main groups of coffee industry worker in attendance at the SCAA: suit-wearing corporate types (importers, equipment manufacturers, and the like; this group skews older);  farmers and co-op … [Read more...]