I grew up in the Starbucks era, where simultaneously, coffee drinkers became “coffee snobs”, and the “wanna-be’s” would carry around their frappucinos and mochas . In my growing love for coffee, I have been on a search for great tasting coffee that won’t devastate our planet. Here’s what I found.
As I write, I am sipping on a home-made cup of espresso, iced, with just a touch of whole milk. This is by far my favorite summer drink, unless I am in an indulgent mood, and that’s when I opt for an iced coffee with milk and a touch of vanilla. All these and more I make at home using either my espresso machine or my french press.
There are two story lines here. One is my love for coffee, the other my growing awareness and desire to let us be good stewards of our precious planet that was created for us to take care of.
My Coffee Love Affair
I used to hate coffee and it wasn’t because of the taste. Promptly at 6:30am every morning, I was awoken to an atrocious, gnaw-on-your-brain sound coming from the kitchen. My dad, like clockwork, would pour his fresh, whole coffee beans that still seemed to be dripping with oil, proceeding then to press down on the lid. And that is when I would wake up and curse coffee grinders in my head. I didn’t care for the taste too much either, though thanks to CoffeeMate and International Delight, made it bearable on my early morning ride to the ski resort (where I worked as a snowboard instructor during high school).
From there, my love of coffee grew. Shortly after college, some good friends bought me a french press, and if you have never had a french press and enjoy strong coffee, quit reading this, grab a few friends, head out to Starbucks and order a french press brew to share. I then proceeded to purchase the torture machine, which I now use to torture my wife as she tries to sleep in the morning. A few weeks later, my wife found an espresso machine at a garage sale for $5 and a friend taught me how to use it, and I became hooked on espressos.
Over the course of six years, I went from hating coffee, to having everything one would need to meet whatever coffee fix one may be in. One summer, I even made a caramel frappucino (in my opinion it was better than Starbucks’ as I kept a stronger hint of espresso in it) for her on a weekly basis.
So that is my love affair. Well, almost. My wife loves to “thrift shop”, and so I oblige and go with her. Today, I found for $4 a coffee bean roaster! A roaster! Now I can buy my beans green (pre-roasted condition), roast the beans to the exact strength I please. It’s the next level for me, and I am very excited about it. In the next month or so, I will blog about it on my blog.
Taking Care of the Planet
I have also been chewing on the idea that every dollar makes a difference. In corporate America, sadly, the bottom line is their line of morality. Whatever beefs up their bottom line, they will do. Not with all companies, but the vast majority do not have a proper balance of stewardship and profitability. Nor do I expect them to, seeing as my faith shapes my worldview, and is shaping my worldview even now. I strongly believe that I can speak to this issue by intentionally directing every dollar I spend. I blogged about this as well.
I am in search of companies that identify with their responsibility for the environment and keep their profitability. I have found a company that I am completely in love with when it comes to their coffee, that also seem to understand their role in conservation and stewardship. You can read all about them here.
Ironically, I guess my dad had it right all along, for this is the very same coffee that would torture me awake in high school. Fair trade coffee with a variety of roasts and killer taste.