Monday, December 7, 2009
January Green Drinks at Philbrook Museum of Art
Hello all! Thank you to everyone who made it out to the Pearl Art Gallery on December 3rd. There were many beautiful works of art on display from sculptures, to furniture, to jewelry and paintings. Next month, we'll be holding Green Drinks in another artful location, the Philbrook Museum of Art. Brian Franklin, Owner of Double Shot Coffee Company (DSCC), will be our guest speaker. DSCC quite possibly serves the best cuppa joe in town. Of course that's a matter of opinion - I guess that means you know mine! It's roasted onsite in a restored 1953 Vittoria and only the best beans are used. Those beans and their procurement will be the subject of our event.
I'm guessing that 99% of those reading this blog are coffee drinkers. But how many of us have really considered what goes into that daily indulgence that fuels our lives, careers, and social gatherings? Where did it come from? Who produced it? A cup might cost you $2 at QT or maybe it's free at the office, but how much of that is going to the farmer, the roaster, or the person who works in the field picking the coffee cherries? DSCC travels to the countries of origin to personally meet the growers, explore the farms, and select the coffee. In addition, they raise funds to support these communities via fundraisers and races. Through a group called the Coffee Illuminati (http://coffeeilluminati.blogspot.com/), Brian shares pictures, stories, and reports on the people who are providing the delicious coffee that comes out of his shop. The Illuminati gathers for occasional events (cupping, food pairing, demos, etc) and gets first hand news on roasting & product availability. Any funds raised through membership or contributions goes toward putting on the events and getting these guys to the countries of origin. Really, I think Brian can say it best, so here is a snippet of the manifesto, straight from the website:
That’s all I want.
Coffee that has been acquired according to what is morally right and fair. Coffee that has been grown and picked by the sweat of a man’s brow and paid for by the sweat of my brow and the sweat of your brow. That’s what I want. I want to treat the farmer as I expect you to treat me: with respect and the understanding that my time is as valuable as yours. And the farmer’s time and the picker’s time is every bit as valuable as ours.
How to achieve this is a tricky proposition.
Coffee is a volatile (and precious and important and delicious) agricultural product. The further I get into the industry and the more I learn, I’m continually astounded by how fleeting and inconsistent COFFEE (as a whole) is. The taste and quality of coffee is determined by a host of factors working together, including growing conditions, elevation, rainfall, soil quality, variety of plant, techniques for cultivation, ripeness of coffee cherries, processing techniques, luck, sorting, passage of time, shipping and storage techniques, roasting profile and level of roast, freshness, grinder type (and maintenance and sharpness of burrs and grind fineness), brewing technique, water temp, brew time, drinking vessel... and a host of things I don’t know about and may not understand even if I did.
What I’m trying to say is, there are a million things that can go wrong along the way to ruin a cup of coffee and a million things that need to go right in order to get a good cup. Lest you think there is any standard way of doing ANY of this, think about the 70 or so countries that produce coffee and the hundreds of countries that drink it, not to mention the scores of coffee shops in each town. None of them do things the same.
On top of that, coffee ages. Even in the dried, green (pre-roasted) form that I have in bags in my store. I’ve found that some coffees that turn exceptional at some point in time only stay in that “perfect” state for a couple weeks. It’s fleeting. That’s why I always say, when you taste an amazing cup of coffee, you should stop and appreciate it because it may never be this way again.
So why, when you have an unbelievable cup of coffee, does it come so inexpensively? With all the care that goes into that cup and all that could’ve gone wrong, how can it possibly be so cheap? Someone is getting the short end of the stick.
It’s hard to generalize in the coffee industry because, as I mentioned, nothing is standard, but I’m going to make one general statement: Coffee farmers work hard and earn little. Most people don’t want to know about this, and don’t have to face it. It’s easy to drink your coffee in ignorance. Easy to buy coffee with marketing certifications that sound ethical and make you feel good about your purchase. Easy to complain about the price of a cup or a pound without ever considering all the work of all the people who put their hands in it. And you don’t have to think about that stuff. But I do."
I'll let you visit the site to learn more for yourself an finish reading.
For anyone who says that Oklahoma's got it all wrong, they should take a closer look at the resources that we've got to offer, right here in our own backyard.
I hope you'll be able to make it out for this one. We'll meet at The Philbrook Museum of Art at 5:30pm, just beyond the main lobby. There will be a cash bar and complimentary coffee. Swing by DSCC to pick up your free pass. For hours and more information visit http://www.doubleshotcoffee.com/DoubleShot.html