by: Migs Mosuela
Illustration by: LDR
Coffee is, I would say, the drink that most of us would have in our hands whenever we’re working, studying, having a friendly conversation, or just warming up on a chilly evening. Quite literally, it’s been there in our small and big moments.
But a regular cup of coffee is more than regular. This article is being written in hopes that you can see that there is more to the cup of caffeine-packed beverage you hold in your hands every morning.
And no, I’m not talking about the instant coffee in those cute little packets. Not that I am against it or anything, those are good as well but I’m talking about the process and cultivation of coffee here.
There’s a need for a narrative for each of your habitual drinks, and we’re here to fix that.
Here’s the number one question that everyone asks: why coffee?
Some would answer that they need that specific “caffeine kick” that only coffee offers. Others would argue that they drink because it’s culturally ingrained in them… or it may just be habit. Serious connoisseurs would exclaim that it’s a tasty drink with complex flavors. All could ring true for you. Maybe not so much.
A book by James Hoffman encapsulates a point that I’d like to make in this article: “Coffee is entwined with both the economic and cultural histories of so many countries yet very few coffee drinkers have, in the past, to see what is underneath.”
All I want to say is that there is more than meets the eye in your cup of joe. There’s a story it tells, and it is way past regular. There’s an extraordinary process behind it.
More than that, since its discovery, we have not stopped pushing for bringing out the best in the beans. Hence, the different methods of making coffee… but we’re not here to talk about it this time.
Let’s talk about farmers.
Now, some of you may be asking: why do we need to talk about farmers? Well, we’re doing it for two reasons: first, Farmers have a major role in cultivating coffee, and second, they’re the reason why there’s quality coffee visible in the market.
Farmers of different places cultivate all kinds of coffee – complete with all shapes, sizes and sorts. They take care of the plants until they produce coffee fruits to be picked. Yes, you read that right: coffee fruits. They’re not grown as beans, but fruits. In fact, farmers call them “coffee cherries.”
When they’re ready for picking, they collect it and put it in various processing methods: either they dry it out or they wash the beans and eventually dry them. Both brings out different results, depending on the kind of coffee they’re going to process. Then, the farmers pack the milled beans (now referred to as green beans) and export it to the roasters, the people who turn the cherries to the coffee beans our culture are so acquainted with!
Now, people from the roaster – “cuppers”, as we would call them – would want to test the consistency and quality of the beans sent out to them, so they roast the beans in a small roasting laboratory and brew it in carefully-controlled temperatures. The cuppers would then proceed to nose it – sniffing the aroma that the coffee gives offer a good sign whether the beans are good or not. After that, they’ll proceed tasting the coffee. Then they do it again to ensure its quality. Cuppers would do this daily to every batch of cherries that come their way.
After that, they put the green beans in a roasting machine to turn them brown – constantly moving to keep them from burning and to release the caffeol inside – the oil inside the beans that give us its aroma and flavor. After that, they ship it to the cafes that will grind the beans and turn it into precious, delicious coffee.
So you may be wondering: why’d you tell me all this?
Because that’s the story.
Because for a measly sum of money, you get to experience a farmer’s patience, a roaster’s dedication, and the barista’s love for making coffee. If you ask me, that’s a little bit too much for a LOT of hard work put into it!
But they do it because they love it.
They do it because these individuals like the way the cup of coffee they made light up your face! Yes, even the roasters and the farmers appreciate it even if they don’t see it. That’s because their hard work assures that simple joy you feel for that simple cup of yours.
And, believe it or not, the coffee scene involves you, too. You are a part of this big, joyous scene.
So think about this story whenever you look at your cup. Your appreciation for it is their cup of coffee.