Tag Archives: America

NPR

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In the mornings I like to listen to NPR. I drag my half-dead self out of bed (never as early as I want to, thinking foolishly that somehow I’ll have the energy to write or run before work) and stumble my way through making a Chemex. Coffee being one of the few things that has the ability to rouse me from the covers. My thoughts switching from: Who am I? What am I? Is there meaning to any of this? To: I would like some coffee. I then collect few Tupperware’s full of food from the fridge and throw it in my bag. I get in the car and turn on the radio.

Good morning. It’s 8:45. Today is Monday, October 27th. The temperature is a high of 75 with lows in the 40’s. Currently it’s 60 degrees in Salt Lake City. You’re listening to KUER. You’re listening to morning edition. You’re listening to NPR.

I like the sound, the comforting, though generally dismal topics of conversation. The radio grounds one in the present space-time continuum.

Ah, I think. It’s October. It’s Monday. I am in Salt Lake City. The weather still happens. And I’m not dead yet. It’s almost meditative. To stop the spinning in my head, the daily chores ahead of me, and the existential/theological thought experiments I torture myself with.

I drive to work and I think. How do people do it? Work more than eight hours in a day? Keep getting up and doing their jobs day in and day out? And if you do work eight hours a day, where do you get the energy for exercise, for art, for social activities?

I work a conservative fifty hours a week now. Some of that has to do with running a business. Some of it is just normal work stuff. And in America, I am the lazy one. We have many gods in America. One is work or specifically, the power and money work brings. We have other gods. Family and Sex. Which funny enough, are on the opposite sides of the spectrum.

Anyways, there’s a moment each morning when I’m sipping coffee and taking a bite out of an asiago bagel that I’m no longer thinking. I no longer worry. I am listening.

For five minutes, I just am.

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Let There Be Light!

And God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light.

Genesis 1:3

 

Every so often my coffee world and my writing world line up and I can do both at once. Here’s an article I wrote for my friends at Caputo’s about Light vs. Dark in coffee.

For many years now, dark coffee has reigned supreme in coffee shops, grocery stores, and restaurants alike. To order a large dark drip coffee is almost as American as McDonald’s or baseball itself. .

Many of us equate “dark” coffee with “strong” coffee or full bodied coffee. What we are saying when we order a dark coffee (or French Roast/Vienna Roast) is that we don’t want a watery cup of coffee. We want coffee that’ll stick hair on our chest and wake us up like a shot of cold water to the face. The truth however, is that 80% of the time dark coffee is not synonymous with “strong” coffee but with burnt coffee.

The majority of coffee roasters are not as concerned about quality as you might think. They’ll buy inferior beans or poorer quality beans to mix in with the other beans to “cut” the coffee (in drug slang.) However they can get away with it because the darker you roast coffee the more it “burns” out any flavor deficiencies and provides a consistent, albeit, smoky and dark taste. Drinking coffee should be like drinking wine or eating cheese. You should be able to tell the basic difference from a Pinot to a Cab or from a Cheddar to a Swiss. Coffee after all is a crop. A crop with a specific taste and flavor profile dependent on the region it comes from. Coffee from Hawaii should taste different than coffee from Ethiopia. Roasting coffee lighter can accomplish this.

In the past decade we’ve seen a major switch of coffee roasting companies who are sourcing higher quality beans and roasting the beans lighter so you can actually taste them. Darker coffee, while one may still prefer it, is generally burnt. There can be such a thing as a “dark” roast that is not burnt, but it will not be as nearly ashy and flat tasting as one might be used to. For many years light roast coffee has been equated to “weak” or “watery” coffee, while in fact light roasted coffee has a considerably higher amount of caffeine than dark roasted beans. Light or medium roast coffee is not weak coffee, but rather roasted so that the true flavor and terroir of the coffee can come out.

In reality the terms “light” and “dark” are not accurate measures for how we should be describing coffee. For anyone interested in learning more about coffee and trying “specialty” coffee, you’ll find that factors such as region, country and processing provide a better measurement of what coffee will and can taste like. 

It’s not bad to be a fan of a darker roast, but once you get a taste of what really good coffee can be, it’s hard to go back. Like any other specialty food item, coffee is nuanced and for us in the coffee world this is what makes coffee great—the ability to taste differences from bean to bean and region to region—and it’s hard to get that from low quality beans roasted dark.

             

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