I approach coffee in a way most haven’t yet realized is possible: with excitement and eagerness. With eyes opened to a whole world of flavors, brewing methods, and people, how could I not be excited? The thrill of trying a new coffee (currently drinking a Geisha from Oak Cliff Roasters), a new way, with new people hasn’t left me yet, and I don’t think it ever will. Nor does it have any reason to.
Why should I allow that excitement to dissipate? Because I’ve tried it all? Because it’s just the same old same old? Those are terrible reasons. Life is freaking awesome, with so much to learn, so many people to meet. There’s always more to experience, more to appreciate, more to explore.
I’ve been learning to apply this perspective to all facets of my life. There are many obstacles, such as negativity, tiredness, and complacency, but I’m determined to push through those barriers and enjoy the life I have been given. Coffee has been one of the key ways I’ve learned to do this.
Here are some of my latest experiments and explorations in coffee.
My very loving parents bought me a siphon for Christmas. A siphon! It’s beautiful. Two years ago I never would have dreamed that I’d own a coffee brewing device that looks like it belongs on a lab. So cool. Not only is it nice to the eyes, the tongue appreciates it as well. Seriously, that thing produces coffee that blows people’s minds.
Experimenting with the siphon has enabled me to realize my complete lack on knowledge of physics, but it’s amazingly also causing me to become interested in it. In high school I hated physics. Now I am intrigued by it. All because of coffee.
Now brewing with the siphon isn’t the quickest method, it’s fairly high maintenance, and it isn’t an inexpensive device. I don’t recommend it to everyone for those two reasons. But if one of your modes of exploration in life is through specialty coffee, I must recommend getting one. Not because you want to be a snob or an elitist. That’s never a good motivation. But because the world is beautiful and because you want to explore it.
I once saw a video of people cupping and thought, “What? This is dumb. Coffee is coffee is coffee.” I was so wrong. Little did I understand, that the bowls, spoons, and slurps all play an important role in the specialty coffee industry. It took me a while to accept this practice as legitimate, but when I did, it allowed my progression into the world of specialty coffee to accelerate dramatically.
Just a couple months ago I performed my own coffee cupping with a few friends. It didn’t exactly turn out how I wanted it to, but I was inspired to try again, and to keep growing. Realizing that cupping is a current weakness of mine has challenged me to press on, to continue adventuring into the unknown. I want to be able to taste coffees and pick out specific flavors. I want to be able to appreciate coffee that way.
Not because I want to be a snob or an elitist. That’s never a good motivation. I want to do these things because the world is beautiful and because I want to explore it.
Roasting coffee is very new to me. I’ve only tried two 3oz batches so far, and they didn’t turn out too bad. My eyes have once again been opened up to a plethora of new knowledge to discover and moments to experience.
People sometimes ask why I want to roast my own beans if I can just buy them at a shop. My answer is always the same: I want to experience the art of roasting myself. I want to smell the aromas of caramelizing sugar in coffee beans. I want click the on and off switch on the popcorn roaster.
But I don’t want to do any of that to be a snob or an elitist. That’s never a good motivation. I want to do these things because the world is beautiful and because I want to explore it.
Don’t Stop, Never Stop
I don’t know why we allow ourselves to stop playing. With all the tools and opportunities this world offers us, why would we ever choose to stop having fun with what we do? Whether it be with coffee, music, teaching, building, running, programming or photographing, I pray that we never lose our sense of play.
For me, that play is exploring the specialty coffee industry. How do you play?