What does it take to have a great cup of coffee on a regular basis?
For one, it’s about the beans. You need good, fresh beans for good, fresh coffee. They say that beans should be ground and brewed within several days of roasting. And that roasting should take place within a specific amount of time from harvest and processing. You don’t want coffee that’s made of old beans, and you don’t want beans that have been roasted far away from home. Unless you can afford the shipping costs for minimal delivery times.
It’s logical to think that anything we eat should be as fresh as possible to have the best quality. Wellness is maximized through food that is eaten close to the ground from which it sprung. And coffee grown, harvested, processed, roasted, ground, and brewed within a tiny area should be the best coffee.
Of course, not everyone would be able to have such coffee. We don’t all live in environments optimal for coffee plants. But we could be drinking coffee from places that are closer and sooner to us than they are now. So why don’t we? Because it’s not very available yet.
But that’s all changing very fast. The internet has eliminated barriers to the spread of information. It has brought information to almost everyone, everywhere. I traveled to Indonesia and Thailand recently and saw that even those who are still not connected to the web are only one or two conversations away from it. Generous people who have access to the web share critical information with those who don’t.
Seed to cup coffee shops are springing up around the world. In Chiang Mai, Graph Cafe exists to brew coffee from beans grown Doi Chang mountain, a famous coffee growing site that is divided up among several coffee shops and suppliers. Shop owners spread good cultivation practices to the farmers they work with to produce better coffee.
You can find better cold brew in Chiang Mai than in Los Angeles. Coffee shops in Bali could easily best the best in Los Angeles. After all, their beans grow within a few hours drive. Find the best roaster, the most skilled barista, and you still can’t beat locally grown beans. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t tried coffee in these places. What matters is that you know of it. The demand and the desire for better drives the rest.
So the seeds are sown. People everywhere will learn how to grow coffee. And if they live in coffee friendly climates, they can grow better coffee that can be shared with those who aren’t in such places. There may still be shipping and storing time, but it will be less than it is today. And even if we don’t live in ideal coffee growing environments, it can be done. Coffee is being grown in California.
The seed is getting ever closer to the cup. We will all be drinking coffee, and eating all kinds of food, that grew from ground within a mile and a week. If you have ever eaten a chunk of freshly grilled samgyupsal in a perilla leaf plucked a moment before from a garden ten feet away from you, you know what fresh means. And why it’s important that we are close to our food.
The value of coffee should be placed on the proximity and immediacy of the bean. Not on the shipping costs. It will make less and less sense to spend money on coffee from Sumatra when you’re drinking it in Los Angeles. Although we may not want to pay $60 a pound for Goleta coffee, we’ve seen time and again that demand can bring prices down. More and more we’ll assign quality to things that are fresh. Truly fresh, straight from the source, and meant for each and every person on earth.