Coffee And I, Our Story

By mahir | January 12, 2011

Coffee Cherries

Over the last few years I have gained a renewed passion for coffee. Incidentally, a new career as well. It began when I landed in NYC just 4 years ago. Shortly after, I accepted a job at a wine bar in the West Village. It taught me almost everything I know about wine and a lil’ bit about coffee.

I was intrigued after learning how to make a proper cappuccino. I graduated from the traditional coffee ceremony to contemporary brewing methods and was smitten. It was more exciting than my brief stint in banking, in England.

By my second year in New York, I was ready to commit to this city and I looked for a way to plant roots. So, I opened my coffee shop, it was time to invest and it was easier than buying my first property here. Speaks volumes about the real estate market in our great city doesn’t it?

Thanks to the coffee shop my knowledge and respect for coffee culture rose exponentially. I was not alone, coffee love was spreading across the nation faster than a leaked Beyonce track, even faster than a viral video on YouTube.

Then one day an opportunity to start a new coffee line presented itself. Now, my life revolves around coffee; new trends, blending, cuppings, packaging, marketing, branding, training and of course blogging. I’m grateful that when I wake I am excited to start my day. It’s challenging work and I am constantly stimulated as the industry evolves. There have been three distinct “waves” that molded modern coffee culture. Here is my abbreviated version:

America’s Independence and the Boston Tea Party helped to make coffee the beverage of choice in America. In the 19th century coffee was; instant, accessible and convenient. Maxwell House and Folgers became a staple on nearly every breakfast table in the country. Creating a coffee culture independent from Europe’s espresso culture, “MaxFol” ushered in the age of  “drip brew”. This was the first wave.

The 60’s was the dawning of espresso based drinks and the $3 cappuccino! Starbucks and Pete’s amongst others, introduced Americans to all drinks sweet and frothy. These chains, love ‘em or hate ‘em, accomplished something few products have. They transcended socio-economic boundaries and by the turn of the century all races and classes were partaking in caramel machiatto’s. That was the second wave and it set the platform for the third wave.

Custom La Marzocco Espresso Machine

Today, we have access to the finest coffee; single origin, direct trade and organic. All signs of the zeitgeist. Although price points have increased reflecting the shift, few of us would argue that we take issue with consuming a better product that is; produced on a smaller scale, roasted locally, traded fairly and served by skilled baristi. When we can gage an excellent espresso- we can get excited over the great coffee shops and micro-roasteries popping up all over New York and America. Indeed, it’s happening so fast I’ve personally seen 5 coffee shops (some premium, some not) open in the last year within a five block radius of my flat.

New jobs are being created daily in my industry, they are dynamic and fast-paced. This bean is definitely stimulating the economy. And so it was written that my career be….in coffee.

Until next week, breathe well and be well!

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