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Doing Good and Making Change

a publicatioN of the specialty coffee associatioN of america 2011 issue No. 4

a publicatioN of the specialty coffee associatioN of america

2011 issue No. 4

4 What can specialty coffee


accomplish?
Peter Giuliano The specialty coffee industry has a long history of taking on social issues and creating change. Peter Giuliano explores what still needs to be done, and asks if specialty coffee has the drive and the wherewithal to accomplish even more. Ric Rhinehart At Google, it began with, Dont be evil. In the medical community, the motto is First, do no harm. If we make a parallel to the coffee world, the idea of not doing bad is a fine place to start. But is a passive stance enough?

14 finding a connection

Tim Castle Coffee is, at its heart, about community. And one important element of community is giving back. Tim Castle provides suggestions for supporting charitable organizations in a way thats cost-effective and resultsdriven while still focused on the community and the people within it.

feature s

7 the case for active Goodness

18 i Want coffee, Not coffee

or: how i learned to appreciate cream and sugar again.

10 the changing role of


certifications
Tracy Ging Over the past few years certifications have become a hot topic for discussion, one that often centers around the impact that models such as Fair Trade are having. Here, Tracy Ging encourages us to shift our investigation from its current focus to a broader, more comprehensive contemplation.

Nicholas Cho Pitting coffee against coffee seems a little like Spy vs. Spy. Arent they the same? Not to consumersone is black, boutique and a bit snobby while the other is cream, sugar and flavoring. Do they both have a place in specialty coffee? Nicholas Cho argues that they do.

22 caff breve. We ask. You answer.

Fill in the blank: If I could have a coffee break with anyone from any time, I would choose _______ and I would serve ________.

12 Does Quality ensure


sustainability?
Lily Kubota The quality equals sustainability equation is one thats long-standing in the industry. But is it accurate? And if not, what elements are missing? Lily Kubota tackles the possible misconceptions and offers additional factors in the quality/ sustainability calculation.

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in the next issue briGht spots whats working now or has potential.
Executive Director Ric Rhinehart ricr@scaa.org Executive Editor Tracy Ging tging@scaa.org Managing Editor Shanna Germain shanna.germain@gmail.com Art Director Tiffany Howard tiffany@tiffolio.com

Contributors:
Tim Castle Nicholas Cho Tracy Ging Peter Giuliano Lily Kubota Ric Rhinehart

2010/2011 BOARD OF DIRECTORS President, Tim OConnor 1st Vice President, Max Quirin 2nd Vice President, Paul Thornton Secretary/Treasurer, Shawn Hamilton Directors: Marty Curtis, Nathalie Gabbay, Al Liu, Dr. Timothy Schilling, Andi Trindle, Willem Boot, Skip Finley, Heather Perry Immediate Past President: Peter Giuliano

SCAA 330 Golden Shore, Suite 50 Long Beach, CA 90802 TEL: (562) 624-4100 FAX: (562) 624-4101 www.scaa.org
The Specialty Coffee Chronicle is published six times a year by the Specialty Coffee Association of America as a forum for discussion and information on industry-related topics and issues. The Chronicle welcomes and will consider for publication articles, columns or firsthand accounts of life in the specialty coffee industry from SCAA members. Opinions expressed in articles and letters do not necessarily represent the position of the SCAA, its members or directors.

The Chronicle is printed on 100% recycled paper containing 30% postconsumer waste.

Copyright 2011 Specialty Coffee Chronicle. All Rights Reserved.

2 The Specialty Coffee Chronicle

Photos featured on TOC: Courtesy of Timothy Hill, Counter Culture Coffee On the Cover: An illustration by Damon Brown, The InkLab.

Just In! Jamaica Blue Mountain RSW Estates


The Specialty Coffee Chronicle 3

WAnT Coffee,

not Coffee
Nicholas Cho

How I learned to apprecIate cream and sugar agaIn.

18 The Specialty Coffee Chronicle

ecently, I had the privilege of producing a person on the street video segment that was shown during the 2011 SCAA Symposium. Titled simply, SCAA Symposium Street Interviews, the video showed me asking nine random people outside of the Ferry Building in San Francisco a few questions about their coffee drinking. Namely: How do you get your coffee? What does specialty coffee mean? What is a great cup of coffee to you? What makes for a bad coffee experience? What makes for a great coffee experience?

f|, noun into hot water to coffee | kf; k nd coffee beans roasted and grou of 1 the extraction coffee beans, us beverage. asted and ground become a delicio n of flavors of ro gredients to combinatio , and/or other in 2 the resulting teners, flavorings swee dairy products, verage. me a delicious be beco

What seems to be unique about this video is that it has us hearing from consumers outside of any particular coffee experience. They arent specifically our customers; theyre just random people answering some questions. To my surprise, the majority of reactions to the video were along the lines of, Wow, what a reality check! The views expressed in the video were clearly not ones a lot of coffee people were familiar with. But then again, I (along with the majority of the coffee industry) tend to hang out with a certain type of coffee person (namely, each other) or those rare customers who care about coffee as much as we do. Which brings me to James Hoffmanns presentation at the Symposium. Immediately before the Street Interviews video was shown, Hoffmann, 2007 World Barista Champion and co-owner of Square Mile Coffee Roasters, took the stage and delivered a commentary on retailing specialty coffee. James shared two main points, both of which also pertained to how we communicate with our customers.

Normally, while interacting with the consuming public (that is, the ultimate end user of the coffee chain), we coffee retailers and baristas are accustomed to seeing our customers reacting to the products, services and messages that we offer them. Even professionals who are less involved with the point-of-sale are still familiar with various categories of coffee consumer, as well as the multitude of ways coffee is available.

His first point came with a large, bold graphic on the display screens that read, EDUCATING THE CONSUMER. Taking a moment to glance at those words, James said, Every time I see or hear these words, I die a little bit inside. He continued, The problem is not that theyre not educated... theyre simply not interested! His point was that expecting customers to stop and engage us on our terms because we want to teach them about coffee is beyond unrealistic. It clearly crosses the line into arrogance, if not ignorance. His other main point began with an anecdote regarding restaurants. When we walk into an expensive restaurant, there are a set of assumptions that accompany the white tablecloths and well-spoken waitstaff; assumptions about what we can and cannot or should not ask for (i.e., ketchup for our potatoes). If you contrast that with the ubiquitous triumvirate of a counter-top cash register, espresso machine and coffee cups being served, you realize how foolish it is to assume customers who walk in to most high-end coffee shops will not want things like unlimited supplies of table sugar, or 24-ounce flavored lattes with extra whipped cream. We dont want them to put sugar in their coffee, but then we offer it to them for free, and in unlimited quantities, Hoffmann said. How is this their fault? Anyone paying close attention to our industry has seen a clear and widening disconnect between two distinct camps within the coffee world. You might call it Third Wave vs. Second Wave, purists vs. non-purists, or coffee geeks vs. coffee lovers. The point is, this polarity is such a recurring theme in so much of the media coverage, internet traffic, and industry conversations about coffee these days. How do we as an industry reconcile this culture clash?

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i WAnT Coffee, noT Coffee continued


I believe its ultimately a language problem and thus a language solution. Why? Because there are actually two distinct practical definitions of coffee.

Expecting customers to stop and coffee | kfe; kfe | noun 1. The extraction of roasted and engage us on our terms ground coffee beans into hot water to become a delicious beverage. because we want to 2. The resulting combination of flavors of roasted and ground teach them about coffee coffee beans, dairy products, sweeteners, flavorings, and/or is beyond unrealistic. It other ingredients to become a delicious beverage. clearly crosses the line Every time a potential customer appears disgusted when told that the into arrogance, if not farmers market pour-over coffee station offers no cream or sugar, a barista is annoyed that they have to make and serve ignorance. a couple dozen 20-ounce mocha-lattes coffees
for every one straight double-shot of espresso coffee, or a morning TV news team guffaws at the idea of a ten-dollar cup of coffee, the problem is that the two practical definitions of coffee are being confused. Theyre really two separate and distinct things. By way of example: I love coffee ice cream. Its definitely in my top three favorite ice cream flavors. Ive had supermarket-brand coffee ice cream, and Ive also had local artisan coffee ice creams made with all-natural ingredients and made from coffee roasted by awardwinning specialty roasters. But who would, when asking Would you like some coffee? possibly confuse it with coffee ice cream? That would be a stretch! Yet there seems to be a similar confusion all the time when it comes to coffee the beverage. As another example, compare a rare Kobe ribeye steak to a welldone hamburger. No reasonable steak aficionado would scoff at the prospect of lettuce and tomato on a burger, and no burger joint would possibly consider offering no condiments of any kind, despite the fact that both are ultimately cooked beef. Neither offends, is confused with, or encroaches on the other. Why not? Because both in language and in our culture, we understand that each has its own definition and term. We, however, are stuck with just one: coffee. Now consider a siphon-brewed cup from a special geisha micro-lot from the Boquete region of Panama consumed without any additives (read: black) with a cup of a three-region blend roasted full-city-plus with some half-and-half and three teaspoons of sugar. Consider the flavors, the mouthfeel, the level of sweetness, the aftertaste, and the aroma. Then ask yourself: is it reasonable to compare the two? Perhaps the most controversial topic in our industry is also rarely openly discussed: light roast vs. dark roast. If you listen to people on either side talk about it, youd believe they were discussing religion or politics. However, what seems to be overlooked in the discussion is that darker-roasted coffees are generally coming from a paradigm of milk-and-sugar as the default, with black coffee being the anomaly. The lighter-roasted faction is coming from the contrasting perspective. Im more of a purist/light-roast guy myself, but if Im being fair and

open-minded, a well-roasted dark roast with cream and sugar is a more enjoyable beverage to me than even the highest-quality lightroast coffee with cream and sugar. Theyre not really interchangeable. But they are interchangeable, arent they? When taking a step back to look at the coffee experience that is such an important part of our cultures, the differences mostly fade away. Morning coffee, afterdinner coffee, coffee at the office, coffee with a friend; how we engage coffee is not all that different. But as professionals, confusing the two definitions of coffee creates all too many problems when communicating with each other, and especially with our consumer base. Clearly, this is a tricky problem with no easy solution. When explaining our particular style of coffee, Ive started to describe it as coffee designed to be consumed without milk or sugar. It doesnt solve the problem, but it does seem to alleviate much of the tension by making it a relativistic, preference issue, instead of declaring our coffee as being too good for additives, arguing that it doesnt need milk or sugar. On my side of the coffee bar, I want to be focused on service, not on the (sometimes barely!) veiled disapproval of someones coffee habits. Neither the coffee purists nor the populists would, or should, want to see the other side disappear. With the plight of the coffee farmers on all of our minds, diversity in the ways people consume and enjoy coffee is good for everyone. However, what isnt good for everyone is the polarization and dissension, that has become all too common as our industry grows and develops. If were to reach our customers effectively, we need to figure out how to communicate coffee factually, accurately, and in ways that clarifies the truth, rather than promoting more confusion. In answering my open-ended questions, the people in the Street Interviews video had absolutely no trouble articulating their opinions. They were confident of their answers, and they clearly know what they want and dont want concerning coffee. A big part of my mission as a barista and coffee professional is to serve folks like that and cultivate their interest in quality coffee by building on their habits and traditions, rather than tearing them down and recreating them in my chosen image. To bring them into the fold without first forcing them out, weve got to get our stories straightand it all starts with that single, but oh-so-complex, word: coffee.
Nicholas Cho is the brewing, barista training, and retailing specialist for Wrecking Ball Coffee. Nick founded Murky Coffee in 2002, which developed to be Washington DCs premier coffeebar. Over the past few years, Nicholas served as a director on the Barista Guild of Americas Executive Council, on the SCAAs Board of Directors, and on the World Barista Championship Board of Directors. He was also the 2006 South East Regional Barista Champion.

about testing assumptions


20 The Specialty Coffee Chronicle

Shot over just a couple of hours at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and shown during the 2011 SCAA Symposium, Testing Assumptions follows Nicholas Cho as he asked random coffee drinkers a few simple questions about their coffee habits. View the video at http://bit.ly/sympvid or http://vimeo.com/22822392.

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Caff Breve We Ask. You Answer.


with from I would choose _______ and I would serve ________.

anyone

fill in the blank: If I could have a coffee break

any time,

Muhammad Ali, Redchurch from Allpress Espresso.

~Chris Ward, Blue Dot World


My grandparents when they were young, traditional Colombian coffee (Tinto). ~Juan Carlos Giraldo Zuluaga Joan of Arc, Papua New Guinea in a Chemex. ~Meg Passarell, Joe Bean Coffee Roasters Mike Phillips, Stefanos Domatiotis, Chris Loukakis and Nicely Alameda, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Tiago Coffee Bar. ~Mikhail Sebastian,

worldbarista.com

Charlie Chaplin, Joe Bean Coffee Roasters Fruto del Fuego Blend (Guatemala, Ethiopian Yergacheffe) in a Vacuum Brew. 8.

~Benjamin Woelk, Joe Bean Coffee Roasters


Jesus, Verve Sermon Espresso. ~Eric John Williams, pastor at Community Church of West Garden Grove Barack Obama, cups of Sumatra.

~Steve Hidajat, Royal Pacific Industry

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