Sunday, December 28, 2014

Carrion Coffee

Every once in a while, I am asked whether fair-trade, organic coffee is as good as regular coffee. "No," I reply, "It is better. If you treat the soil and the farmers better, the coffee is better."

My interest in coffee began about 15 years ago, with a focus first on the farmers and then on the environment of coffeelands. It was about 10 years ago that I began to care about the beverage itself, and soon figured out that terrible coffee in the cup is a form of karma. Bad coffee comes from bad coffee systems.

It was around this time that we realized the sinister role that cream and sugar had played in making bad coffee palatable for generations of drinkers who were focused strictly on getting caffeine into their systems. We then also realized that a study in which we participated in 1989 had been specifically aimed at making the world safe for bad coffee. It is easier to mask bad coffee with flavors than to work on improving the conditions of coffee production.

All of this was brought to mind when I saw the latest Rhymes with Orange comic by Hilary Price. Coffee shops or roasters that emphasize flavors are probably trafficking in something close to Carion Coffee.

Rhymes with Orange, Dec. 27, 2014

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