It’s International Coffee day!
So this seems as good a day as any to announce that I am almost definitely considering getting this blog as a regular occurrence again. This post is just a re-introduction, a quiet ‘hello’ from the silent void.
The thing is, ideas for these blogs come thick and fast- but eventually very few seem to be anywhere close to meaningful/useful for whoever might chance upon it. This might be procrastination but too much Caffeine has this effect:
“..Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination's orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink—for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water[.] ” - Joseph Smith (chap that invented Mormonism.) *
When memories and ideas bowl in on this caffeine cavalry the brain has very little chance to make any permanent record. The ideas ebb away in the outgoing tide leaving dwindling cognitive reserves and an edgy feeling in the rib cage. I’ve crossed the water though, been on a little holiday, and so have avoided caffeine for over a week. The first 3 days were like reading the twitter feed of a minor celebrity with all the words reversed. Everyday occurrences seem a demoralising reminder of the trivial nature of human existence. And your head hurts. But then you get better.
Since the last blog a year ago we’ve been getting on with the business of building a new cafe, polishing up the old one (with power tools), training new staff, getting to grips with new brewing information, new machines, new grinders, rebuilding the website & a little bit of re-branding. A lot has happened since the last entry on here. But what are we doing to celebrate International Coffee Day?
Well, not a lot. To be honest, I’m ashamed to say I didn't really see it coming. Then again I’m not sure its taken off fully in the Uk. In fact according to internationalcoffeeday.org there’s only 7 recognised events organised for our small island of tea-drinkers. (4 of which are in central London if you’re in the area.)
So we’ll be doing what we do everyday, pulling espresso and brewing up some filters to the best of our ability. Every day is coffee day for us and, I suspect, every other coffee lover. When we’re not drinking it, we’re thinking about it.
But that isn’t an attempt to belittle the importance of what might seem like another invented ‘holiday’ to market things and push promotions.The real aim of international coffee day is to prompt us, to get us thinking about coffee in a way that goes beyond ‘black or milky?’ or ‘did I brew this badly?’ Its for raising the awareness of fairer-trade and the search for quality, for reminding ourselves of the levels of work that go into maintaining this supply chain of luxury which we take for granted, but actually isn't as secure as we might think. If we were to ignore the problems that farmers face or the dangers of a crop with an incredibly small gene-pool, or the snowballing rate at which the climate is changing then very soon we wont have any coffee.
Just imagine if half the population of the world is suffering from coffee-withdrawal at the same time.
So ICD 2015 doesn’t just concern those deep in the speciality industry, Its a day to lift the edge of the curtain and beckon others into the vast backstage of the coffee industry. Perhaps just one person today will spend an extra minute thinking about their cup, who grew it and where, and how, and what does a coffee tree look like maybe i’ll google it oh its more like a bush though this one is tree-like what is even the difference between a tree and a bush and… The caffeine cavalry bowls in and their idea of coffee will be imperceptibly but indelibly marked with a new grain of thought. If that happens then international coffee day will have succeeded.
Peter Giuliano (veritable coffee hero) has written on this with considerably more purpose and knowledge on his blog which I thoroughly recommend: Pax Coffea
And for the curious people with free time, here’s a fascinating 24 mins of neuro-science on why what you’re tasting probably isn't actually what you’re tasting, from Charles Spence at last year’s Re:Coffee Symposium. (Yes, there is a Coffee Symposium.)
Plenty of other things going on too for the less coffee-centric: Thursday Night’s Jazz session is now bolstered by the appearance of The Wandering Yak, serving up some banging middle-eastern style street food & Gwydir St. Local Sam Motherwell is soon to be exhibiting some prints based on drawings he made at said Jazz sessions- which we’re very exited to have the walls for a couple of months! Also Locals are the two filmmakers who will be screening their short films ahead of the feature at our next Monthly film night (Oct 5th)
But to keep up to date with it all we’re on Instagram now, you can follow us on twitter, Facebook or just pick up one of the What’s On flyers dotted around our shops. In the meantime I’ll be reading up on water chemistry (courtesy of Maxwell & Chris hendon) , playing with some brew methods and plotting the next blogs.
*Joseph smith quote lifted from Sadie Stein’s recent Paris Review entry: Java Jive http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2014/09/29/java-jive/
(Words/opinions are from Shaun & not necessarily representative of Hot Numbers Coffee Ltd.)