Archive of ‘cultural’ category

Coffee Drinking is a Culture

Background:

Schneider, Robert. “Coffee Culture”: Hot Coffee + Cool Spaces. The Images Publishing, 2016.

In his book, “Coffee Culture: Hot Coffee + Cool Spaces” by Robert Schneider, he describes thirty-three different interesting coffee shops located all around the United States. Each shop has a unique setting and location including historical buildings, art useless, arcades, and even an old cargo ship. Schneider discusses how “interweaving coffee with art, architecture, and historic preservation” adds a special yet diverse characteristic. The author continues to inform the reader about the evolution of coffee in “three waves”. First, coffee was used as a “fast, cheap, drink of caffeine” to help people get through the day. Second, coffee started being distributed through corporate chains with different syrups and toppings. Finally, drinking coffee became similar to drinking wine. A social interaction used to build relationships.

Fig. 1. Coffee Culture book cover; using aesthetically pleasing placement, good lighting, and coffee (all important characteristics of a good coffee shop in his book)

Coffee Culture provides background and comparison to other coffee shops and how coffee drinking has developed throughout the years as well as analyzes and interprets each coffee shop. Not only can I use this source to compare other successful coffee shops with Compass Coffee but also see the timeline of where Starbucks fits in. In addition, the book does a great job of capture the reader’s attention with interesting pictures and graphics.

 

Argument:

Tucker, Catherine M. “Coffee Culture”: Local Experiences, Global Connections. Routledge, 2017.

In “Coffee Culture: Local Experiences, Global Connections” by Catherine M. Tucker, discusses how drinking coffee is the last and “final step” in connecting us to the farmers in nations around the world who produce it. Even in her title she suggests how our “local experiences” with coffee creates “global connections”. She further describes how coffee ties together the global economic system that is till evolving. Indeed, coffee is produced by some of the world’s poorest countries but these countries also happen to be the most biodiverse and endangered habitats in the world. For a while, coffee production has coexisted with forest but because the market favors “sun-grown coffee”, the forests have to be cleared and farmers need to use toxic agrochemicals. According to Tucker, coffee production is becoming one of the world’s most barring problems. She even compares them with social inequality along with environmental degradation.

Fig. 2. Coffee Culture book cover; the hands with the beans and green cover – represents the cohesive relationship the author ideally wants us to have with the environment

Tucker’s research offers a background on coffee production that most people would never have considered. The rest of my articles talk about the “up and coming” coffee industry and methods of marketing new products to customers. However, I never thought, to think of what potential negative effect this could have on our environment. This article provides a counter argument to coffee production and offers a more environmentally conscious way to produce coffee.

 

Compass Coffee in the Media

Method:

Ravindranath, Mohana. “At Compass Coffee, data is the secret ingredient”.The Washington Post. 28 December 2014

In her article, “At Compass Coffee, data is the secret ingredient” Mohana Ravindranath discusses how Compass uses technology to make their coffee more consistent and the best flavor. Basically, the computer attached to the roaster has a built-in digital thermometer and it automatically transmits the data points from each roast. It records things such as, temperature changes and moisture levels and sends them to an open-source software called Artisan.

Fig 1. The roast description and ingredients that went into the particular coffee blend. Putting all the unique characteristics on the coffee bag helps add another element that can help distinguish Compass from other shops.

When the brew is ready, there is a three-member team who tastes it. If they don’t like the flavor they use the computer to adjust a single variable and try again. Ever batch gets a “roast profile” that is saved on their computer which makes recreating a batch easier.

This article will be helpful in further describing unique and innovative characteristics of Compass Coffee. Furthermore, Compass Coffee used to be an old laundromat in Shaw. Knowing the history of the coffee shop will help me understand it’s relation to the surrounding community.  Not only does the article provide background but offers yet another unique characteristic of Compass Coffee.

Exhibit:

Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez. “The Marine’s Secret Weapon: Coffee.” The New York Times, 16 Aug. 2013.

In their article, “The Marine’s Secret Weapon: Coffee”, Micael Haft and Harrison Suarez make a very interesting claim. They say, “America’s taste for coffee is inextricably linked to the history of its military”. Haft and Suarez, both military veterans give their first-hand perspective on the history of coffee in the military and how vital coffee actually is.  In fact, they offer quotes from “in the field”, of Marines trading their snacks for coffee. Haft and Suarez started by writing about marines and the complex emotions thought their time fighting and came to the conclusion to tie all of their interests together. Coffee, marines, photography, travel, community, as well as many others, and create Compass Coffee.

Fig. 2. Compass Coffee owners; open stance, inviting smiles, light colored shirts, the “GOOD” in all caps on the wall – all elements that create a welcoming and inviting environment

I will be able to use this article to discuss how Compass Coffee started and explain the importance associated with this shop. Having a first person point of view from their time in the military and their love for coffee helps readers understand and appreciate their military journey. Also, being able to see the founders’ thoughts are very interesting and an element that isn’t seen with big chain coffee shops like Starbucks. I can use this article when talking about the unique features associated with Compass Coffee.

3-in-1

This is Grace Street Coffee, South Block Juice Co., and SUNdeVICH. Otherwise known as 3210 Grace Street NW Suite #106A in Georgetown. Originally it was built as a contemporary condo in 1986, but the owners transformed the condo into a 3-part cafe.Upon entry you are greeted with a barista who takes only drink orders -this part is the coffee shop. Down the hall and on the left is a place that sells juice and fruit bowls, this is South Block Juice Co. Down the ramp even further is a sandwich shop called, SundeVICH. All ingredients come from locally grown farmers and agriculturalists. There is seating throughout. People generally will grab a coffee from the first place and a snack/meal from one of the other two