Why I started roasting coffee

Coffee has always been apart of my life since high school. And like most Americans back in the early 2000’s it wasn’t good coffee. Besides, I was much more concerned about it tasting like cake anyway. It wasn’t until college where I just didn’t want to buy any more creamer and sugar that I started to drink coffee black. So thanks to low pocket money or pure laziness, I discovered that I didn’t have to put all that stuff in coffee to still enjoy it.

In fact, I do remember feeling a sense of pride in knowing that I was “taking it black now”. Albeit, the coffee was still probably something like Foldgers, already ground and sitting on the shelf of Target for who knows how long.

I’ll take it BLK.

The BLKcity coffee motto.

Sometime between finishing college and becoming a wedding photographer with my husband this 3rd wave of coffee hit America. Places like Starbucks and Coffee Bean were already seen as “premium coffee,” along with premium amounts of sugar in their drinks. If you order their coffee black, it’s just really dark, really overdone coffee. That was seen as the 2nd wave of coffee which boasted commercial success of getting the masses to drink these $4-6 drinks everyday and basically get them addicted to the sugar. I think to hold up against all that sugar, their coffee had to be consistent, usually a blend, economical for them to produce and roasted to a darker level to have for their thousands of stores worldwide.

Respect.

No really, I don’t personally like the flavor of most anything at Starbucks, but I do respect their business model.

So if Starbucks is 2nd wave, what is this 3rd wave? Well since there isn’t a total consensus on much in the coffee industry; but I see it as this general interest in understanding and appreciating where coffee comes from, how much farmers are getting paid for their product, a shallow-medum understanding about the origin of coffee and may or may not include places like Philz Coffee, where they make what I like to call, coffee cocktails (no alcohol…yet). So seeing coffee bags being marketed with things like “Costa Rica”, and Fair Trade are available at your grocery store. If you’re really concerned about your beans, you’ll know to look for the roast date. And you’ll make sure that roast date is within 4-14 days of when you’re actually going to brew and drink it. But now places like Intelligencia and Portola are the cool and hip place for “real coffee” drinkers. It is the cool club.

3rd wave coffee also is specialty coffee, where a coffee roaster took the time, theory and understanding of that bean and where it comes from to develop a flavor that highlights the best of that particular region and bean type. For example, sourcing raw coffee from Costa Rica, from a high quality farmer who picked it at perfect ripeness and then roasted it over a period of time to bring out sweetness, something bright and fruity, let it rest and then ground it in a grinder that doesn’t destroy the bean, and brewed with the appropriate method and served it to someone about to start their day.

That, and in so many more chained events is what I love about coffee. Getting interested in coffee has so many facets for me, but I think besides all the fluff that can surround coffee, is that I simply love it. I love that I travels from so far to be in this cup that I have beside me as I write this first blog post. If it didn’t have adverse side-effects; I’d drink it like water. (I used to do that, it was not good)

I love that there’s so much to learn about it; and it seems like the learning never stops. That’s exciting for me. For a while, I settled with the idea of loving coffee, but not giving myself enough time to really dive into my passions. Like most people we sometimes put aside our passions for the task we must do right now. With the work we put into our first business, I think we can really give a solid effort to learn and grow at our pace and not feel rushed or overwhelmed. We can have fun with this and focus on what I really want to produce. That is light roasted coffees with nuances in flavor that you start your day with. I’ve read somewhere that light roasted coffee is somewhat tricky and isn’t a walk in the park…perfect. The journey is going to be fun and challenging.

I would love for more people to understand what good coffee is, and seek out great magnificent coffees. I would love for them to love drinking these speciality coffees black! I really believe if you want to taste what you’re buying, the only way for you to do that is to drink it black. I might be preaching to the choir as I know it’s like asking someone to drink whisky neat, when all they’ve ever had is whisky in a cocktail. But I will try!

Welp, that’s why I’m roasting coffee. I think I have something to say about it and I’m very passionate about helping others enjoy coffee more. Sometimes in life we make assumptions about new experiences because it’s scary. What if I don’t like it? Sure, maybe…but what if you really, really love it? Who would’ve known?

Let’s discover coffee together!

Namaste,

Meg

Meg Le Vu