For me, it was 1986, working at an espresso cart using SBC (aka Seattle’s Best Coffee). Everyone in the coffee business seemed to be “proudly serving SBC” coffee. Yes, the red umbrellas were there too. Jim Stewart was the then-Founder, and from my view he was chasing this other coffee company … Star …. something. The coffee was amazing to me, and pulling shots from a two group “manual” espresso machine was nothing short of pure coffee nectar.
Today, while I miss the manual machine, both coffee and machines have become very fine tuned to balance the requirements of the coffee itself with the needs of the individual customer. I remember my first pour over (we called it Melitta then, and now it has evolved to just plain “pour over”), and I can assure you nothing is plain about it at all. Whether brewed by this or various other methods, coffee has improved in so many ways.
If you were to ask me in 1986 how many coffee-growing regions there were in Guatemala, I would have never been able to answer you. Today, though, I know of 8 regions and those 8 all have a different taste. Change altitudes within those 8 regions, you have a different taste; change in the soils…well, you get the picture. Today, our green coffees arrive in grain pro-bags to ensure moisture stability and quality, and it seemed like just yesterday that all the coffees were happy to be in burlap. Now they arrive in both.
Ahh, the travels of a coffee bean, which continue to amaze and impress. I’m so happy for today’s transparency of that journey, and I’m even happier that you have allowed me to share just a simple taste. For now.