Before coffee is brewed and ground, before it is roasted, sold, or traded, and before it’s processed and picked, it must first be grown. Coffee, like most commodities, is a plant. At one time it was wild, and now it’s cultivated. In previous episodes I’ve covered the history of coffee, showing that individual people were key to coffee’s spread through Africa to Europe and eventually to the Americas. The historical narrative of coffee from the time of African legends to the time of Starbucks may seem like a relatively straight trajectory, but it’s actually not. There were people ahead of their time who saw coffee for being more than simply a way to get a caffeine buzz. There were people who jumped history and made a name for themselves in coffee long before Dunkin Donuts graced the city streets of the East.
In this episode I talk about coffee production. The episode is divided in two sections. In the first section, I use the story of early specialty coffee pioneers as a lens through which to view the importance of production. In the second section I discuss coffee production, and how a bean gets from the soil to your cup.