As I write this, I just finally for the first time brewed properly a great Aeropress. I’ve still got some things to work out in my process – I think my grinds a bit too coarse, but that is ok. The experience of exploring the Aeropress and trying out different processes and methods for achieving the flavor I want is part of the enjoyment for me.
I didn’t used to be a coffee drinker – in fact I used to be adamantly anti-coffee – so it may seem odd that I went on to publish a magazine called Coffee Lovers Magazine (exclusive to the iPad). In fact all through college I don’t think I consumed a single drop – and before that I think all I had experienced was some breakfast drip coffee and was put off by the bitterness. I also recall not liking the stigma around ‘being addicted to coffee.’ No I was a fancy tea drinker (though not that fancy to be honest) – but I think the experience is similar.
When I got into coffee it had absolutely nothing to do with the coffee itself – it was all about the escape from my 9-5. My friends and I at work got so into the enjoyment of the ‘coffee break’ that there were days when we would come in at 9 am and immediately take off to the local Starbucks for ‘a break.’ It was far less about the actual drink and more the enjoyment of the process with a friend. In fact when visiting other cafes I would always have no idea what I wanted – the experience usually went like this: Walk in, stare at the sign, barista says “what would you like?” and my mind goes blank. “Uh…Coffee?” The problem is that I wasn’t actually looking for ‘coffee,’ I was searching for an experience.
Last year as I was developing a business around marketing and web development for small businesses I found myself working closely with cafes. In the process of trying to answer the question ‘what is going on in the customers mind?’ I met a barista who was so extraordinarily passionate about coffee that when I went in as typical, and he asked “what would you like” my answer of “I honestly have no idea” prompted him to go into extreme detail on each of their coffees, brew methods, and how even the slightest change of the grind or water temperature or pressure can have an enormous impact on the flavor. He walked me through espresso and in exploring the different flavors everything fell into place and I realized that the love of Coffee isn’t about Coffee – it’s about the experience of Coffee.
In fact this applies for anything that we seek – if you delve into your desires, you will realize that when you purchase something you are never actually buying the thing, you are buying an experience (often a solution to a problem, which ultimately leads to the experience of not having the problem) – this is a whole separate topic though.
Having come to this realization I set upon myself the task of sharing and communicating experience – particularly the experience of coffee. Coffee happens to be a supreme example of an experience due to it’s complexity. Starbucks does so well on a massive scale because they have created a business out of a unified experience – you always know what to expect when you order from Starbucks. If you chose to explore the world of ‘speciality coffee’ though – that is if you explore those unique independent coffee shops who either roast their own coffee or buy from small high end roasters – then you will find that each experience you have is unique, and incredibly rich. I know that since embarking on this journey of discovering and sharing experience, I have yet to have two cups of coffee that are the same.
Coffee Lovers Magazine
My interest in sharing these revelations, exploring the world of coffee, and bringing more people into the possibility of what coffee can be lead me to the idea of producing a digital publication. This past December I’m proud to say that I launched Coffee Lovers Magazine – which is available exclusively on the iPad – and which endeavors to share the love and experience of coffee, opening the world of coffee experience to those seeking it’s many wonders.
I had discovered that while there is a huge world of people who love coffee, many of those people have not experienced the full breadth of what coffee can be. I know because I was there at one point (I still have a massive world to explore before me) – and most people I know who love coffee are there now. I thoroughly enjoy introducing my friends and family to all the experiences that can be had.
My realization that coffee is not about the drink, but about the experience, lead me to the understanding that this experience can be had in many different forms. After all, I’m sure some of you have delightfully hilarious coffee related t-shirts, or ridiculous coffee mugs (I have a Grumpy coffee mug from Disney World which emphatically states ‘I HATE Mornings!) – things which often have no direct relation to or effect on the drink you are having, but which enhance the experience (and in their own way, they are an experience).
In addition to being an experience of coffee unto itself, Coffee Lovers Magazine has provided me a platform to help bring to light the so often hidden side of coffee – that is the entire process that is involved in bringing the coffee from the plant all the way to your cup. I have had the extreme privilege of having Tim Wendelboe contribute to the early issues of the magazine – as Tim is very much engaged in making his processes transparent, it has become clear to me that his knowledge is critical for understanding where our experience ultimately comes from. Jason here at Coffee Cup News has also been a very welcome contributor to the magazine, especially as he represents a bridge to so many people passionate about the coffee experience.
As consumers, we have the ability to make choices about which coffee we buy, and ultimately that means it is up to us to determine how coffee gets into our mug – and how the people responsible for so much of that process are treated. Price is often a point of contention when it comes to coffee in cafes, and when you view the whole chain, you begin to realize that coffee is incredibly cheap (too cheap) for the process that it goes through. I believe it is important to bring this knowledge to light and share it with as many people as possible.
Ultimately, the magazine represents an ongoing point of community development. The nature of digital publication on the iPad means that I have the ability to bring many people involved in the coffee community together in a way that the traditional web may struggle. The coffee community is huge, yet is all bound around a shared experience – so it is my hope that through the magazine I can be a point of connection in that experience and help promote the better parts of our community as we move forward.
If you are interested in Coffee Lovers Magazine, it is available on the iPad exclusively and can be found at http://www.coffeeloversmag.com/theMagazine – if you have not subscribed, you can get the current issue for free through a trial of the subscription.
last photo credit: CIDSE