Where: San Diego’s North County and beyond
Open: 24/7, 365
What: So much coffee
What I’m listening to: The Roast! West Coast Coffee Podcast
I didn’t make a coffee resolutions list for 2022. I’m sure that if I had, I would have crushed it. I drank so, so much coffee over the past year. I visited more than 50 different coffee shops and roasters, and many of those I stopped by more than once. Looking at you, Steady State and Zumbar.
I worked hard to expand my palate by tasting coffee across a wide spectrum of roasts and flavor profiles. I even started drinking more medium-dark, or even dark roasts, which the coffee snob buried deep in my hippocampus had eschewed. Not only was I drinking them, but I was also enjoying them! I credit Ascend Roasters for getting me started down that path.
Most importantly, I met a bunch of really lovely coffee people in cafes and through the Roast! West Coast coffee podcast, which I host and produce.* I learned so much about coffee this year, including how tamping impacts the flavor of an espresso and what it is like to roast and taste coffee for competition.**
Meeting people — old friends and strangers alike — over coffee is one of my favorite things. In order to inspire a better (if that is even possible) 2023 coffee experience, I’ve come up with a list of coffee resolutions to kick off the new year.
- More coffee drinks: This seems obvious. I’ll drink more coffee, but what I am referring to are the things on the menu at the coffee shop beyond batch-brewed black coffee. Those simple coffees will likely always be my favorite. I’m drinking one from Coffee Cycle Roasting right now, but the more I go beyond that to try other coffee offerings, the more I find my taste buds being rewarded. In 2023, I’ll be drinking more lattes, cappuccinos, seasonal drinks, and more. To clarify, I’m not giving up the black drips. I’ll be ordering two drinks instead of just one.
- Celebrate the producers: I’m already regularly celebrating excellent local coffee roasters for the artistry and magic they perform, turning a green coffee bean into a delicious tasting drink, but those beans had to come from a farm somewhere. I’m aware of the supply chain that brings a coffee bean from a far-off place like Vietnam, Colombia, or Ethiopia to the United States. We’ve all seen the news reports featuring container ships lined up outside the Long Beach harbor.
Yet, I’m somehow disconnected from really understanding the relationship between the local roaster and the persons who planted the coffee tree, harvested the beans, and processed them before they were bundled in burlap sacks to be shipped.
In 2023, I’ll lean on my inquisitive nature to ask more questions about the origins of the coffee I drink and learn more about the impact of direct-trade coffee.
- Drink coffee with intention: Coffee is more than just a caffeine injection facilitation beverage. Okay, sometimes it is purely a good way to jumpstart my limbs in the morning, but too often, I find myself drinking mindlessly. Despite the way we’ve treated it over the past century, coffee is a luxury. Increasing supply chain costs, coffee production consolidation, and the impacts of climate change will only amplify that claim. In 2023, at least sometimes, I’ll turn the phone over, close the laptop, and enjoy my coffee with all of my senses. I do mean all five. I’ll get hearing in there somehow.
- Experience coffee outside the cup: Coffee products have proliferated widely. What other ways can I experience coffee without drinking it? I’m going to find out. I’ll try coffee-infused soap. I’ll eat a coffee whiskey cake made with First Light Coffee Whiskey or coffee flour. Did you know that coffee grounds are being recycled into furniture? I didn’t. I wonder if it is any good. I’m going to find out.
One year from now, I’ll look back, hopefully with a smile, and review the path my coffee journey has traversed. Beyond the coffee, my biggest hope is that the trails are populated with coffee friends — new and old — maybe even you. I encourage you to take a moment with your next cup of coffee to think about what you’re getting out of the coffee experience each day. How can you make it better in 2023?***
*Please check the podcast out! Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or even better, subscribe to the newsletter at www.roastwestcoast.com. Thanks for always tipping your baristas and following @RoastWestCoast on Instagram.
***Do you have a coffee shop, coffee roaster, and or coffee experience recommendations for me? Send them to [email protected].