Confessions of an almost 30 year old coffee guy

My wife and I are going to go camping for my 30th (on June 1st), somewhere in Humboldt County. When we got married, believe it or not, we spent out honeymoon in Portland, OR (which is what Andrew Barnett did too, and stayed in the SAME hotel we stayed in!). We loved it, it was beautiful, environmentally conscious, great food, great beer, trees, rivers, parks, roses, and COFFEE. We ended up moving there a few months after that, and decided to move back down to SF because it just felt more like home. There is a strange nostalgia though, that she (my wife) feels when she thinks of Portland. If I can get my head outside the coffee box, I feel it rather strongly too. The drive up there is beautiful. Like nothing you will ever experience again. It’s amazing, and I am looking forward to taking it again to find a 200+ year old tree and camp at it’s base with a six pack cooler, a book and my wife beside me. I’m very very excited not only to go camping, but about turning 30 in a such a beautiful spot in the country.

We are moving east. And still, we have no idea where really. It’s the first time that shit is up in the air for me, and I am not freaking out about it. I’m open to suggestions and conversations, but the reality is that I need to do some deep soul searching after my trip to Guatemala and find out what it is I really want to do with my life.

This next section is only a personal comment, my own belief for myself, not what I think of other people…you have been warned.

I cannot do retail for a paycheck much longer, being behind a bar for 6+ hours cranking drink after drink has been tough to manage for almost 6 years. Roasting is where it’s at for me, but most importantly working with coffee. My dream is to be a certified Q grader and eventually own and run my own small coffee farm in Puerto Rico (no, seriously). After my trip to Guatemala, I swear to god (my wife can attest to this) I have all of a sudden become a green thumb. I want to work as closely with coffee as possible, and I have to thank Slow Food for that trip. It completely changed my life and perspective. We owe it to the farmers to help them grow better coffee, to help them build a sustainable business structure, to be there for the tough times and the good. We owe it to them to tell them what we know of their coffee at a cupping, suggest what needs to happen to make it better, take the coffee they grew, and roast it right, and sell it right and keep giving back to them so that they can teach their kids how to grow this beautiful coffee and that somewhere in this sometimes dark world, good comes from hard work, communication and labors of love on both ends.

We should be wearing tshirts with the farmers names on it. We should be down there helping them in every way we can, because it is a two way street after all…but I get the feeling, we sorta have it WAY easier up here. I think it’s important to truly build those relationships, not just fly down, demand 88 point coffees and higher, and sit up here and wait for the coffees to arrive and make sure they are what we bought. It ain’t that simple. A few companies are doing just that, putting boots on the ground and actually TALKING to the farmers, and keeping that relationship going, by not only becoming a business partner of sorts, but developing a long lasting relationship that benefits both parties financially and emotionally too…I would even say spiritually.

whoa, I have no idea where that rant came from. I was just thinking about trees, camping, nature, getting a little bit older and all of a sudden….

sorry about that. carry on.

In other news, I spent the day with my buddy Louie and his lovely wife Becky. We hit up Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz and rode the Giant Dipper. Yeah, we’re lame. It was amazing. Good people, good coffee, good talkin’ and good ride.

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~ by Me on May 26, 2008.

9 Responses to “Confessions of an almost 30 year old coffee guy”

  1. preach on brother.

    happy camping, happy birthday, and no fear. I have no doubt you’ll find your path.

  2. YES.

  3. Feelin’ that… All of that… Happy birthday, man.

  4. Thanks BenK.

  5. Sounds Cheesy, but follow your heart! And Happy Birthday.

  6. right on gabe!

  7. Feliz Cumpleaños. Sorry we missed you last week. Shirts with farmers names on them. I like it….. and no 2 shirts alike.
    see you soon.

  8. Hey Homie, happy birthday!

    Keep on ranting, I am 100% in agreement with you! Hope you can make it to the JavaJ party.

  9. Hey Gabe, I’m only just catching up to this post. You’ve got some good stuff on this site and just like in real life, you speak from the heart. Rock on, homeboy. It was nice chatting with you about this sort of stuff after you got back from your trip. Yeah, there was a look in your eye. A look of clarity.

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