Coffee has long been an obsession for me. As early as 1980 I began a journey to improve my morning jump-start with whatever steps I could take to make it better. During this search I walked into a doorway from which the enticing aroma of freshly roasted coffee poured out into the street. It was a little shop owned by two guys and in the corner sat a large imposing machine that was a coffee roaster and they were selling bags of beans they had roasted there in the store. This had to be a step in the right direction. I bought their coffee then and continued to be a loyal customer and friend through the ensuing decades. At first I brewed it with a Melita cone and filter system and I ground it with a funky hand grinder that clamped onto the counter. That was already a step in the right direction, my coffee was immediately better and I enjoyed the whole process. Convenience gave way to taste.
I sampled coffees from different parts of the world, different roast styles, tried different brewing devices, bought a better grinder and kept tweaking my coffee, trying to find ways to consistently brew as good a cup of coffee as possible day after day, year after year. I found that there were local roasters with similar offerings around the country and tried a number of other roasters but I generally try to buy local and I like supporting a “mom and pop” business when I can.
Over time my taste in coffee shifted towards stronger full bodied coffee. A friend introduced me to the joys of brewing French press coffee which I enjoyed for several years but grew frustrated by my inability to control the brewing variables more closely. I experimented with a moka pot and an Aeropress and eventually settled on the moka pot as my own day to day brewing method though I love using the Aeropress as well.
The specialty coffee revolution or advent of third wave coffee offerings changed everything. Below is a sampling of some of the most recent roasters and coffees I’ve purchased from roasters across the US. I typically order coffee every 10 days or so and though I have my favorite roasters I like to try new ones regularly.