Tuesday, February 27, 2007

can defecting be apolitical?

i'm in one of those weird temporal places just now. i don't know about you, but when i experience a very unusual thing like my trip to guatemala, it's sometimes hard for me to talk about it. i don't know why. maybe it stems from the fact that there's no way to adequately capture (or recapture) what i saw, smelled, heard, said, ate, touched, felt, etc. to try just makes me feel dumb and a little awkward. so, sorry for those of you who have been asking for updates. descriptors like "amazing" and "incredible" are so vapid and overused anyway.

also, i think i've come to a place where i've kind of decided to blog much less. the only reason for that would be that i spend too much time in front of a computer and not enough time living life that way. because i tend to put too much time and effort into my blog posts, rather than the quickfire posts so many other bloggers seem to be able to get away with successfully, i can justify my time spent on it less and less. i'm not going away. just maybe you'll see me much less around here. but we'll see.

anyways, i wanted to toss out an idea into the ether because it's been on my mind a lot lately and rather than chew it over with just me i figured i'd let the three of you who actually read this blog begin to discuss.

the idea is whether there is any such thing as completely defect free coffee? i ask this honestly without a solid opinion. knowing the little i know about growing, harvesting, processing and storing (and even roasting, since i, as a roaster, would categorize an improper roast as a defect of sorts) and what it takes and costs to eliminate defects such as sours, quakers, pest evidence, splitters and the like, and further knowing that even giving a lot one or two or maybe even three passes through the sorting equipment, you'll never be able to get them all out. i like jaime's offhanded comment about ordering the sorting monkeys to get to work de-defecting some greens. i like it because that's exactly what your brain would devolve to--the level of a monkey--if you had to sort defects 24/7. honestly, i don't know how those ladies at the conveyor belts at the mills do it without going postal after about four hours.

so given that, can we ever expect completely defect free coffee? even the coe lots are surely not 100% defect free. harking back to a post i did maybe a year ago about the harrar defect and defectless (or defect-LESS) cupping, i know i could've continued that experiments with even more and more and more sorting (although with the harrar there might be very little, if any, left!).

is there a market for it? is it just too ridiculously cost prohibitive to do? is it even desirable taste wise? could a roaster, for example, market the world's first 100% certified defect free coffee and command a premium? somehow i doubt it.

i could expand the argument, but i've made my point. i expect full participation on this one. let's talk it out and get the discussion going.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007


hi. i'm aaron. i blog here. at least i used to.

terribly sorry for the lack of updates. here's some stuff to tide you over until next month, when i may decide to blog again:

1. went to guatemala. had a smashing time. will go back one day for sure.

2. pics for guatemala are up on flickr. i think flickring has been my new blogging of late. (leave pithy comments. bloggers/flickrers love that.)

3. i've begun an experiment in coffee that will culminate two years from now. yes, i'm on the freezing train. more on this later, i'm sure. for now, the project is being laid out pretty scientifically with the hope of publishing a white paper of sorts down the road on freezing effects. comments, jeers, etc., are welcome. just be prepared for comments and jeers back.

4. finishing an article and a half for an upcoming barista magazine. excited for that.

5. trying to figure out darned google analytics for my website. anyone? bueller?

6. trying to figure out where on earth the coffee i sent to a pilot friend just arrived in afghanistan has gotten off to. we're at four weeks and counting.

7. always thinking of retail possibilities. send me money please, and i won't send you anything in return.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

just one quick pic

...to give you a picture of what's to come. i have a ton of pics from my recently concluded trip to guatemala, some of which are already up on my flickr account. this one is of yellow catui from the farm of el injerto, last year's cup of excellence winner for guatemala.

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