By: Jon Clutton
Never did I think I’d be writing a blog about coffee. Three years ago I didn’t even like coffee. And I still don’t really like blogs. I thought coffee was just that stuff served in towering silver cylinders at church. I think blogs can be too agenda-pushing. Too sale-sy. Too fake. Yet here I am, drinking coffee and writing a blog.
What. On. Earth. Happened.
What could have prompted me to drink coffee and write a blog about it? As most things go… it was a girl. A girl I have a crush on. This girl to be exact.
She force fed me coffee, made me a world-shattering pour-over, and I was hooked. Both on the girl and on this whole coffee thing. I married this girl two years ago, and we’ve been saving to start our own coffee shop ever since. Now I sit watching her plan our first coffee shop endeavor while I start the endeavor of writing this blog.
So, that answers the coffee part. What about the blog part?
Well, It turns out that coffee is this incredible medium through which to explore Life. Let me delve into this a bit more.
I’m a science guy. And coffee is basically just a mix of acid/base equilibria, organic chemistry, and physics, so ya...science.
Coffee creates a lot of friendships. And marriages apparently. But it doesn’t just create new friendships and strengthen existing ones in the cafe-customer setting alone, but also behind the bar, behind the roaster, behind the tiny bean itself. Relationships between barista and customer, between owner and lead barista, between coffee shop and coffee roaster, and between coffee roaster and coffee farmer. I got to see this first hand as I watched my wife lead a team of ten incredible people at Cuvee Coffee. Those baristas turned into family. When done well, coffee creates more than a caffeine buzz, it can create an incredible community.
Sustainability and ethics. Coffee is a global business with challenges facing it, many of which we deal with every day. Global warming, fair wages, sustainable farming practices, and creating a work environment people actually like showing up to.
Coffee sums up some of the things that are pretty dear to me and that I’d like to spend more time researching, thinking through, and discussing with a community of people. This is what led me to the blog.
So every week we will be posting a blog pertaining to one of these three discussions:
Coffee Science: experimentation and innovation to create bomb drinks
Friendships: aspiring to be good humans to each other in all aspects of the coffee industry
Sustainability: discussing how to do mother earth a solid and giving all humans fair wages
Given Christine’s background in both ethical business and in coffee shop management, she will primarily be blogging about the friendship & sustainability topics. Whereas, I will lean into the science topics. Our hope is this blog will be a place to explore these areas with an inclusive online community with whom we can dialog, discuss, and act together.
In case you are like my wife, who self admittedly tunes out 40% of what I am saying when I start speaking “science”, this disclaimer is for you.
Coffee is pretty straightforward. It’s just beans and water. And we plan to keep it that simple. Christine proof reads all my blogs (and I, hers) in order to make sure everyone can understand, AND enjoy them. There is this great Einstein quote my organic chemistry professor use to say, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”
This is our hope for the science topic on the blog. We want to make coffee as simple as possible, but no simpler. We want to dive into the science of coffee without sounding like 80-year-old-tenured-professors. Science is sometimes an unapproachable topic for baristas and home brewers, but our intent is to make it as simple as possible, without doing the injustice of dumbing it down.
When it comes to amazing science-based coffee communities, there are already many people who do this well: baristahustle.com
and KC's very own kccoffeegeek.com.
We hope that we can bring this level of passion and inclusivity too.
By day, I work in Alzheimer’s research at KU Med. Recently, there has been a lot of innovation in the field. Scientists have been able to look at the data in new ways. There is a lot of evidence hinting that Alzheimer’s is a metabolic issue (i.e. our ability to use and store energy). This is a novel idea because for 30 years they thought it was caused by proteins called Amyloid and Tau. This fresh look at age-old diseases isn’t just confined to Alzheimer’s. It’s endemic in the science community, especially among ordinary people sifting through the literature in new ways completely on their own. From sugar, to fats, to cancer, autoimmune issues, and cardiovascular health. There is a revival in the evidence-based approach to science. My hope is that we can do something similar in coffee.
This is what I hope to do with the science aspect to this blog. Provide evidence-based research behind coffee and let YOU ALL, be my peer-reviewers.
Christine and I look forward to writing about topics that puzzle, excite, and challenge us and to hear your responses.