Coffee News

Category: , , By Christian

I've never had a favorite coffee before. I have enjoyed coffee for a number of years, and have come to appreciate good coffee. There has not been a particular blend that has caused me pause to have a particular affinity for it above all others, however.

Thus, you must understand that today's proclamation of a first ever favorite coffee should not be overlooked as a flippant award of little merit. What might this first ever favorite be? I'm glad you asked.

I would like to present the honor of favorite coffee to the Whole Bean Tango Blend, roasted by Cafe Mam. The "equal mix of French and Italian offers a robust body with a rich, smoky flavor". I couldn't agree more with the tagline from the can.

I came across this particular brew thanks to my dear mother. She gave me a can for Christmas, knowing that I enjoy receiving Fair Trade and Organic coffees as gifts because it allows me to be socially conscious in my love of coffee without going financially bankrupt. I was glad to find out that this company also supports pesticide reform and grows their beans in the shade to help sustain migratory bird habitats.

What really blows the mind is that the company has very reasonable prices, at only around $7 per pound. Compare that to Starbucks ($10-$13 per pound) and it's great deal on better coffee. Granted, if you live in the middle of the country like I do then you can't just go to the store and pick up a bag. No stores in KS or MO. Stink. Oh well. At least they have a cool online store, and I can always pick some up on my pilgrimages to the PDX.

In an tragic turn of events, just as I discovered my favorite coffee my coffee maker broke. Two years ago my mother hooked me up with a beautiful stainless steel Starbucks Aroma Solo machine. It brewed a hot cup directly into my Aroma Solo travel mug. I loved that machine. My first one actually broke about a year ago, but Starbucks has a two-year warranty and a great return policy. They let me bring it back (without the box or receipt), and gave me a new one. Well, when my second machine broke 11-months later I had a tough decision to make. Exchanging for a third machine would be fine. After all, if it lasted just one more year then I would have gotten 3 total months of daily use from a birthday present, which is pretty stinkin good. Or, I could exchange it for a gift card, sell it on Ebay and then use the money to get another brand.

In the end, I decided to go with the other brand. It was not easy to do because sans its fragility the Aroma Solo was fantastic. And yet, I have been putting some distance between myself and Starbucks for a while and this was another opportunity to take a step away.

Not that Starbucks is the Great Satan, or anything. I appreciate that they provide health insurance for employees who work at least 20-hours per week. That's fantastic. Also, growing up in the PDX I grew up on Starbucks. It's part of my social DNA and heritage. Shoot, when I started frequenting the joint, I don't think there was one store in all of Kansas. And let's not forget the generous return policy that Starbucks has.

And yet, I'm just not fully convinced that Starbucks is doing enough to encourage economically fair and environmentally equitable coffee harvesting practices. When you go through as much coffee as they do, you have a certain responsibility to do so (especially when you charge as much as they do). And coffee is as important to me as it currently is, I have to put my money where my mouth is and make sure that I am supporting companies that have similar values to me.

Starbucks has improved in these areas over the past few years (link). And yet, they could do a lot more (link). I'm not going all militant on the company. I'm just trying to make my life a little more consistent each day. I really think that's what God wants from us. Transformation that makes us a little more consistent each day with the Kingdom of God taking place here on Earth just as it does in Heaven.

Next week my Zojirushi Fresh Brew should arrive in the mail. I'm pumped. I got it on sale, and it's had some good reviews from coffee enthusiasts. Many call it the best machine under a Benjamin (aka hundred dolla bill, yo). Until then, I'll be rocking the french press that I usually keep in my office. Expect a review on the Zojirushi sometime in the coming weeks.

Fair Dinkum

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