Five Months of Coffee

27 February 2024

I quit drinking coffee between June and October of last year. I wanted to prove to myself I could quit my caffeine addiction and I did, but now I’m back. The taste of coffee, the joy of trying different flavors, the dreamy energy infusion, it’s too much to ignore. This time around is a celebration of friendship, many of these bags were gifted to me by friends from around the world.

coffee bags
NameRoasterTasting NotesRoast Date
Gitesi, RwandaFour Barrel, San Francisco, CaliforniaWhite Flower, Apricot Jam, Black Tea, and JasmineOctober 10, 2023
Shore Leave Hook, Brazil and Colombia BlendAndytown, San Francisco, CaliforniaDark Chocolate, Sweet Tobacco, Honey-Roasted PeanutsNovember 13, 2023
Rita Lopez, ColombiaSey, Brooklyn, New YorkPlum, Honeydew, Delicate Malic AcidityDecember, 18, 2023
Yaye Chericho, EthiopiaSey, Brooklyn, New YorkRipe Tropical Fruit, Lively Acidities, BotanicalsDecember, 18, 2023
Hangadhi BIO, EthiopiaBel Horizon, Paris, FranceStrawberry, Grapefruit, Hazelnut, ChocolateJanuary 7, 2024
N/ASteven, Taipei, TaiwanN/AN/A

Of the gifted bags, the first two are from Sey in Brooklyn. Max told me about Sey when we were in New York, “It’s one of my favorite coffee shops” he said. Mabel and I were going to visit Sey last time I was in New York but my trip ended too soon and we never made it out there. Then I got a surprise in the mail ten months later. For Christmas, she had sent me two bags of coffee, a bittersweet, acidic, and caffeinating reminder of our time together.

Between New York and now, I also took a trip to Europe with Max where we spent some nights in Paris, Berlin, and London. He went back to Paris later in November and upon his return, he said he had something to give me. Coffee is an easy gift, I shouldn’t have been surprised, nevertheless, to my surprise, he took me to that coffee university with the bag of beans from Bel Horizon in Paris. We brewed it together that day in my apartment and did a little coffee tasting session with the other beans I had at home.

A few weeks later, We did another coffee tasting session with Max’s friend Steven. Steven is from Taipei where he was attempting to start his own roastery and coffee shop. That didn’t work out quite well and later he moved to the States, but he brought with him some of the coffee he had roasted. We had about eight bags and it reminded me of the cupping session at Four Barrel with all the different bags lined up in a row, each accompanied by a cup of coffee, split between three friends. I can’t remember the origins or tasting notes we came up with but it was delicious nonetheless. The clear green coffee bag was Steven’s own design and we chatted about his process and the saturated market of Taipei’s coffee scene. The city is filled to the brim with coffee shops of all sorts with beans from all around the world. Every year, all these baristas and roasters come together to compete and share techniques in a huge coffee convention at the Nangang Exhibition Center. He showed us photos of lines of roasters and their machines, demoing their techniques to live audiences. In Taiwan, most roasting machines have an array of sensors to track temperature and humidity, all graphed on an electronic display. It’s down to more of a science rather than the older method of smelling and feeling the coffee that the old masters still practice. But that’s just the slow creep of technology and I think that’s fine. It’s a different kind of artistry and we cannot discount it just because of it’s scientific influences.