If you go back twenty or thirty years, the idea of hand crafted coffee wasn’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye.
All coffee was treated like a commodity, just a crop like any other to be harvested, shipped and processed.
It was mass production all the way...with full sun growing practices, bulk roasting with all kinds of beans mixed together, and can after can of ground coffee in the supermarkets.
With the growth of gourmet coffee and specialty coffee shops, that has changed a lot.
Hand crafted coffee at the point of origin...
More and more small coffee farmers are finding that the only way to make a decent wage is to grow coffee in the manner that wine producers grow their grapes.
They take great care of the types of beans they grow and more and more or pursuing organic growing practices. The growth of organic coffee calls for a lot more care and labor, and results in a much improved environment for the beans and the growing communities.
As a result, coffee is becoming the product of artisan care, with farmers doing less mass production, and focusing instead on growing and tending to their coffee plants with more attention and skill.
The fair trade coffee movement has accelerated these changes, with local cooperatives working hard to integrate coffee growing with broader issues of community health and social conscience.
Hand crafted coffee by roasters...
At the point of roasting we are seeing the creation of a whole new breed of artisans...craftsmen who care a great deal about each group of coffee beans, and roasting differently according to the point of origin of the beans.
While coffee used to be bulk-roasted in huge batches, we now see a class of craftsmen roasting smaller batches at a time, and sometimes roasting only in response to individual orders from coffee shops and even individuals.
Hand crafted coffee at the individual level...
Instead of just buying ground coffee of dubious origin, coffee lovers now choose beans with a great deal of thought, grind them just before brewing and brew their coffee carefully.
The influence of the artisan and craftsman has trickled all the way down to the consumer level.
This is good news at every level of the process...bringing more meaning and revenues into the hands of those who grow the coffee...and more enjoyment and appreciation among those who brew and drink the final cup.
In addition, many coffee lovers are now choosing the hands-on approach, using manual coffee mills to grind their beans and hands-on brewing systems like the traditional press pot and Chemex pour-over brewer.
Hand crafted coffee has become part of our daily lifestyle.
About the author: Nick Usborne, aka Coffee Detective, is a writer and long-time coffee enthusiast. Read more…