We read a lot of blogs about coffee. Every once in a while, we find one that we think are especially insightful, enjoyable or informative. That's why we're starting a new feature here at Coffee Kind -- coffee blogger profiles -- and kicking it off with our inaugural profile of Garrett Oden, the voice and face behind Coffee Brew Guides
Why You Should Read Coffee Brew Guides
CBG has been around for a brief six months, but Garrett has already assembled an impressive archive of great coffee information, including simple to follow guides on making good coffee with some of today's most popular equipment. We love his fresh voice and the quality of his information, but we're especially taken with his openness in talking about his personal experiences as he dives ever deeper into the world of specialty coffee. In a recent entry, for example, he talks about his first coffee cupping experience, and shares his tasting notes with good-natured self-deprecation. We totally empathized when we read:
We all agreed that this coffee from Mexico was the runt of the group. I’m not picking at One Line Coffee, I hear they have great beans, but this one just didn’t impress. It was also the first one I tasted, which should explain what I wrote down on my notes…
My Notes: I suck at this, Earth yo
Meet Garrett Oden, Coffee Brew Guides Blogger
We recently caught up with Garrett via email to ask him a few questions about his blog, his experiences with specialty coffee and what his plans are for the future of CBG. Here's what he had to say.
CK: What's your primary goal with the blog? It seems like you want to be very focused on brew guides (obviously, in the name), but are also interested in blogging about your own experiences.
: My original vision for Coffee Brew Guides has evolved dramatically over the last six months since its creation. I started work on the project in pursuit of creating a knowledge base of coffee brewing methods and recipes. I wished to collect them from all over the world and place them on the site for readers to see and experience for themselves. But I realized it wasn't what I was truly interested in.
As a relative newcomer to the world of specialty coffee, I was interested in blogging about my personal experiences and journey, anyway. That drive was more powerful than my drive to create the collection. In the end, I combined the two to create Coffee Brew Guides. At this point, my vision is to continue to learn and grow, sharing my knowledge and experiences through the blog.
CK: What attracts you to the manual brew methods?
: The complexity and craft of manual brew methods fascinate me to no end. I had no idea coffee could be more than Folgers and an oily coffee pot until just over a year ago when I first sighted a French press. Since then, I've discovered how densely flavorful a cup of carefully-brewed coffee can be. It's beautiful.
I also have immense respect for the unhurried and artful. Manual brew methods embody the patience and meticulousness that I wish society valued more. Brewing coffee manually enables me to slow down and find joy in simple things done well.
CK: Describe your first encounter with specialty coffee -- that aha! moment of recognizing that coffee could be more than drip at Dunkin Donuts.
: It was January of 2013. A friend and barista at a local shop invited my college roommate and me to visit him while he was working so he could introduce us to "the good stuff." We were both skeptical, but hopeful. My friend brewed Evocation's Ethiopian Yirgacheffe in a French press, and it changed the way I perceived coffee forever. (Ed note: Of course it was a Yirg. We totally understand. Yirgacheffe was also our intro to specialty coffee, and yes, it changes the way you view coffee forever.)
We sat outside on that cool evening, sharing the remainder of the coffee with other friends who appeared. The coffee was remarkable, and the community was friendly. That's when I first saw the beauty of specialty coffee.
CK: From the coffee consumer perspective, what would you like to see coffee shops and other coffee businesses (us included) do more of to engage or educate the consumer?
: My exposure to specialty coffee outside of Texas is minimal, but I'm impressed with the way shops and businesses ease consumers into the idea of specialty coffee. I also believe it's important to be aware of the negative stigma specialty coffee can have. Many people have been hurt by snobby baristas who shoot down genuine attempts to learn. That's how you kill an industry. We all start as beginners and we all take the journey. The industry must always remember this.
CK: Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?
: I find my inspiration most often in my own desire to learn. I want to explore, discover, test and analyze. I don't want to be handed the coffee beans and brew recipes. I want to take that journey myself. When I seen new information on coffee, brewing technology or businesses in the industry, I encounter that information through the lens of discovery, not mere information collecting. The industry is filled with wonder, and that is how I wish to experience it.
We think the specialty coffee industry -- from coffee picker and growers to those who simply share their love of coffee with their words -- is pretty wonder-full, too. Sometimes we forget just how exciting it can be to experience an amazing Guat for the first time, or to do a blind cupping and realize that yes, indeed, you DID taste those flavors in the cup. That's why we're tickled that there are bloggers like Garrett Oden out there to remind us that we all take that journey and we all share a common love for excellent coffee.