A Good Cup of Joe

I’m sitting on my patio on this crisp Fall morning, sipping a hot cup of coffee in my favorite mug. It’s about 58 degrees right now, the sun is starting to shine through the clouds and I’ve got my mind on bikes: which one will get ridden today? It’s all about the mood…and sometimes the weather. I could relax in the competent comfort of the Vstrom, or cruise along the colorful countryside on the Scrambler. Or, I could fasten my seat belt and take the pulse pounding, piston pumping Duke out for a ride that would rival the brisk morning air. Get my blood flowing properly…good for the heart.

But somewhere along this beautiful Sunday I’ve got to roast some coffee. As you may remember, I stopped roasting Motorhead Coffee commercially early this year. There were just too many obstacles in the way, many of which still keep me from dedicating my time behind a roaster. One of the drawbacks to this decision, however, is that I am now occasionally at the mercy of others for my coffee fix.

Without trying to sound snobbish, elitist or like any other type of obnoxious individual who thinks their opinions stand at the center of the universe, there is a lot of really bad coffee out there waiting to be consumed. The thing is, though, if you haven’t had the opportunity to spend some time drinking really good coffee, you don’t know the difference. Let someone provide you with a high quality, well roasted batch of beans for a few weeks and when you return to canned coffee from the grocer’s shelf, you will begin to wonder how or why you ever bothered to drink it. Just catching a whiff of the aroma coming off a co-workers cup is enough to remind me of just how awful some coffee can be. If I was forced to drink that stuff again on a daily basis, I’d switch to tea!

At the same time, I don’t like people who make too big a deal out of coffee. I can’t take “world championship” competitions seriously when it comes to coffee or the people who make it. Sorry, that’s just me. I’m not interested in some of the overly pretentious descriptions either. Sure, I’ve had and roasted plenty of coffees that have a hint of fruit or chocolate or nut in them, but let’s not get all carried away to the point we give people the impression when they drink your lightly roasted Natural Ethiopian coffee that it’s somehow going to taste like a Strawberry Mocha Latte’…and thank God for that!

I guess I’m fussing about coffee this morning because I really enjoy a good cup and I’m about to come into the time of year where I may have to stop roasting and start buying. Since I’m not roasting commercially right now, I roast at home to get my fix. However, I don’t have a heated garage and soon it’s going to be too cold outside to roast.

Over the years, I have ordered and purchased coffee from most of the major specialty roasters. I’ve had some really good coffee…and it cost a lot. At $18 for a 12 oz bag, plus shipping, I end up paying $25 -30 for one bag of coffee! And you thought mine was expensive! I love coffee, but even I have my limits. Truth be told, of all the roasters I have ordered coffee from, only 2 came through consistently with what I felt was an exceptional cup of coffee. Stumptown and Klatch have never let me down and if I have to buy coffee this winter, they will get my business. To be perfectly fair, however, when I was roasting commercially there was always one or two coffees I was particularly proud of, and most of the rest were in my opinion “just good coffee.” That’s a challenge every roaster faces. 

So, today I ride…and today I roast. I’m a simple man and all I’m really looking for on this beautiful Sunday morning are a few simple pleasures; a few hours to smell the aroma of fall leaves while riding through the Kentucky backroads…and a good cup of Joe.




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