What is the number two-traded commodity in the world? Coffee. What is the most consumed drink in the world? Coffee. What do two thirds of Americans drink every day? Coffee. What is one of the most popular trade school option in the world? Culinary Arts. And guess what is not taught in these culinary arts schools? The art of world-class coffee making is sadly absent from nearly every culinary school curriculum in America.
Five Star Restaurants
Case in point. Walk into the five star Coeur d’Alene Resort in Coeur d’Alene Idaho, take the elevator to the top floor, and sit down in Beverly’s, the resorts premier five star restaurant. The view is spectacular. The service is superb. The food is divine. The wine is amazing. And the coffee sucks.
You could repeat this experience in Spokane’s five star Davenport Hotel or any number of five star restaurants across the country. These incredible restaurants hire the best culinary chefs available anywhere, who have been trained at the best culinary arts schools in the world. Yet, they can’t make coffee that’s better than horse piss.
Burnt and Bitter Industrial Coffee
Why? The answer to that question is pretty simple. All of these chefs have been taught in their culinary arts schools that good coffee is burnt and bitter industrial coffee, i.e., Starbucks, a.k.a. Charbucks and their want-a-bees.
Please allow me to address the culinary arts schools themselves. Here’s an epiphany for you. World-class coffee is not burnt and bitter; period, end of sentence. Secondly, all coffee, and I mean all coffee, no matter how you package or store it, starts changing its taste immediately. Within a month all coffee is well on its way to going stale, hence the bitter taste. When shelf life and mass production is your goal, then you end up with piss poor coffee.
Coffee Making That’s Soul Satisfyingly Smooth
If a world-class chef uses fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh grains, fresh herbs, fresh spices, and fresh meats to produce a truly divine meal, then why wouldn’t a world-class chef also use fresh coffee to produce a truly divine after-meal cup of coffee?
Look, here’s the point. World-class chefs don’t use industrial mass production techniques and equipment for the preparation of their culinary masterpieces. Therefore, they should be taught the same care and mindset for their coffee.
Coffee was never meant to be burnt and bitter. Coffee is supposed to be a soul satisfyingly smooth experience. The epicurean delight of a world-class cup of coffee should solicit an “Ahhh…” moment. The drinker should think, “Thiiiiiis is gooooood. Very good.”
As a master coffee roaster and owner of Lake City Coffee, I’ve been a guest lecturer in a number of culinary arts colleges. Although the students and instructors are blown away with my presentation, this shouldn’t be new information. Obviously, The Art of World-Class Coffee Making deserves to be on every culinary arts school’s curriculum.