What the heck are we doing here?
Everybody told us, “coffee? isn’t that over? isn’t everyone doing coffee now-a-days?” and we said, “well, yes. but not how we’re going to do it.”
What were we even talking about?
As we dig into the world of importing and roasting coffee in small, sustainable amounts, we’re overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of players, large and small, and are forced, daily, to bend to the bullies of the marketplace. Not bullies by malice, bullies by sheer size. Because everyone needs to make margin. What does that mean? It means the cost of doing what we do will be exponentially higher because the margins within which we have to play are so narrow no mistakes can be made. So be it.
In this quickly maturing third wave coffee trend, in which we find ourselves, there’s still a place to belong. There’s still a way to enjoy coffee that does not come from a tattoo’d hipster with eyes the colour of the sea who just returned from a three-month shirtless hike through the Himalayas, and prepared in a café that costs more per square foot than the people who produce the coffee earn in a year. There’s no way this can continue. While there’s nothing wrong with the achievements of either the jetsetting hipster, nor the owners who built the fine cafe, how is this not just another unobtainable goal the market has dangled in front of us, our entire first world lives? Mark my words. We will see the eventual decline of this kind of consumerism. But what will arrive in its wake?
People have been cultivating, harvesting, preparing, drinking, and in some cases, enjoying coffee for centuries. But, if the fancy cafés disappear, coffee won’t. In that thought, is where we live.
Coffee without community, coffee without purpose, is as empty and shallow as a Louis Vuitton handbag you can’t afford to use lest it become damaged. But, coffee with community, coffee with a greater purpose, is like the very sacks it ships in – simple, utilitarian, perfectly designed for their purpose. Coffee needs to do its job just like coffee sacks do theirs. And coffee’s job is not to separate us, to make us feel small. it is to keep us together, safely transport us, and get us where we’re going in whatever form that takes.
In Ethiopia, coffee is consumed largely because it staves off appetite and helps people deal with their hunger. Coffee in Ethiopia is shared and prepared like life depends on it. And in a way it does. Likewise, here in the first world, when there is a community event, sporting event, wedding, business convention, coffee is always there. Without thought. To enjoy. To keep people awake, to caffeinate the stories we tell one another, when we reunite. And to go down one floor further, coffee can bring us together – even in Tim Horton’s universe. It’s a medium for sharing and caring and helping each other through this often confusing life. Who hasn’t smiled at the gesture of someone bringing them a cup of coffee? Even if it is from Timmy’s?
So… to do this with conscience, with conscientiousness, with respect, with attention to detail, with awareness, and yes, with love… that’s what the heck we’re doing here.
Battle Grounds Coffee Co & Roastery