From Seed to Sip: The Magic of Coffee
Coffee. It’s something we drink every morning, usually without much thought. We wake up, brew a cup or a pot, or go out and order one up. We are usually just moments away from the possibility of coffee, minutes away from a fresh cup, and for a minimal amount of money, we receive our beloved, caffeinated beverage.
How often, though, have we thought about how our cup of Joe came to be?
As a meditation teacher and breathwork facilitator, I spend a lot of time thinking about the root of things. The root of love, anxiety, joy… the root of our life’s path. It would stand to reason that, at some point, my first love — coffee, best served black — would be food for thought. I spent a lot of time thinking about the beautiful, rich beverage that rules my mornings, and wanted to better understand its cycle from start to finish.
I researched the path from the fields to my cup, originally expressing it as “bean to brew”, but as I learned about the planting of the seed, I felt an enormous respect for the lengthy process, and shifted the expression, for accuracy, as "seed to sip".
First, the seed is planted. It grows in a shaded, protected bed, nurtured and watered frequently until it’s hearty enough to be planted in its permanent location. The tree, usually planted during the wet season, grows roots and begins to develop until, some three to four years later, it produces fruit: coffee cherries. These cherries are harvested and then dried (either in the sun, or through something called “the wet method”) until they dry to a point of 11% moisture. They then get either husked or hulled, depending on the drying process; sorted, and packed for shipping. This, by the way, is just skimming the surface of what actually happens.
Think of how many pairs of hands are involved in the process: the farmers and workers who plant the seeds, those who harvest the fruits, and move them to the drying process. Of course, there are natural elements to be grateful for, too: the sun, rain, water, soil, air. All of these details must be attended to, simply for the simple pleasure of a good cup of coffee.
When I approached Robert and Adele Genovese, owners of Local Coffee in Montclair, NJ, about offering a guided coffee meditation in their shop, they were excited. We couldn’t figure out how or when it would happen, since the shop is open seven days a week, from as early as 6 am to as late as 5 pm. We decided to let the idea mull around and see what might come of this thought, and in the same way that magic happens, the idea of a guided coffee meditation to celebrate the shop’s 2nd anniversary was hatched.
This modern, esthetically pleasing shop brings in all of the best, local everything. From chocolate to pastries, the attention to detail is unrivaled. The coffee beans used in their shop are exclusively from Irving Farm. This coffee roaster, based out of the Hudson Valley in New York, is named after it’s first shop, which was located on Irving Place in Gramercy Park, New York. Irving Farm prides themselves on building relationships with their farmers, cutting out the middle man, and ensuring sustainability.
This made for a perfect fit with Local Coffee.
Creating today’s guided coffee meditation was such a point of pride for me, because I believe in all the components of the process. Green buying, building strong relationships, and having respect for everyone involved is something for which we should be grateful. As I walked the guests of Local Coffee through this process, I asked them to imagine the farmers’ hands moving through soil, and the pride those farmer’s must feel at the sight of those deep, red coffee cherries. I wondered aloud what the families of the farmer’s might experience, knowing that the (literal) fruits of their labor was building and supporting their community, while providing others, some thousands of miles away, with an incredible cup of coffee.
As we sipped, we expressed gratitude for each step of the process, lending to the extreme beauty of sitting with community and indulging in the most wonderful, yet simple thing we can do collectively… drink coffee.
Tiffany Curren is a yoga teacher, meditation and breathwork facilitator based in New Jersey. Find out more about her at www.tiffanycurren.com.