Jittery Jed--From Seed to Cup

This is an article I wrote for The Cedar Falls Times in July 2013.  

Jittery Jed—From Seed to Cup

Coffee isn’t why I get up every morning, but it sure helps get things moving. I love everything about coffee and I’m lucky enough to have a career in it. Over the coming months, I hope you’ll enjoy learning about your morning coffee, from seed to cup in this column.

My love affair with coffee started in 1993 as a high school senior in Neenah, Wisconsin cramming for a physics final. This was the coffee equivalent of a toy poodle in a sweater: my mom’s instant coffee doctored with hot chocolate powder, milk and a dollop of Cool Whip. We've come a long way since then, baby.

Coffee will always be there. Through my early college years at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, bad coffee was liquid sleep. As I grew older, coffee became more social and refined. My friends and I sat around and drank coffee, talked about books, even tried to write books. Somewhere along the way, I had become a coffee aficionado. I owned an espresso machine and a burr grinder, but it wasn’t until I started roasting my own coffee beans and learning about how coffee is processed that I began to truly appreciate coffee and respect the labor of all the people who touch it. From the farmer’s care and the picker’s toil to the roaster’s attention to detail and the brewer’s finishing touch, hundreds of people play a role in making every single cup of coffee.  

Coffee means something different to everyone, but for me coffee is a ritual. Coffee is my constant. The ritual evolves over time, but every morning starts with coffee, carefully prepared. Lately, morning in my home begins with the sound of the espresso maker turning on. I roll out of bed and make lattes for my wife and me. Steam…  grind… tamp… brew… pour… knock… repeat. When our son was little and less mobile, we could enjoy two coffees in bed while he happily played and read. Today we’re lucky to get one before we’re chasing him around. Life changes but it always starts with coffee.

In the next column I’ll answer any questions you have about coffee. Email me at Jed@sidecarcoffeeroasters.