The Big Think

August 8, 2016

Coffee and Education

Filed under: Education — jasony @ 12:02 pm

We just discovered a wonderful place in Colorado Springs called “The Principal’s Office”. It’s a coffee shop/restaurant/cocktail bar that is, quite literally, an old principal’s office in a 100 year old school. Limestone and brick walls, wide board wooden floors worn down soft, artisanal ingredients assembled by tattoo-bedecked hipsters. But the thing is, the whole place is super non-pretentious and fun, with amazing coffee.

Erin and I got to talking to the Tyler the manager and got a 90 minute education in really good coffee. The economics, growth, roasting, and techniques of making a stellar cup of coffee. Tyler is passionate about coffee. Not just drinking and brewing it, but roasting, sourcing, and caring for the entire global ecosystem of coffee. Did you know that coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world? Next to oil, coffee has the biggest presence in the global financial markets. And yet something like 2/3rds of coffee growers live in poverty. He’s passionate about not only educating consumers about the difference between a truly great, top-1% cup of coffee, but about educating everyone about how much good can be done in the world through making the economics of coffee better for everyone.

For instance, the soil used to grow coffee can also be used to grow cocaine. And if a farmer in a third world country can make 3 times the money for an illegal cocaine crop, why not grow it? But if he is educated in how to grow really great coffee beans and make much more for it, then not only do we increase the supply of good coffee in the world (for which he gets paid a higher price), but we organically decrease the commensurate amount of cocaine on the streets. And because of supply and demand, that cocaine is now more expensive to boot.

Tyler shared his passion with us, answering question after question about what he loves about coffee, why he’s devoted his life to this pursuit, the bigger picture issues surrounding the industry, and how he’d like to have an impact from the bean all the way to the coffee cup. At the end of the conversation he handed us what was probably a $20 bag of freshly roasted top-1%-in-the-world beans as a gift. Really looking forward to brewing some.

Tyler is on a mission, not just to brew the top 1% of coffee in the world, but to change the world. It’s amazing and inspiring what you can learn if you just ask passionate people a ton of questions and then let them take you on a journey.

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