Ep. 22 — Bougie Coffee

They always leave when it gets hot in the cafe.
— Man counter-protesting protestors


Since the turn of the millennium, the percentage of U.S.-based specialty coffee drinking folk, like those who have a cup everyday, has quadrupled. Travel to any major or minor city in the country, and you’ll see an offering of coffees that transcends the uniform Starbucks experience that’s on every block.

But the image that reflects after you place a mirror in front of any craft coffee company or cafe is a bit more clear, albeit unsettling. Stare at it long enough and you’ll come across matters like gentrification, the rise of the millennial-inspired yuppie wave and the old act of global economics, power dynamics and capitalism all at play.

This podcast episode explores the intricacies of coffee and attempts to answer two simple questions about one very complex drink. What makes specialty coffee special and who is it really for?

Show Notes: 

1. [00:35] More on Tonya Kuhl

2. [00:45] “Castor Wheel Pivot” by Blue Dot Sessions

3. [01:35] “One Little Triumph” by Blue Dot Sessions

4. [02:15] Light reading on other unconventional courses:

5. [02:45] ECM 01 Syllabus

  • Additional reading here (San Francisco Chronicle)

6. [03:20] “Pain” by HileMele

7. [04:00] Light reading on percentage of global coffee that is considered specialty (The Coffee Guide)

8. [04:10] Light reading on the growth of specialty coffee over the past several years (SCA)

9. [05:15] Shout out to the original Cosmic Calendar

10. [05:25] “Drum Solo” by Turku Nomads of the Silk Road

11. [05:30] The first reference of the term coffee can be found here in the Canon of Medicine (The World of Caffeine)

12. [05:40] More on the tale of coffee being passed down to the Prophet Muhammad (The Literary Digest)

13. [05:45] More on Kaldi and his dancing goats

14. [06:00] On the history of coffee:

15. [06:25] Recommended reading on coffee history: Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast

16. [06:30] Light reading on coffee’s etymology

17. [06:45] “Perky” by Al Hirt

18. [07:00] Light reading on the concept of coffee waves

19. [07:30] A short snippet from Mississippi John Hurt’sCoffee Blues

20. [07:45] A montage of sexist coffee commercials from the ‘60s

21. [07:55] “Pxl Eventaut” by Blue Dot Sessions

22. [09:50] More on William Ristenpart

23. [11:20] “Pxl Cray” by Blue Dot Sessions

24. [11:25] The new coffee flavor wheel (SCA)

25. [12:00] More on Molly Spencer

26. [13:40] More on Hanna Neuschwander (@hneuschwander)

27. [14:30] An overview of coffee prices over the last 45 years

28. [15:40] More on the differences between Arabica and Robusta beans (Coffee Chemistry)

29. [16:10] More on the different coffee processing methods (Sweet Maria’s)

30. [16:25] “Pxl Htra” by Blue Dot Sessions

31. [16:30] More on the coffee grading rubric (SCAA)

32. [17:00] More on Alejandro Martinez and his farm Finca Argentina

33. [19:10] More on Brett Smith

34. [21:30] “Platax” by Blue Dot Sessions

35. [21:40] A graphic overview of the coffee supply chain

36. [21:55] Related: Light reading on how to purchase coffee (Sweet Maria’s)

37. [22:45] Related: Light reading on starting a roastery (Daily Coffee News)

38. [23:00] Related: Light reading on what goes into roasting (Cafe Culture)

39. [23:25] Related: Light reading on roast profiles

40. [23:50] More on Kyle Glanville (@glanvillain)

41. [24:20] Light reading on Espresso Vivace (Sprudge)

42. [24:45] “Clay Pawn Shop” by Blue Dot Sessions

43. [25:00] Light reading on the economics of running a coffee shop (Investopedia)

44. [25:40] SNL’s Michael Che on $18 coffee (NY Post)

45. [25:50] Light reading on Gesha coffees (Daily Coffee News)

46. [26:15] Related reading on the rise of the minimum wage (NPR)

47. [26:20] More on Ritual’s $12 cup of coffee (Barista Magazine)

48. [27:30] “Time Up” by Blue Dot Sessions

49. [27:45] The story behind those blue and white greek coffee cups (Narratively)

50 [28:20] More on Anand Sheth

51. [28:50] “Vulcan Street” by Blue Dot Sessions

51. [29:00] Detailed photos of the Sightglass on 20th Street (Knstrct)

52. [30:00] “Vulcan Street-Dew Morning” by Blue Dot Sessions

53. [32:00] More on Brian Jones (@brianwjones) of DCILY

54. [34:40] “Pushback” by Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping

55. [35:15] Light reading on Frank Braconi  

56. [36:30] “Warm Fingers” by Blue Dot Sessions

57. [36:35] Light reading on what is the middle class (CNN)

58. [36:50] More on Braconi’s 2004 study

59. [37:20] "Burrow Burrow" by Blue Dot Sessions

60. [37:50] Light reading on a follow-up study by both Braconi and Columbia University Prof. Lance Freeman (City Lab)

61. [39:30] Bay Area salaries for computer engineers

62. [40:20] Light reading on economic state of New York City in the 70s

63. [41:30] Related: Light reading on Rev. Billy and his protest against Starbucks

64. [41:50] More on the rate of gentrification (Governing Magazine)

65. [43:20] Related: A Film About Coffee

66. [45:00] More on Charles Babinski

  • Related: He was also in the documentary Barista

67. [47:30] Light reading on the Hasta Muerte Coffee (East Bay Express)

  • Related: Protest at the coffee shop (KTVU)

68. [48:05] “Noe Noe” by Blue Dot Sessions

69. [48:30] Light reading on the coffee industry’s #MeToo movement (San Francisco Chronicle)

70. [48:50] Light reading on SCA’s decision to host its World Coffee Championships in Dubai (Sprudge)

71. [49:30] More on the impact of climate change and coffee (Barista Magazine)

72. [49:35] More on the percentage of coffee lands that will become unusable (NPR)

73. [49:40] More on deforestation, climate change and coffee (Conservation International)

74. [50:00] More on the sale of Stumptown (The New York Times)

75. [50:50] More on Nick Cho (@nickcho) (San Francisco Magazine)

76. [57:20] “Fake Empire” cover by Lotte Kestner

77. [59:40] Recommended Podcasts To Listen to: