At Compass, we love coffee.
Every morning, on my way into work, I stop at our Roastery in Shaw, wait in line, and order a large iced Red Eye (a 20oz cold brew with two shots of espresso). In my opinion, there’s no better way to kick off the workday than seeing some of my old regulars, saying "hi" to the baristas behind the bar and the roasters diligently monitoring our state-of-the-art Loring roaster while I wait for my drink to make its way down to me. Similarly, every Saturday and Sunday morning, shortly after I wake up, I use my phone to turn on my kettle so that the hot water is ready by the time I help feed our pets, ready my Chemex, grind my favorite beans (I’ve been drinking a lot of 7th Street lately), and make a pour-over for myself and my partner before we each head out to our respective gyms. Usually, I’ll make another iced pour-over for us after the gym, before we head out on our weekend errands. Sometimes, I’ll even make a cup when we get back from our errands.
Like billions of other people all around the world, coffee is a major part of my morning routine. In fact, you might even call it ritualistic. Of course, I don’t mean “ritualistic” in a negative way. I mean that the preparation of or the circumstances surrounding my drinking coffee are so regular in my day-to-day life, it is as if coffee was a part of the actual prescribed order of my life. And I bet a lot of you feel that way too. (I mean, you are reading a coffee blog. Am I right?)
As Lorelai Gilmore tells Luke in the Gilmore Girls revival, A Year in the Life, “Everything in my life has to do with coffee. I believe in a former life, I was coffee.”
I run on coffee. I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
Think about it: we won’t think twice about taking a ten-minute detour and stand in line for a cup of coffee, even if we’re already running late. When we make our own cups, we meticulously dose out beans and obsess over extraction. We do these things because coffee is special. I don’t mean to sound too grandiose here.
While coffee might just be a drink, it is a drink that brings people together.
Every morning, countless company meetings start over cups of coffee—whether in person or remote. Furthermore, cafes around the world are second work-spaces, study spots, and meeting spaces. Cafes are popular networking spots. (American Express recently published an article on how to successfully network over coffee.) We interview for our dream jobs in cafes, we meet people on first dates in cafes—afterwards, we either gush about those first dates or tell our friends how terrible they were—and people unwind from a long week in cafes, sometimes over over games of chess, a cold brew, and a latte on the weekend.
A couple regulars play a game of chess over a cup of coffee.
It is not uncommon to see firefighters standing in line next to emergency room physicians or to see C-Suite executives giving advice to recent grads while they both wait for their coffee on a Sunday morning. Cafes are truly the centers of our community.
Coffee is always there for us. We drink coffee when we are tired, we drink coffee when we are happy, and we drink it when we are stressed. It is usually the first thing we are offered when we arrive somewhere, and it is usually the last thing we share at family events.
And it has always been that way, no matter where and no matter when.
Find that hard to believe?
Martha Washington had special rules for the preparation and drinking of coffee. The precursor to the New York Stock Exchange, the New York Stock and Exchange Board, began at the Tontine Coffee House in Manhattan in the beginning of the 19th century. Did you know that the word “coffee” is found more times in Civil War diaries than the words “rifle,” “cannon,” or “bullet?” Or that Eleanor Roosevelt’s radio show, which aired between September 1941 and April 1942, was called Over Our Coffee Cups? And during World War II, Americans drank so much coffee that it was a rationed good. (There was actually guidance released on how to dilute coffee and make your supply last longer. As you can imagine, rationing coffee proved incredibly unpopular.) In March of 1951, Time magazine noted that coffee was so popular during World War 2 that after the war ended, coffee breaks were included in all union contracts. And, believe it or not, from 2015 to 2017, there was even an espresso machine aboard the International Space Station: The ISSpresso.
An advertisement calling for responsible coffee rationing during World War II. Knowing that supply was limited, the US government asked civilians to consume less coffee so that it could be given to soldiers fighting abroad.
Our love for coffee permeates through fictional worlds too: we meet Lorelai Gilmore for the first time as she’s begging for a cup of coffee at Luke’s; Ross and Rachel share their first kiss in the doorway of The Central Perk; Number Five obsessively searches for the strongest cup he can find (regardless of the timeline); in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, one of the first images we get of Holly Golightly is of her drinking coffee and eating a croissant as she walks down Fifth Avenue; and—in what is perhaps one of the most famous American Realism paintings, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, three patrons sit around a diner counter next to two carafes of hot coffee.
Coffee is deeply ingrained in American culture, which makes it hardly surprising that Americans drink the most coffee in the world—somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 million cups every day, or more that 140 BILLION cups of coffee per year. In fact, according to Marketwatch.com, Americans drink more coffee than bottled soda, tea, and juice combined.
We love coffee.
At Compass, we love making it, we love drinking it, and we love talking about it. We are very excited to officially launch our new blog, here at blog.compasscoffee.com. It is a place where we can talk about coffee with everyone who is interested, no matter where you are. We will discuss the history of coffee and where Compass fits into that history, give brewing tips, and nerd out about gear.
Take a moment and subscribe to our RSS feed and follow us @CompassCoffeeDC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. There are fun things coming your way.