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South Bay Accent Magazine
The Buzz on Coffee
Cups of Bliss: Boutique Java Havens makes the South Bay a coffee lover’s dream.
By L.M. Archer
“Coffee is both a science and an art. The more you understand the science, the more freedom you have to create the art.”
That keen observation by the social media manager for Chromatic Coffee in Santa Clara, Rachel van Geenhoven, neatly sums up the current South Bay fascination with coffee; no longer a morning wake-up brew, it has become an artisanal beverage worthy of serious exploration. Craft coffee, that is – coffee grown and roasted with expert attention and loving care, java that deserves to be appreciated for its excellence and subtle nuances as much as boutique wines and locally crafted beers.
If the world we live in is becoming more robotic and digitally assisted every day, reducing human participation to a footnote, crafted coffees offer the perfect antidote. They rely exclusively on talented hands-on human ingenuity to produce a beverage that satisfies sensations of taste, aroma and texture – uniquely personal and elusive pleasures that machines, at present, cannot duplicate.
For the humble coffee been, what a long strange trip it’s been from a 10 cent cup of joe to a $4.50 single-origin Amazon Rainforest Latte. Coffee expert Timothy Castle has traced the evolution of coffee in America. He coined the term ‘third wave’ to describe its eventful journey. The “first wave” spanned coffee’s arrival in colonial America, Castle explains, all the way to its pre-packaged, pre-ground, mass production in the 1960’s. Among the ’60s stalwarts: Maxwell House and Hills Bros. These supermarket brands sold ground coffee product made from robusta beans, which are easier to grow, cheaper to buy, harsher to swallow, and generally inferior to arabica beans. The sweeter arabica berries contain less caffeine and deliver more depth, often with fruit and berry overtones. They are chiefly responsible for coffee’s “second wave,” which started in the 1970’s and ’80’s, introduced by boutique companies like Peet’s. READ MORE (Pages 62-69 of current edition.)
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