Stitcher for Podcasts

Get the App Open App
Bummer! You're not a
Stitcher Premium subscriber yet.
Learn More
Start Free Trial
$4.99/Month after free trial

Show Info

Episode Info

Episode Info:

"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:
  1. The Politics of Beyonce
  2. The Physics of Star Trek
  3. The Art of Walking
  1. [02:45] ECM 01 Syllabus
  1. Additional reading here (San Francisco Chronicle)
  1. [03:20] “Pain” by HileMele
  2. [04:00] Light reading on percentage of global coffee that is considered specialty (The Coffee Guide)
  3. [04:10] Light reading on the growth of specialty coffee over the past several years (SCA)
  4. [05:15] Shout out to the original Cosmic Calendar
  5. [05:25] “Drum Solo” by Turku Nomads of the Silk Road
  6. [05:30] The first reference of the term coffee can be found here in the Canon of Medicine (The World of Caffeine)
  7. [05:40] More on the tale of coffee being passed down to the Prophet Muhammad (The Literary Digest)
  8. [05:45] More on Kaldi and his dancing goats
  9. [06:00] On the history of coffee:
  1. Light reading on coffee and Islam
  2. Light reading on coffee and trade
  3. On the mixing of cultures and coffee after the Crusades
  4. On coffee and the Enlightenment era
  5. On coffee and the American Revolution
  6. On coffee and the Great War
  1. [06:25] Recommended reading on coffee history: Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast
  2. [06:30] Light reading on coffee’s etymology
  3. [06:45] “Perky” by Al Hirt
  1. That tune was used in Maxwell’s advertising campaign back in the day
  1. [07:00] Light reading on the concept of coffee waves
  1. Listen to a lecture that breaks down each wave
  2. More light reading on the concept of coffee waves
  1. [07:30] A short snippet from Mississippi John Hurt’sCoffee Blues
  2. [07:45] A montage of sexist coffee commercials from the ‘60s
  3. [07:55] “Pxl Eventaut” by Blue Dot Sessions
  4. [09:50] More on William Ristenpart
  5. [11:20] “Pxl Cray” by Blue Dot Sessions
  6. [11:25] The new coffee flavor wheel (SCA)
  7. [12:00] More on Molly Spencer
  8. [13:40] More on Hanna Neuschwander (@hneuschwander)
  1. Her book, Left Coast Roast
  1. [14:30] An overview of coffee prices over the last 45 years
  1. Related reading on coffee’s volatility (Daily Coffee News)
  2. Related reading on the markets around coffee (Perfect Daily Grind)
  1. [15:40] More on the differences between Arabica and Robusta beans (Coffee Chemistry)
  1. Related reading on specialty robusta beans (Barista Magazine)
  1. [16:10] More on the different coffee processing methods (Sweet Maria’s)
  2. [16:25] “Pxl Htra” by Blue Dot Sessions
  3. [16:30] More on the coffee grading rubric (SCAA)
  4. [17:00] More on Alejandro Martinez and his farm Finca Argentina
  1. A deeper dive on Martinez’s workflow and operational costs
  1. [19:10] More on Brett Smith
  1. And on Counter Culture
  2. And its 2017 transparency report
  1. [21:30] “Platax” by Blue Dot Sessions
  2. [21:40] A graphic overview of the coffee supply chain
  3. [21:55] Related: Light reading on how to purchase coffee (Sweet Maria’s)
  4. [22:45] Related: Light reading on starting a roastery (Daily Coffee News)
  5. [23:00] Related: Light reading on what goes into roasting (Cafe Culture)
  6. [23:25] Related: Light reading on roast profiles
  7. [23:50] More on Kyle Glanville (@glanvillain)
  8. [24:20] Light reading on Espresso Vivace (Sprudge)
  9. [24:45] “Clay Pawn Shop” by Blue Dot Sessions
  10. [25:00] Light reading on the economics of running a coffee shop (Investopedia)
  1. Related: Deeper dive on coffee shop economics
  1. [25:40] SNL’s Michael Che on $18 coffee (NY Post)
  2. [25:50] Light reading on Gesha coffees (Daily Coffee News)
  3. [26:15] Related reading on the rise of the minimum wage (NPR)
  4. [26:20] More on Ritual’s $12 cup of coffee (Barista Magazine)
  5. [27:30] “Time Up” by Blue Dot Sessions
  6. [27:45] The story behind those blue and white greek coffee cups (Narratively)
  7. [28:20] More on Anand Sheth
  1. [28:50] “Vulcan Street” by Blue Dot Sessions
  2. [29:00] Detailed photos of the Sightglass on 20th Street (Knstrct)
  3. [30:00] “Vulcan Street-Dew Morning” by Blue Dot Sessions
  4. [32:00] More on Brian Jones (@brianwjones) of DCILY
  5. [34:40] “Pushback” by Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping
  6. [35:15] Light reading on Frank Braconi  
  7. [36:30] “Warm Fingers” by Blue Dot Sessions
  8. [36:35] Light reading on what is the middle class (CNN)
  9. [36:50] More on Braconi’s 2004 study
  1. A deeper read on the study (The New Yorker)
  1. [37:20] "Burrow Burrow" by Blue Dot Sessions
  2. [37:50] Light reading on a follow-up study by both Braconi and Columbia University Prof. Lance Freeman (City Lab)
  3. [39:30] Bay Area salaries for computer engineers
  4. [40:20] Light reading on economic state of New York City in the 70s
  5. [41:30] Related: Light reading on Rev. Billy and his protest against Starbucks
  6. [41:50] More on the rate of gentrification (Governing Magazine)
  7. [43:20] Related: A Film About Coffee
  8. [45:00] More on Charles Babinski
  1. Related: He was also in the documentary Barista
  1. [47:30] Light reading on the Hasta Muerte Coffee (East Bay Express)
  1. Related: Protest at the coffee shop (KTVU)
  1. [48:05] “Noe Noe” by Blue Dot Sessions
  2. [48:30] Light reading on the coffee industry’s #MeToo movement (San Francisco Chronicle)
  3. [48:50] Light reading on SCA’s decision to host its World Coffee Championships in Dubai (Sprudge)
  4. [49:30] More on the impact of climate change and coffee (Barista Magazine)
  1. Related: Science with a solution to coffee’s climate change problem (The Chicago Tribune)
  1. [49:35] More on the percentage of coffee lands that will become unusable (NPR)
  1. A specific case study on Ethiopia’s coffee (Science Friday)
  2. Related: the increased spread of rust on coffee plants (The Guardian)
  3. Related: A visual overview of coffee’s environmental dilemma (BBC)
  1. [49:40] More on deforestation, climate change and coffee (Conservation International)
  2. [50:00] More on the sale of Stumptown (The New York Times)
  1. The sale of Peets (Los Angeles Times)
  2. The sale of Intelligentsia (Eater)
  3. The sale of Blue Bottle (San Francisco Chronicle)
  4. And the portfolio of the JAB Holding Company
  1. [50:50] More on Nick Cho (@nickcho) (San Francisco Magazine)
  2. [57:20] “Fake Empire” cover by Lotte Kestner
  3. [59:30] @thisissomenoise | @thisissomenoise
  4. [59:40] Recommended Podcasts To Listen to:
  1. Scene on Radio’s Seeing White Series
  2. KPCC’S Repeat Podcast
  3. Alexis Madrigal’s Container Series

79. More at

Read more »

Discover more stories like this.

Like Stitcher On Facebook


Show Info

Episode Options

Listen Whenever

Similar Episodes

Related Episodes