In every commercial enterprise there seems to be an ever increasing frontier of magic words, like Jack’s magic beans, that promise to take the ‘thing’, whatever it may be, to ever increasing heights. As in everything else, it exists for coffee too. Magic words like ‘organic’, ‘fair trade’, ‘direct trade’ and ‘relationship coffee’. Add to those ‘seasonal’.
(Now at this point you’re probably saying to yourself which word is he going to single out for a verbal spanking and how is Sump doing it better than the implied person or persons this blog piece will be ever so indirectly and cleverly sniping at. I’m glad you asked. Seasonality. And no one.)
I often ask myself, what is the purpose of this ‘thing’ I do, and by ‘thing’ I mean living. Most days it’s about creating these small moments that resonate beyond the present -that accrete over time -thus becoming a full ‘thing’. And while creating those moments, knowing in the moment, that they can’t be held -that they don’t last. In a more artful articulation of this conception we have:
Oh, this is the joy of the rose:
That it blows,
"Everything flows and nothing abides [except the Dude],
everything gives way and nothing stays fixed."
(brackets my own)
(from the spiritual)
"Everything is in process. Everything —every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and inanimate —is always changing, moment to moment."
This brings me back to seasonality and coffee. Just like a local, in-season tomato tastes head and shoulders better than the tomatoes you get the rest of the year -so too does a coffee in season. And just as your palate yearns for that fleeting annual window for that tomato -so too does mine for certain coffees and certain times of year. But it’s not as simple as that, it’s a metaphor for the painful impermanence of every moment. Or think of it this way, when you were a kid (starting from some assumed shared regional and cultural in common factors), christmas happened once a year and you felt it, it took forever to come, but oh did it come. And even though it may have felt it some times, it didn’t sour the other 364 days.
So back to coffee and seasonality. It’s about to be christmas time for me. Come April/May -boom, bows and wrapping everywhere, because the new/fresh crop of Ethiopian and Kenyan coffees will start to make land fall in North America.
Now this fact, doesn’t make the other days or coffees less. It contextualizes the whole of the coffee drinking experience for me year round. If you follow the sun and hustle the harvest as the crops come in from around the world’s coffee growing regions, it makes each moment, though fleeting, feel rich, sometimes a bit sad, but always on the verge of that next amazing cup.