As our world continues to evolve and expand, sometimes the origins of things, the details and processes seem to get lost. I’m always curious about where things come from, the story, the people, and the hands that go into each thing that we consume. It seems that wherever you may be, there is someone that can provide you with what you need, locally.
In 2006 the owners of Higher Grounds Coffee Roasters, located in a small town called Leeds, Alabama, gave Natalie a bag of their freshly roasted, fair-trade, organic coffee beans. Since that day, Higher Grounds has been a staple here at Alabama Chanin, something that we look forward to enjoying each morning. When we received that first bag of coffee, it seemed that local coffee roasters in the South were few and far between. Fast forward six years and it seems that everywhere you look there are new and exciting things happening in the coffee world.
As we all strive to make things slower, simpler and closer, it’s nice to focus in on the small things that we tend to take for granted. This weekend I decided to go on a short road trip to Leeds, where I met the people responsible for roasting our coffee. Higher Grounds is located in a small downtown area, the kind that makes me breathe in and sigh with gladness. I spent a lovely rainy afternoon chatting about seeing, smelling, touching, and tasting coffee. I encourage you all to find a local roaster. Get to know them – you might even luck out the way that I did and get to play a game of foosball with the head roaster, leave with a trunk full of coffee hulls to be used as fertilizer and burlap sacks for future projects.
I’m planning a roasting tour of the south to find more places like this. What are your favorite roasters? Do you have any stories to tell about where your coffee comes from? Perhaps you roast your own coffee beans at home. I’d love to know your coffee bean story!
Bald Guy Brew in Boone, NC (Southern Appalachian Mountains) roasts all organic, fair trade/sustainable beans. The owner is extremely involved in our small town’s community and is also very involved in promoting biking, bike lanes, rental bikes, etc. in an effort to reduce auto traffic on our over taxed mountain roads.
One time I decided to try roasting my own beans. I fired up my wood cookstove and cooked them in a cast iron skillet. I can’t say it was the best coffee I had ever had but the whole experience was memorable. And my house smelled great!