It’s instinctual for most: hopping out of bed in the morning (or, in some cases, crawling) and immediately searching out our first cup of coffee. An often underappreciated aspect of our daily routine, many of us will settle for a simple cup of gas station coffee to start off our day. Others act as pseudo-connoisseurs in the coffee world, spouting off lengthy drink orders at our local Starbucks to acquire the perfect cup. But what really goes into creating that cup of life-blood each and every morning?
Brandon Davenport and Jesse Meeker of The Pancake Epidemic, have worked to discover just that. A subdivision of the creative development, marketing and consulting firm, StreetVirus, The Pancake Epidemic is situated fittingly above the IHOP Restaurant placed on the “Miracle Mile” of Los Angeles. The firm’s client list includes some impressive names, including Hurley, Disney, Jack Johnson and many more.
Davenport, the local self-proclaimed coffee expert of the office, decided to investigate the process required to make the best cup of coffee possible. Davenport has paired with Meeker to produce a YouTube series documenting the journey titled, “Caffeination.” In the first series, consisting of eight videos, Davenport hosts the show, proclaiming his desire to consume 100 cups of coffee before the conclusion of a two-week road trip across the central and western United States. Davenport eventually achieves this goal, after exploring breweries of Portland, San Francisco, Boulder, and several more — despite becoming admittedly over-caffeinated along the way.
Davenport discovers that the amount of care placed into roasting a simple cup of coffee is astounding. Luciano Repetto, a roaster at Graffeo Coffee in San Francisco, said, “Anything done well is an art. But roasting coffee is, first and foremost, a technology.”
Repetto uses the best technology to control the roast of his coffee beans to a single degree, ensuring optimal and consistent tasting cups.
Following this initial season’s success, Davenport and Meeker took this investigation one step farther, trekking to El Salvador to reach the source of the coffee commonly consumed in the United States. Here, Davenport speaks with coffee producer Aida Batlle.
Batlle works to carry on her family’s business of producing high-quality coffee. Batlle has done just that, earning a “Cup of Excellence” award. This Cup of Excellence is a three-week competition in which the Alliance of Coffee Excellence judges and recognizes the highest-quality coffee producers in the world. Not only does Batlle create an impeccable cup of coffee, she is also working toward complete sustainability in her family’s farming business. Meeker and Davenport document each step of the process of exporting coffee for consumers, such as those in the United States, to enjoy.
Davenport and Meeker, along with StreetVirus, have crafted a compelling series centered around a seemingly insignificant commodity of everyday life. The duo pushes us to think more deeply about the products that we consume, and to gain an appreciation of the craftsmanship necessary to create these products.
If you haven’t already, “Caffeination” is definitely worth checking out. Perhaps even, while enjoying your morning coffee. Watch it below.