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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sightglass Coffee's Archie Archer on the Future of Your Cups of Joe

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 9:00 AM

SFoodie is sitting down with the city's most intelligent, influential, and experienced coffee folk to pick their brain about what makes our city such a hot bed of coffee trends.Today we speak with Archie Archer of Sightglass Coffee about his dedication to discovering the beauty and individual experiences of a single cup of coffee.

What is it about coffee that fascinates you so much?

Seeking beauty and sharing experiences -- that's my purpose in life. When you taste excellent coffee, it can be traced back to the work of the farmers, the varietal, the quality of processing and the terroir. When I taste a great cup of coffee, I have an empirical experience with that product. There's so much beauty in that cup it's almost spiritual. It can be wine or coffee or a painting, they all have this inspirational beauty that we can't fully explain and it is so exciting to explore that.

What is your philosophy on the sourcing, roasting and drinking of coffee?

We try to gather so much information about each offering's variables -- soil, climate, etc. -- so we can have a greater understanding of each coffee. We roast each coffee in a particular way to celebrate the taste of these coffees based on their individual variables. The roasting process isn't just light or dark roast; it's complex and fantastically interesting, and we draw on our personal experiences, experimentation and incessant tasting to help create the best experiences.

We try to ensure that you're going to be able to taste the quality in the cup. We know, because of our knowledge of variables, that coffee changes, and that's what's why we love it so much. We should taste that change in each cup and celebrate that change in whatever way best suits those specific characteristics.

Where do you want the world of coffee in 5 years?

I want to see more variance in coffee. I want more experimental brewing methods to allow each difference in the coffee to shine. I want more excitement and education between customer and provider. I want customers getting excited about the varietals of coffee like wine customers get excited. I want customers to be excited about a Costa Rican caturra like a wine customer might be excited about a wine from Burgundy.

How do we get to that point?

It's all about knowledge and combining that knowledge with service. Getting customers to a point where they aren't just fulfilling a morning ritual of getting caffeinated -- they're becoming particular and educated about what they drink and how they drink it. You won't just consume coffee to get a caffeine fix like you don't just drink an nice bottle of wine to get drunk. You'll go to coffee shops because it'll be interesting and exciting to have a five-minute conversation about a certain varietal with your barista.

What are your thoughts on the San Francisco scene?

Only in San Francisco can you sit down with roasters, baristas, owners, and trainers all from so many coffee shops and be connected with a community that is trying, as a whole, to lift up the scene. It's amazing.

Who else is doing interesting things with coffee in San Francisco right now?

Ecco, De La Paz, Ritual, Four Barrel ... the list just goes on and on.


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