Research and Workshops
Coffee, Tea and Serving Cultures
Hospitality is the utmost dedication to serve, and our mission will be best achieved by understanding the substance and creation of our product. The consumption and to-go mentality that are prevalent in the United States of America, have spread throughout the global coffee culture during the last three decades. Since the early days of the specialty coffee and third-wave movements in the 1970’s, much knowledge and dedication have been imparted to societies through the work of the coffee shop barista. These baristi have created a new coffee market and greatly contributed to the birth of an increasingly demanding palate in the modern-day coffee drinker. However, this contemporaneous approach does not eliminate the importance of earlier coffee brewing cultures, guided less by commerce than by the religious or social mindset, where the aim is not to service but to serve – be it for profit or at home. In cities like Vienna or in countries like Ethiopia, Indonesia and Japan, the brewing and serving of hot drinks stem from a more cultural and existential, even metaphysical approach less from a commercial standpoint. Such uniquely local traditions are the framework for this trip.
As I write, I am packing – cameras, bow ties, cufflinks, pipes, cigars – and preparing for a four-week trip that will cover mostly Indonesia and Japan. This will be an intense workshop and research period on local customs and methods, some of which I will be applying daily to my own on-site brewing, sieving and cooking. I will meet with farmers, craftsmen and tea and coffee professionals, to deepen an understanding in the culture of serving as it is practiced by some century-old cultures. It is an opportunity to contact textile, ceramic and porcelain manufacturers.
These activities will all help towards a sound completion of the Aristippösian Poet concept, before the operation phase for a social and cultural gathering place begins in New York City, towards the end of 2018.
Alongside its centuries of tea tradition, Japan is home to one of the most diverse and dynamic coffee scenes of the world. In 1948, Ichiro Sekiguchi acquired sacks of coffee left behind in a hurry by the Germans. With these, he began roasting and serving coffee in his Café de L’ambre in Tokyo, as he still does today at the respectable age of 104. His specialty is the brewing of vintage African and American coffees which he meticulously ages over decades.
In addition to the traditional kissaten in Japan, where coffee, tea and breakfast are served, and to many other establishments where specialty and third-wave coffee are offered, the country has a porcelain and pottery history that dates back more than 12,000 years.
Further south, Indonesia has its own coffee and tea cultures. One of the major tea producers of the world, it is also famously known for its particular Kopi (=coffee) Luwak. Luwak is the local name for the Asian Palm Civet. This small mammal loves to eat ripe coffee berries. Once defecated, the droppings are collected by the locals, cleaned, and the digested seeds are roasted. Indonesians also have developed their own coffee roasting traditions. Their coffee brewing may include the use of ginger, charcoal, lemongrass and various spices. In their farms they cultivate a variety of coffee plants.
Beyond being a research and contact acquisition period, the trip will result in a series of artistic and documentary photographs. For the first time I will be able to capture original takes on farming, labor and nature connected with coffee, tea and other products found in the equator. These photographs will serve as motifs for greeting cards, and will be used for promotion and printed material of the Aristippösian Poet brand.
Follow the Aristipösian Poet developments on social media, as much will be happening to keep your palate, mind and spirit interested.