Book: God In A Cup

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Book: God In A Cup

Postby onocoffee on Wed May 07, 2008 11:22 am

Just started reading Michaele Weissman's God In a Cup and already I've found somethings that makes me cringe:

God In A Cup, page 4 wrote:Coffee guys aren't always the greatest historians, and there are many debates about what and who compose the First, Second, and Third Waves of the specialty coffee industry-all the young coffee dudes seem to believe without question, though, that they, the Third Wave, are the stars of the movie.


God In A Cup, page 5 wrote:The Third Wave guys deplore the automation of cafe culture.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Jim Schulman on Wed May 07, 2008 3:17 pm

She was cupping at George Howell's when Abe and I were visiting. It appeared that this was one of her earlier stops in her research for the book. George is one of the specialty coffee originals, and has a very different set of historical waves from the west coast Peets to Starbucks to USBC version. My guess is that her comment arises from this disjunction of perspectives. Peter Lynagh probably knows more than me about this.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby nick on Wed May 07, 2008 3:37 pm

onocoffee wrote:Just started reading Michaele Weissman's God In a Cup and already I've found somethings that makes me cringe:

Jay, I'd resist your cringing reflex... you've gotta leave some room for some stuff that comes up later in the book. :shock: :?

Jim Schulman wrote:...and has a very different set of historical waves from the west coast Peets to Starbucks to USBC version.

huh? wha?
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby onocoffee on Wed May 07, 2008 7:58 pm

nick wrote:Jay, I'd resist your cringing reflex... you've gotta leave some room for some stuff that comes up later in the book. :shock: :?


Oh, I'm sure there will be more to come as I continue reading.

I just hope the "Third Wave" starts to look better as the book progresses because I'm unhappy with how our "wave" is being portrayed so early in the book. 'Cause if this is how we look, I'm embarrassed.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby nick on Thu May 08, 2008 4:10 am

Jay, as is true in other contexts, if you choose to "pick out" only the "embarrassing" stuff, then you'll be thoroughly "satisfied."

If you choose to focus on only the negatives about someone or something, then your prophecy is self-fulfilled. This is true about the way people look at you, Jay... the way people look at me... the way you seem to view the "Third Wave," etc.

There's some great stuff in this book... more than just the "naughty bits." You're not fast-forwarding past the non-naughty stuff, are you? :wink:
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Jeff Givens on Thu May 08, 2008 7:28 am

God In A Cup, page 4 wrote:Coffee guys aren't always the greatest historians, and there are many debates about what and who compose the First, Second, and Third Waves of the specialty coffee industry-all the young coffee dudes seem to believe without question, though, that they, the Third Wave, are the stars of the movie.

I wouldn't cringe too much. Humility usually isn't a trait associated with youth.

I found the book to be a very balanced, comprehensive look at a segment of the specialty coffee industry through the eyes of someone not burdened with the cultural baggage of being an "insider."
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby sarahdelilah on Thu May 08, 2008 9:58 am

Though Michaele is a lyrical writer, there are too many inaccuracies and tidbits included for nothing besides their rating on a salacious scale to ignore. Ryan Wllbur's name is misspelled. Kyle Glanville is referred to as Glanville Kyle. Heather's company is referred to as the Koffee Klatch. And I gotta say that while it's good for a chuckle to imagine Duane speeding around Portland on rollerblades, that's not at all what I meant when I said "he's a punk rocker and a skater," and anyone reading the book will know that, too.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Klaus on Thu May 08, 2008 10:21 am

:lol: I can't wait to read this book now. Thanks Sarah.

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Re: God In A Cup

Postby trish on Thu May 08, 2008 10:55 am

Image
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Matt Milletto on Thu May 08, 2008 11:37 am

I think it is closer to this trish :)

Image

*edited to reflect shred factor
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby trish on Thu May 08, 2008 1:46 pm

*had to change this cuz matt changed his pic above*
Now now, Matt! We need to quit our clowning around. Our Jay has some real hard-hitting relevant questions on the table about this Third Wave business. C'mon, get serious already. Our industry is spinning out of control and this book will certainly make things worse!
(I think he called the COTY a Banana Republic the last time I saw him.)
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Peter G on Fri May 09, 2008 7:40 pm

It is impossible for me to have much perspective on the book. I will agree with Sarah, however; the small inaccuracies are maddening. But that's neither here nor there, I think the bigger picture is a pretty clear exposition of Michaele's impression of our world. It's always crazy to see things through someone else's eyes.

But to Jay's post specifically; Michaele did make the clear point that we are sometimes brash and forget the contributions of those who came before us in coffee. While it is sometimes natural to overlook your own roots, I hope to spend more time learning and talking about those who have done this before us. I know that after reading the book, I was motivated to get on coffeed and talk about all the people who didn't make it into the book, for whatever reason. The specialty coffee movement was created and is driven by a host of incredible, talented individuals; all of whom deserve to be celebrated.

It is tempting to use well-worn phrases like "standing on the shoulders of giants" when talking about the latest iteration of the great coffee trade. However, the truth is that our industry is a vast interconnected web, and examination of any segment of it leads to the realization that we are totally reliant on coffee producers, exporters, importers, consumers, other coffee professionals past and present, critics and zealots. We sometimes spend a little too much time working diligently on our own little segment of the web, and forgetting the rest which surrounds us and supports us.

Anyway, those are my thoughts this evening.........

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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Marshall on Sun May 11, 2008 7:19 pm

Oh, stop your bitchin', everyone. How often do you read a hardcover book where you personally know most of the people in the index?
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby onocoffee on Sun May 11, 2008 8:19 pm

Marshall wrote:Oh, stop your bitchin', everyone. How often do you read a hardcover book where you personally know most of the people in the index?



I just want to know what the tiff is between Peter G. and Duane that is mentioned in the book.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby DarrinDaniel on Mon May 12, 2008 8:30 am

Would it not be pertinent that the author "got it right" first. The book is factually, historically and culturally out of focus. I take issue with so many points after reading the book that i won't even begin; the mis-characterization hurts all of us who are committed to balancing and structuring an specialty movement that must remain true to its vision and mission.

Kudos to those who were profiled (especially the actual producers), but not spelling or getting basic information correct, is deplorable. Sadly, since i have some experience as an publisher and editor, the book industry and Wiley look ridiculous; their fact checkers/editors/interns must have trusted the author's apparent expertise regarding her subject(s). The trend in the media arts to cover facts with "spinny" cool attempts at non-fiction is a big let down.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Jeff Givens on Mon May 12, 2008 10:35 am

DarrinDaniel wrote:I take issue with so many points after reading the book that i won't even begin


Please do. Free discussion is what this forum should be about.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby trish on Mon May 12, 2008 11:09 am

DarrinDaniel wrote:Would it not be pertinent that the author "got it right" first. The book is factually, historically and culturally out of focus. I take issue with so many points after reading the book that i won't even begin; the mis-characterization hurts all of us who are committed to balancing and structuring an specialty movement that must remain true to its vision and mission.

.


Darrin,
you can't just leave it like that and not get specific.
I want to be forthcoming and say that I met Michaele before I read her book, and immediately developed a "mom-crush" on her. Still, I have things I can complain about regarding the book.
I've read about half of it so far. I've identified a lot of inaccuracies, but in my mind they're sort of irrelevant in inconsequential to the overall idea of the book. Other stuff just annoys me like the constant reference to "guys" in coffee.
But, I don't see this as historically/culturally out of focus at all. Overall, the layperson will come away with the idea that coffee is far more labor-intensive, specialized, and beloved than perhaps they ever realized it could be. That's a good thing for all of us.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby DarrinDaniel on Mon May 12, 2008 12:04 pm

Trish
I will go through and illustrate the many places where I see inaccuracies and email it to you. How's that sound? Give me a couple days to go back through and highlight my points. I would love to do that.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby sarahdelilah on Mon May 12, 2008 12:21 pm

Darrin,

It would be awesome if you'd post it here, too...
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby drew johnson on Mon May 12, 2008 2:50 pm

what kind of book could any have us have written if we were only pedestrian observers and not full-time participants in this industry? this grafted, partial section of the industry?

michaele didn't write a perfect book, whatever the hell that is, and sure there are the misspellings and some factual glitches. i don't think she claims omniscience, and i don't think she ever states or implies she has her finger on the pulse of the whole industry. ok her editor missed some stuff and a few things look rushed to press. but is that the extent of the criticism? prolly not.

she knows she only focusses on a fraction of those involved - disproportionately male, young and white (as is much of this end of production). she took on a section, a fraction, of the quality industry. she sparks a few more conversations, she provokes a few arguments. what else should one book, one author, do? especially when she wades into it green and new.

at present, there is a dearth of this type of informal, 'mainstream' maybe, literature concerning things only partially explored but at least given mention in the book (fair trade and direct; cultural blind spots bred of inexperience and ignorance of local cultures and ways of being; organizational disasters within some co-ops and unions; sexism; free market money raining from the sky and the ensuing scramble; etc etc). with the exception of what is said in private and some of what can be accessed on-line, sequestered from the casual but potentially interested public, these issues suffer from lack of debate and intellectual rigor even within this industry. in my opinion, we often look to the forums, blogs, industry mags, and odd nytimes piece to see 'our' industry represented, and at times it seems new, premature and odd from lack of greater exposure and commentary. the former can be impoverished by insiderism and the necessity of acting within the lines of what our employers will tolerate or our competitors not take offense to/with. all due respect to barista mag or other trade mags, but it is not exactly their mandate to interrogate some of the stars of the show. on the other hand, nytimes and other mainstream press coverage is often as full of the stated inaccuracies or the always annoying, recently aquired and brandished 'knowledge'.

has michaele taken it all on? nah. she wrote a book that a foodie and accomplished writer - in this case a dedicated food lover, with an eye for celebrated ritual and craft - who is on a new assignment, writes. she is obviously enamoured by a lot of it, mystified by some of it, and turned off by some more. add partially informed on a bit, but as i said, she just walked in. hell, i know a shit-load of us that have spoke too loud, too early, or stayed mum when we should be saying something to put our necks out. stand with our words.

funny, now i don't want to post this. ah well.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Mark Prince on Mon May 12, 2008 4:14 pm

DarrinDaniel wrote:Trish
I will go through and illustrate the many places where I see inaccuracies and email it to you. How's that sound? Give me a couple days to go back through and highlight my points. I would love to do that.


Why not post them here? You damned the book publicly here, and are just leaving it at that, without any backing up?

Not to put you on the spot purposely here, but right now, all you wrote was unfounded tease. I'd like the meat, please.

Mark (who just finished the book)
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Marshall on Mon May 12, 2008 6:31 pm

Mark Prince wrote:
DarrinDaniel wrote:Trish
I will go through and illustrate the many places where I see inaccuracies and email it to you. How's that sound? Give me a couple days to go back through and highlight my points. I would love to do that.


Why not post them here? You damned the book publicly here, and are just leaving it at that, without any backing up?

Not to put you on the spot purposely here, but right now, all you wrote was unfounded tease. I'd like the meat, please.

Mark (who just finished the book)

This happens every time a non-specialist journalist writes in depth. The specialists (journalist or not) jump to point out the errors, of which there are always many, such being the nature of research and writing by generalists. For myself, if they get the important themes and 90% of the facts right, I'm more than happy.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Brett Hanson on Mon May 12, 2008 6:43 pm

I haven't formed my own answer to this question yet. Who reads these books?

Is it the general public the audience? If so, I would tend to agree with the "who cares" comments.

Is it for professionals and fanatics? If so, maybe errors should carry more merit. I'm leaning towards this answer- I have a shelf full of similar books (though not this one yet- birthday's coming up), but I can't think of a single non-coffee-friend that would even borrow mine.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby Jeff Givens on Mon May 12, 2008 7:19 pm

Brett Hanson wrote:I haven't formed my own answer to this question yet. Who reads these books?

Is it the general public the audience? If so, I would tend to agree with the "who cares" comments.

Is it for professionals and fanatics? If so, maybe errors should carry more merit. I'm leaning towards this answer- I have a shelf full of similar books (though not this one yet- birthday's coming up), but I can't think of a single non-coffee-friend that would even borrow mine.


We may end up being the majority of folks who buy this book, but it clearly was aimed at the general public.
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Re: God In A Cup

Postby SL28ave on Mon May 12, 2008 7:32 pm

FWIW, I grabbed my copy off the Barnes and Noble shelf. Maybe not the best physical position in the store, but there nonetheless.
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