My father has been a woodworker for longer than I’ve been alive. His first wood shop was in the back garage of our house – there was a little wood pellet stove, saws, and tools galore all crammed into this two-car garage. When I was still really young he moved out of the garage and into his first proper shop across town.
My brother and I had to go to the shop after school and wait for my mom to get off work. I kind of dreaded going to the shop as I knew there was a never-ending sea of chores to be navigated through. Shoveling sawdust out from under the table saws, helping him label and file paperwork in the office, or even just picking up trash. I always wanted to cheat the system and quit early so I would ask questions like: “Am I finished?” to which he would reply: “If it’s done, you’re finished.”
The intention of his words was completely wasted on a young me, but looking back I was slowly building a work ethic that would serve me for the rest of my days. I just had no idea I’d use that work ethic to build a career in coffee.
He drank coffee out of a random can in those days and brewed it on a cheap little brewer in the office. Not much has changed. The gift my dad has with coffee is that he can pretty much enjoy anything. I can bring him some of the most beautiful coffees in the world – often lots I would use for USBC or Brewers Cup and he would say they were “Pretty good!” Which is the same thing he says about the coffee he gets from Trader Joe’s, or the coffee gets from McDonald’s.
It used to bug me that he couldn’t really tell the difference, or that the difference just didn’t matter to him, but now I see the beauty in it. He is able to just enjoy coffee – this great beverage we all love – with no agenda, and no pre-conceived notion of what quality is. Although this may seem like a limitation, he probably enjoys more coffee than us professionals or geeks do! He’s never let down…never wishing he had just a little more sweetness, never worried that he over-extracted it, or that the roast may be a touch underdeveloped or baked. Imagine how many awesome cups of coffee he’s had to how many us nerds have ripped apart and not enjoyed because we were overthinking it. There’s a lesson in there; sometimes it’s ok (even for us connoisseurs) to put on our normal people hats and just enjoy a cup of coffee.
So Happy Fathers Day dad. Thanks for teaching me about putting in the hard work and going A to Z. To show my appreciation I’m going to go brew myself some Geisha grown at 2,100 Meters and not think about it at all.
-Chris Baca is one half of the Tight Bros that make up www.trubaca.com