Tierras Planas: What Road are You (We) On?

We are a local coffee roaster, but we love to travel. Everyone travels. Some of us travel far, and some of us stay closer to home. However, we all travel. Some of us have been fortunate to travel far and see cultures, peoples, and objects we might never have had the chance to see had we not been on the road we were on at the time.

I was fortunate to be on the road that took me to India, albeit only for 36 hours or so. I met some of the nicest people I had ever met in all my work travels. Our hosts for that business meeting knew they had the opportunity to share their land with a person who might never get to step foot in India again. What did we do? They took me to a Hindu Temple, including a multiple story worship area, that was carved into the stone side of a mountain. With the help of our hosts, my life crossed paths with thousands of peoples across millennia at a single waypoint.

While we are on our roads, we need to be open to those around us, as our roads might be crossing or they might be parallel. Both roads have impacts on our daily lives and oftentimes have significant immediate impacts; however, many times we miss those around us by not seeing or asking, “how are you?”

Global Ideas in Local Coffee

While I was coffee roasting today, transferring a roast from the small roaster to the large roaster, this concept hit me! My process with a new coffee is to roast several different roasts on the small roaster to find the ideal roast. After identification and several times roasting the coffee, I “transfer” the roast to the large roaster.

Transferring the roast is like getting a new coffee in the program again. While the roast that I generated on the little machine should work directly on the large roaster, it doesn’t. The roasters look alike, little and big brother, and operate very similarly; however, in function, there are differences. Each of the thermocouples reads differently. And in the case of the big roaster, one of them reads extremely differently when the roaster is empty with very large swings in temperature; however, when the roasting coffee is washing their absorbed heat onto the delicate instrument, this one particular thermocouple is more accurate than the other five.

Time is the road map I was told when looking between the two machines. Don’t worry about the temperature…but the temperature is what cooks the beans. Well, time marks are the waypoints on the road map and temperature is the view at that waypoint. I have learned to navigate between both machines to an endpoint with different waypoints in the middle. The future of coffee depends on improving the quality, seed to cup.

You see, regardless of which machine I am working on, my endpoint is the same: the best roasted coffee any single origin can be. Both machines get me there; however, I have to be willing to look at different waypoints to see the same scenery.

The differences in view between the roasters have helped in seeing differences because of opportunities that are sitting in front of me. Being able to see these waypoints by opening my eyes AND my mind, I hope to be able to see different waypoints and have a different view as we travel along to our destination. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t see Jesus (Luke 24:13). Their eyes HAD been on Jesus, their conversation WAS on Jesus…even WITH Jesus; however, with everything they had been through, they were not able to see what was in front of them.

They continued their journey and invited this “stranger” to sup with them as evening came upon them. Not until after Jesus did something they recognized (breaking bread), did they recognize him (Luke 24:30-31).

As we look at how life travels in front of us, we have to remember each of us has a story and with that story, each has a different view at different waypoints. Waypoints for each of our journeys overlap; however, each of us sees something different, even with the same goal in sight! Let’s do what we can as we see our waypoints- to try to see others’ waypoints and open our eyes, hearts, and minds to those views. We might just get to see something spectacular that we were not expecting while on our journey. This is the core of Tierras Planas’ sit and savor culture.

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