ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - For some, it’s a morning routine. For others, it’s a pick-me-up at the end of a long day. In fact, drinking coffee is such an integral part of so many people’s lives that it might surprise you to know this is the first year ever that there has been an “International Coffee Day.” The International Coffee Organization declared October 1 of this year a special day to promote and celebrate coffee as a beverage.
A great deal of work goes into serving you that morning roast. Barista Emma Durband lists some of the many drinks her customers prefer.
"There are lots of different ways to get that caffeine jolt... you can have your steamed milk coffee... you can have your pour-overs... you can have just your espresso drinks," said Durband.
It takes about three minutes to get your morning cup of coffee, but most of the hard work happens behind the scenes.
Beans have to be sourced from all over the world. And the perfect cup can only come from the perfect beans.
Swing’s Coffee has been serving the Washington area for a century now. They have a routine they follow to make sure each cup meets their high standards. That’s why a grader -- or coffee expert -- like Neil Balkcom tests samples before ordering the beans.
"The secret to the perfect roast is really understanding the bean itself. There are a lot of variables that exist within coffee and the supply chain of coffee," he said. "Effectively what we’re trying to do here is source the best beans that we can... reveal the best quality that they inherently already have... and present that to our customers."
And even when the tested coffee orders come in, the work continues.
"It’s quality control that we do every day. We’re doing it throughout the day to make sure that roast to roast to roast is consistent," said Balkcom.
From quality control, to consulting with the growers, to packaging for distribution, to serving it up for you to drink, much more goes into a cup of coffee than one might think, even if you didn’t know there was such a thing as International Coffee Day.
"Is it... is it coffee day? Is it coffee day? National Coffee Day. National Coffee Day?" asks customer Michael Keegan.
Customer Wes Dewalt was equally ignorant.
"Ugh...that means I should've gotten a discount on my coffee today. Nah I didn't know that...I didn't know," he said.