gocoffeego.com: How Passion Drives the Enduring Specialty Coffee Movement

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If you find yourself living life at a rapid pace, and in need of slowing things down, enjoying a good cup of coffee can offer a great start.

Brew some coffee. Enjoy the aroma. Take a seat. Pour a cup.

Whether you’re starting your day with a first cuppa, taking a mid-afternoon break or winding down with a post-dinner refresher, a coffee, espresso, cappuccino or latte can create a space that’s just for you.

The toned-down pace afforded by a cup of caffeine also reflects the origins of the Specialty Coffee Movement.

“Specialty Coffee is produced with love and care,”said Elise Papazian, co-founder of San Francisco-based GoCoffeeGo.com. “It can never be rushed.

“It’s all about high quality and takes a lot of effort, starting at the farm level with the best product. It is about the best soil, the best climate and how it is handled and sorted. Only the sweetest and ripest coffee cherries are picked. Waiting, caring and babying these plants is essential—and it takes time. The best coffee roasters in the industry know and care about this.”

Elise speaks of Specialty Coffee from a commanding place of authority.

She and her late husband, Scott Pritikin, became pioneers in the Specialty Coffee Movement when they launched GoCoffeeGo more than 14 years ago. They helped the movement coalesce with their vision for the first multi-roaster coffee eCommerce site to sell espresso, single origin coffee and blends from award-winning coffee roasters.

Offering coffee subscriptions, GoCoffeeGo.com sells everything from traditional dark roasts to geeky light roasts, all with rare, exotic, and unique wild flavors. The coffees originate from nearly three dozen top U.S. roasters. Everything is roasted to order—and shipped the same day, direct, from the roaster to your doorstep.

The coffee expertise that Elise shares with her teenage son Oliver—a GoCoffeeGo consultant—reflects another aspect of the Specialty Coffee Movement. Both are Q Graders, professionals skilled in the sensory evaluation of coffee. The “special” in Specialty Coffee Movement is due in large part to its Q grading, as these types of roasts must attain a score of 80 or higher.

And this is what you will find at GoCoffeeGo.

“We carry a continuous selection of ever-changing, amazing coffees, be it a special micro-lot grown on the side of a volcano; or a special Geisha coffee, which has wonderful floral notes; to a delicious, people-pleasing chocolatey-blend,” Elise said. “We basically try to have something for every different type of coffee drinker, whether it’s the everyday coffee drinker or total coffee geek.”

This is how GoCoffeeGo maintains its nearly two-decades long position of leadership in the Specialty Coffee Movement. As with other key players in the Movement, GoCoffeGo emerged as a solo flier among solo fliers.

When we started GoCoffeeGo, people at the time may have known of a great coffee roaster in their own hometown,” Elise said. “But how would they learn about new roasters? Or hear about a great coffee brand in Topeka, Kansas?

“You may not ever learn about it unless you’ve traveled there, or maybe the town where you attended college had a great coffee shop and you discovered a wonderful new roast. But there was really no way for the general public to be able to try these coffees because they wouldn’t even know about them.”

This explains how GoCoffeeGo played such a pivotal role in helping to launch the Specialty Coffee Movement. Elise and Scott were traveling in London and craving a good cup of coffee in a town that is not known for its coffee.

So they hatched the idea for GoCoffeeGo—a vehicle for finding great coffees and shipping them to discerning coffee drinkers—right there and then.

“At the time, if you searched on the internet for ‘Best Coffee Beans,’ everyone under the sun came up. How could anyone tell what was what? Who was the real deal and who was selling sludge with a big ad budget?

“When we started, we couldn’t tell. We did our own research and ordered anonymously and cupped the coffees. We came up with our top picks and pulled these coffee brands together. We did the research, so the public did not have to.”

But Elise also gives credit where credit is due.

She said passionate roasters from around the country played as much of a role in spreading the word about good coffee. And when they—along with GoCoffeeGo—hit critical mass, they created momentum to launch the Specialty Coffee Movement for the everyday coffee drinker.

These roasters include: 

  • Paul and Joan Katzeff of Thanksgiving Coffee in Fort Bragg, California
  • Mike and Laura Johnson of JBC Roasters in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Eileen Hassi of Ritual Coffee in San Francisco
  • Mike Perry of Klatch Coffee in Rancho Cucamonga, California
  • Jeff Taylor and Fred Polzen of PT’s in Topeka, Kansas

“What makes these roasters rock stars in the coffee world is the effort they make to get the best product,” Elise said. “These veteran roasters spend a good portion of their year flying around the world, meeting growers and procuring the finest beans.”

Illustrating how many strands can join together as a collective movement, the coffees from each of these roasters can be purchased on GoCoffeeGo.com.

“These were roasters who just truly had a passion for great coffee,” Elise said. “They really cared about the quality of the coffee. It was like the gourmet food world. These specialty coffee roasters cared deeply about the quality of the coffee and going that extra 10 miles to make sure they were creating really special stuff.”

Elise’s long standing, deep passion for coffee also spurred the Movement by bringing her around the world to sample coffees. She traveled to 26 countries and learned as much as she could about European coffees and roasts. And that was one way she set the stage for her and Scott to launch GoCoffeeGo.

And then there is the history of coffee, as spelled out on GoCoffeeGo.com. Coffee of its own doing, throughout history, has served as a catalyst for bringing people together while inspiring thought, conversation, action—and movements.

In 1650 in Oxford, according to Scott’s “History of Coffee,” the first coffeehouse in England opened near the university and set the stage for the establishment of the Oxford Coffee Club.

“The college all-nighter was born, and with it the creation of innovative theories and ideas shared not only by students, but also by leading scientists like Sir Robert Boyle,” reads GoCoffeeGo.com. King Charles II eventually shut the coffeehouse down.  

Three hundred years later, in the 1950s, Scott wrote, coffee helped inspire the Beats.

A modern generation of coffeehouses took hold, not only pulsating to the new beat rhythms of jazz, but also pulsating to the revolutionary/avant-garde thoughts of the Beat Movement,” reads GoCoffeeGo.com.

“As throughout history, coffee houses were once again central to debate, as well as being the epicenter of cultural movements that defy convention. At coffee shops in San Francisco’s North Beach and in New York’s Greenwich Village, the poets and intellectuals known as Beatniks hung out, drank espresso and had lively philosophical and political discussions that challenged the traditional ways of the 1950s. These Bohemians were the forerunners of the cultural, political and sexual revolutions that arrived in the 1960s and changed our world forever.

“Still, to this day, these historic coffee shops, as well as their counter- culture-counterparts throughout the United States, attract modern-day free thinkers who come together over a cup of coffee and move our societies forward.”

Visit GoCoffeeGo.com to learn more.

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