One World Roasters' Coffee Blog
The Art of Balance & The Worldly Blend
OWR Founder Eric Ciolino Explains His Philosophy
Hi there. My name is Eric and I am the owner and roast master at One World Roasters’ Organic and Fair Trade Coffee. In thinking over our coffee of the month for January (and personal favorite) – The Worldly Blend, I wanted to take this as an opportunity to give you a personal window into our philosophy over here.
Many of you who have met me in person at one of our many open events, have probably heard me talk about “finding balance in life.” I’ve probably said it enough times to warrant my own meme . . .
It’s a lofty phrase and it can mean something different to everyone in so many aspects of our lives, but in the case of One World Roasters, it represents exactly who we are and what we aspire to do on all levels.
Life is a lot of hard work, but as you know, that isn’t the whole story! Living is nurturing our passions, caring for others, broadening our horizons, challenging our assumptions, and, of course, taking time to smell the roses — or roasts rather ;)
It’s maintaining balance between these important things and keeping our eyes on the big picture that allows us to create the most happiness for ourselves and others around us, or half way across the world. In this post, I want to show you what I really mean by “finding balance” and how it applies specifically to OWR.
The Name & The Logo
Many people have asked me about One World’s title and logo. The title is somewhat self-explanatory, and I’ll touch more on it below under the “Mission” heading, but I want to take a moment to focus on the bean image first.
Most people notice that our logo appears to be some kind of “design with coffee beans” – which makes sense, but there’s more to it – it’s actually a play on the classic yin and yang symbol.
Whether you’ve studied Taoism or not, I’m sure you’re familiar with the iconic black and white swirl. – It’s a powerful symbol that speaks to balance and duality in life: light and dark, good and bad, one side of a story, and the other. It reflects how interconnected all of these seemingly opposing elements are and how, often times, the difference between the two is just our perspective.
I also get a kick out of how coffee fits into this parallel in the form of light and dark roasts. Perhaps you should balance out an OWR Black Kat Espresso with our Kenyan light roast!
On a more serious note, our coffee bean yin and yang is a reminder to me to keep things in perspective. Roasting the best coffee I can possibly get my hands on and sharing it with others are my biggest passions in life. I love everything about the roast process – I love learning new things from my creative trial and error – and I love using what I’ve learned to give people a nice pick me up on a hard day or expose them to new flavors they never knew could be captured in a cup of coffee!
With that said, at times it’s maddeningly hard work, and there are certainly days where it doesn’t feel like I’m “living the dream” and when I’d much rather lie down on the couch than lug big jute sacks around.
The philosophy of balance helps me to keep my grounding through these difficult days, weeks, or even months. It helps me to remember the good I’ve done on bad days, and all the progress I’ve made when it feels like I’m running in place.
It also helps me to remember that all the wonderful things I have going with One World Roasters would not be possible without the amazing people I have in my life and our passionate customers that I so deeply value and respect.
The Coffee Blend
In seeking to create both the balance I’ve spoken of and the unity that our name implies, I created our flagship coffee – “The Wordly Blend” over many years of experimentation.
My goal was to take my favorite elements of several coffees of rich and diverse backgrounds and unite them into a marvelous roast that reminds us (through our taste buds) to see the beauty and vibrance of all cultures.
Drawing a bean from each of the major coffee continents – South America, Africa, and Asia – I’ve created a top-secret recipe that I have a feeling you might just love. The Worldly Blend takes the nutty-chocolate sweetness of our Brazilian roast, the juicy berry flavors of our Ethiopian Sidamo, and rich mouth-feel and subtle spice of our Sumatra and unites them in a perfect balance.
What’s the secret to the perfect balance in our blend? You reeaalllyyy want to know? Okay . . . okay. It’s simple. While using all organic ingredients is a great start, I also need to respect the individuality of each bean throughout the blend process.
We’re all unique individuals and need to be treated and respected as such – it’s no different with the ingredients in a coffee blend. I work with three very different coffee beans in our Worldly Blend and know from my rigorous research that I need to roast each bean to its optimal flavor profile before blending it with the others.
Many coffee roasters throw all the beans together and start roasting. This is a great recipe for an underwhelming blend! Or worse … I want the flavors in our roasts to sing and there’s no short cut to making that happen . . . just hard work and a lot of coffee logs . . .
To try The Wordly Blend, visit our shop page and save on local orders!
The symbolism in our logo also ties into our mission as a fair trade and organic coffee brand. When we use the phrase “two sides of the same coin,” we speak to how connected our lives are and how dependent we are on each other. Yin and yang allows us to see both sides at the same time and understand that they can never be separated.
This is how I’ve always felt about coffee vendors and their relationship to the farmers and living things that make coffee possible in the first place. There is no way for me to see what we do in a vacuum; there is no way I can ignore the incredibly difficult work men and women do every day to harvest these beloved coffee beans. And there is no way I can ignore the toll the coffee industry takes on the ecosystems it relies on.
I know it is my responsibility – for the good of this planet, and anyone who wants to roast or simply enjoy coffee long after my time – to run my business in a way that is as ethically mindful as possible.
This is why from the start we’ve prioritized working with small ethical farms like Spirit Mountain that hold themselves to unwavering high standards for the quality of life of their farmers and the animals they share their space with (using their excellent shade-grown practices).
And I’m always looking to do better and find new ways to reduce our footprint. To learn more about One World Roasters’ sustainability practices, check out our “Green Coffee Blog” here.
It sounds hokey, but we are “one world” – this is all we have. I want my coffee to bring people and cultures together; I want my work to do something that gives to others and approaches the world from a lens of respect and admiration.
Acheiving a Perfect Balance
These are the big things that speak to me in coffee life and beyond. I hope some of these points speak to you as well! How do you find balance in your life? Have a coffee blend in mind you’d like me to try out? Send me a message or comment on our Facebook post. Let’s keep the conversation going.
To a wonderful year of balance!
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One World Roasters
967 North High St,
East Haven CT 06512