Now that I am officially part of the coffee business, I wanted to use this opportunity to think and philosophize on the philosophy of coffee.
Coffee is a weird and beautiful thing. First and foremost, funny enough I made it through all of college without the aid of coffee. I only discovered coffee way later after Cindy got me addicted.
My personal story and journey with coffee is actually really funny; the first time I went backpacking through Europe with Cindy, I remember one of the first phrases I learned in French:
Un cafe s’il vous plait.
It was supposed to be the cultured thing to say, do and know. And upon my surprise, I remember the first time they brought out the tiny espresso cup, and it came out in the tiny espresso cup, and I looked at it and yelled aloud:
“That’s it?? I paid 2 euros for this tiny thing??”
However moving forward, espresso, and my passion for espresso and minimalism has advanced. Personally speaking, I love the dimensions of espresso, the espresso cup, etc. I love how tiny it is, and how distilled it is. And for the last decade or so, traveling the world, my funny and silly quest to strive to discover perfect espresso.
Also, there seems to be this interesting synthesis that I get from this combination of coffee, creativity and photography. For example, whenever I teach a photography workshop, having a coffee break is a critical part of the experience. And also, if I need to stir myself into creative action, coffee is a critical part of my ritual.
Some people drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.
Taking the power into your own hands
I think the difficult thing in today’s world is obtaining and procuring great coffee. That is, eventually, sooner or later, you got to get coffee somewhere. Either you could just buy it at your local neighborhood coffee shop, or you could just buy it at Amazon or Whole Foods, and get it delivered to you, etc.
However, the problem that I’ve personally discovered is that whenever you buy coffee, it is always dissatisfying. At least in the states, I have never been able to find roasted coffee, or roasted coffee beans which I consider insanely great. Enter ERIC KIM OMAKASE COFFEE.
The substances we consume are critical?
It is funny, there is all of this trend towards organic food, grass fed meat, etc. Yet it doesn’t seem that we put the same standards on the coffee we consume.
Let us consider that in America in the states, coffee might be the most consumed beverage we consume. When we first wake up, we take a shower, what is the first thing we do? We hit the kitchen, and we make ourselves some coffee.
Everyone has a different ritual in regards to their morning coffee. Some of us grind our whole bean coffee, enjoy the fragrance in the air, and pull an espresso. For myself, this is what I do.
How much coffee is enough?
I used to be part of this type of Silicon Valley thinking, the quantified self movement, in which I try to limit myself to some sort of arbitrary number of coffee a day. Now, I said fuck it, I have as much coffee as I want. In the morning, I will just keep pulling espressos until I feel hyped up. Sometimes this is five or seven espressos. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I don’t keep count anymore.
My only constraint is that typically later on in the day, afternoon, I have a pretty strict coffee cut off time. I discovered that whenever I have coffee past noon, or too late in the day, I cannot sleep at night. But beyond this, the more coffee the better.
The philosophy of coffee
Oh first and foremost, coffee is a drug. Also very funny, after water, coffee is the most consumed beverage on the planet.
And how does coffee work? The caffeine inherent in coffee and coffee beans is actually a poison; coffee beans and coffee plants naturally have caffeine in them to ward off predators insects and other pesky things trying to eat it.
However for us humans, coffee just gives us a great buzz. A philosophical thought;
It is the poison in coffee which stimulates us, and stirs us into greatness.
Poison is good for us
Is life better with coffee, or without?
Certainly there are lots of downsides of coffee. If you consume it too late in the day, you cannot sleep at night. Also, coffee and caffeine addiction is a real thing. Every once in a while, I abstain from coffee and caffeine for over 24 hours, typically when I get sick, or during long international flights.
However, from a philosophical perspective, life is better with the poison of coffee.
To take this analogy further, along with the downsides, annoyances, and sadness is in life is metaphorically present in the notion of poison. Some people try to make it all throughout life without any sadness grief, tragedy, or downsides. Yet, life without tragedy, life without poison and sadness is not a life worth living.
Poison stimulates us
The biological concept of this is “hormesis”; not to be confused with ”homeopathy” (pseudo science). The basic notion of hormesis is this:
Small doses of poison are good for us, they stimulate us, and make us stronger.
For example, the natural caffeine in coffee is good for us, as it stimulates us, stimulates our bodies and minds, stimulates the muscles in our legs, getting our metabolism going, etc. However, drinking 1000 cups of coffee in a day is probably not good for us.
Also, the reason why I think coffee is interesting is that I don’t think it’s just the caffeine, there’s probably some other chemical or thing inherent in coffee which we love. I personally predict in the next 30 years or so, we will start discovering all these other additional chemicals or organic compounds and substances in coffee which is good.
Robusta is the way
A huge innovation; luxury Robusta, fine Robusta.
Why? Robusta has a higher caffeine content than typical arabica, in my mind at least 2.2x stronger.
Also, my personal theory is that robusta coffee may actually be better for us from a health perspective, as the natural sugar content in Robusta is at least 60% less than Arabica. Therefore, if you want to maximize your fat loss, become leaner and meaner, robusta may be superior for you than arabica.
My personal quest with ERIC KIM OMAKASE Coffee is to create a unique coffee portfolio for you, to stimulate you in all aspects of your life.
For example, to inspire motivate you creatively and artistically, and to give you more joy and happiness in delight in your every day life.
You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy insanely good coffee.
Coffee on spaceships
For a while I was really into this whole notion of spaceship philosophy; that is, if indeed we do go to Mars, and are forced to stay stuck inside a spaceship for that long, what would our lives and lifestyle look like?
First and foremost, it does look like we will be drinking coffee on a spaceship. For example the space movie I watched with Chris Pratt, the funny thought that in the future, rich people will be privileged enough to drink really luxury coffee on the spaceship, whereas the poor and lower class people will be restricted to only the low class coffee.
Also, even watching the Dune movie, the new one, the ritual in which the local people would still make coffee, but using their spit.
Therefore, it seems that from a pharmaceutical perspective, and even a life perspective, there is something critical in coffee which we love.
Coffee is a philosophical thing.
The synthesis and combination of coffee and the planet.
Coffee shops, culture, the sharing of ideas.
Caffeine as a great motivator for us.
Coffee, caffeine being the best natural drug with the maximum amount of upsides, the minimum amount of downsides.
Moral of the story;
Drink more insanely great coffee!
Using ERIC KIM COFFEE as a motivator, some thoughts in regards to perfection:
Going beyond perfect?
Going Beyond Perfect
What does this mean?
What does it mean to go beyond perfect?
For a long time, I’ve been very interested and passionate about discovering perfect. The perfect lifestyle, the perfect place to live, the perfect devices, the perfect aesthetic, etc.
However, once you discover perfect, you have to go beyond perfect — that means, to make it ever more perfect.
Ever more optimal?
However, my insane frustration with the RICOH GR-series cameras:
Eventually, they all break.
Thus the never ending goal and path:
To seek an even better solution?
To seek more perfect than perfect?
Ever since my RICOH GR IIIX went kaput, I’ve just been experimenting and shooting with my old LUMIX G9 x Leica Lumix 12mm f1.4 lens and the surprise:
The lens is actually insanely good.
Thus the thought:
Perhaps the lens is critical.
That means … to make the apex beautiful and great photos, getting and choosing and selecting the best, most supreme, the greatest and most perfect lens is critical?
For micro 4/3rds, Leica LUMIX Lens as insanely great.
Also, Leica 35mm f2 Summicron ASPH lens as perfect.
Perhaps the ideal camera is interchangeable, like a Sigma fP/L with M mount lens?
Why iPhone perhaps is a poor idea?
I think the promise of the iPhone, iPhone photography, smartphone photography in general is alluring. Why? From a simplicity and minimalism perspective, it seems that iPhone, iPhone Pro seems ideal. Why? The maximally small device which is always with you, which affords you more photo opportunities.
However, despite all of my philosophizing about this, and personal experimentation, ultimately the takeaway point:
You can’t fool physics.
Ultimately I think what we are trying to do as photographers is to create images which outlast us. My personal ambition is to make photos which last at least 300 years from now.
Becoming insanely discerning with photos, looking at my iPhone pictures, even photos I’ve shot on iPhone pro, etc., ultimately when you look at the details, iPhone, iPhone Pro, is insanely dissatisfying. For myself, my current setup hits the spot for me, even though it is insanely bulky and unoptimal.
First and foremost, the camera body is actually not that important. Not even the sensor. I think what is most important in a camera, camera body is the in camera JPEG processing, the film simulation look. For example, the Lumix G9 camera that I am currently using and the dynamic monochrome mode, adding the grain effect and contrast to the max, the photos are very beautiful and satisfying.
I suppose then, any Lumix camera or Panasonic camera which has this dynamic black-and-white mode, and the grain effect is a good one.
And also, any camera or digital camera which has good in camera JPEG processing is good, for example, the film simulation color profiles of the Fujifilm cameras are phenomenal for color.
The reason why I really like the Panasonic Lumix Leica 12mm F1.4 lens is the fact that it has an insanely close macro mode, which makes it great to shoot portraits, capturing detail and sharpness in the eyes, gestures etc.
Also from an aesthetics perspective, something about the resolution and the sharpness and overall lens quality of the Leica Lumix 12 mm F1.4 lens produces an insanely beautiful photo, especially with the in camera black and white high contrast monochrome grainy setting.
Once again, this is a critical thing, because the iPhone, iPhone Pro lacks any sort of good in camera monochrome processing which adds a grain effect.
Details in the whites?
Also something that I find truly phenomenal, with my current Lumix G9 and Leica Lumix 12 mm F1.4 lens setup is that there is actually detail in the highlights, the whites, and the grain effect looks aesthetically beautiful and pleasing! As good as typical film, black-and-white film.
And this is good, because then there’s no more need to shoot real film photography.
Investing in the new, breaking free from the old
Probably the biggest benefit that I got traveling abroad, and then coming back home in the states is this;
Breaking free from the old way of doing things, and re-discovering new ways of doing things.
For example, new fashions, new approaches, etc.
To rediscover a life with fresh new eyes. The biggest upside of traveling.
Where in the world is ERIC KIM?
Currently back in sunny Southern California, with the beautiful bright sun, and new excitement and enthusiasm for life.
I am still very committed to innovating in photography and life and creativity.
Some things to be grateful for being back in the states:
First, ultimately, despite what people may say, having the privilege of living in America is how much cleaner and less polluted it is then all around the world. For example, the biggest downside of being in the other abroad country is the pollution.
For example, I think the hot debate right now is around global warming. I think some thing which is critical to consider is not necessarily “global warming“, but, pollution.
Pollution is easily noticeable in palpable, especially when you are in Asia. Even apparently in South Korea, the pollution has gotten so bad you can’t even see the sun anymore.
How is America privileged?
Let us consider that almost all of our manufacturing is now abroad, which means that countries like China, Vietnam produce all of our kids, which causes pollution, and we are able to enjoy our beautiful apple devices back home without the downsides of pollution. Let us consider that all of the Apple products, the iPhones we love are all produced by Foxcon in China.
Also the benefit of America is that because we are so far away from everyone else, we are not negatively affected by their pollution.
For example, South Korea, Seoul is relatively clean, but all of the pollution being next-door to China negatively affects Korea.
Are there for my personal thought is that moving forward, let us not debate about notions of “global warming”, which seems to be a few towel political battle, but instead let us talk and discuss more about issues regarding pollution.
I am still quite certain that the best life is a light outdoors. I like in the direct sun, a life directly in the elements.
I get more power from the sun, natural light, even though the sun rays may burn me.
Pain is good.