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Opposites Extract: A Debate Podcast about Coffee

Opposites Extract is a show dedicated to exploring specialty coffee through lively, reasoned, and civil debate about a whole range of topics relevant to anybody who works drinks, loves, hates, dreams about, thinks about, works with, or is simply curious about coffee. (In other words, you don't have to be pro to be pro or con.) In each episode, debaters will square off and argue from assigned sides, as determined by a random coin toss. Participating debaters pledge to honor and represent the position they are assigned, regardless of their personal opinions and perspectives. At the end of each episode, debaters will have an opportunity to discuss their actual thoughts about the topic, and their process in formulating their arguments. Things might get a little heated sometimes, but hey, we're brewing here.

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Ep. 17: Automatic vs. Manual with Charles Babinski

In today's episode, Meister debates the virtues of automated coffee brewing with Charles Babinski, former U.S. Barista Champion and current co-owner of Los Angeles's Go Get 'Em Tiger and G&B Coffee. Does "manual" always mean "better," and can there ever be an art to making coffee by machine?

52mins

29 Jul 2016

Rank #1

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Ep. 10: Natural Process Coffees with Christopher Feran

Coffee cupper, buyer, and consultant Christopher Feran joins us to argue about natural coffees: Should they even have a place in specialty coffee, and do we need to have a separate grading system for them? The conversation starts out a little fermenty, but it has a nice sweet finish.

41mins

3 Jun 2016

Rank #2

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Ep. 6: Roasting - Nature vs. Nurture with Tony Querio

Tony Querio, Director of Coffee at Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Company, and 2016 Roaster Champion faces off against Roaster Joe for our first in-house debate. They grapple over which factor has a greater influence on a coffee's flavor, the green coffee, or the roaster's hand.

49mins

6 May 2016

Rank #3

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Ep. 2: Educating the Consumer with Amanda Byron

Opposites Extract: Episode 2 features a debate about the role of “Educating the Consumer” and features Amanda Byron, the director of coffee for Joe Coffee Company in New York City and Philadelphia. Question 1. Should baristas focus on educating guests about specialty coffee? Question 2. Should we be training baristas to be educators and communicators as much as we train them on things like brewers and extraction and customer service? Question 3. Should baristas regularly discuss the plight of the farmers as it regards café pricing structure? Question 4. Should baristas offer guests guidance about how to best enjoy their beverage experience? Amanda has been in the specialty coffee industry for longer than she’d like to remember, and was the first employee of Joe when the original West Village location opened in 2003. Follow Joe Coffee Company on Twitter @JoecoffeeNYC and Instagram @joecoffeecompany, and find them on Facebook.

46mins

1 Apr 2016

Rank #4

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Ep. 15: Let the People Drink Bad Coffee? With Lorenzo Perkins

Believe it or not, lots of people love "bad" coffee: Should we let them? In this week's debate, Fleet Coffee's Lorenzo Perkins argues whether it's specialty coffee's moral duty to encourage people to drink better quality coffee. We also discuss what "bad" and "good" coffee is, and how consumers can understand the difference.

52mins

8 Jul 2016

Rank #5

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Ep. 31: Live from La Marzocco: On the Road in Columbus, OH

Opposites Extract was recorded live from the Vue in Columbus, OH, where Joe and Meister were honored to be masters of ceremonies for six unique, thought-provoking, and illuminating presentations by coffee professionals from throughout the region. We gather the speakers around a (tiny) table to talk about their topics, ask one another questions, and continue the conversation that was started during the program. Tune in next week for the second part of the two-part series, recorded live in Detroit, MI.

49mins

23 Nov 2016

Rank #6

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Ep. 3: Latte Art with Ryan Soeder

Beauty is in the eye – or the cup – of the beholder. Opposites Extract: Episode 3 tackles the topic of latte art, and its role as an attraction or distraction with regards the quality of specialty coffee. Our guest debater is latte-art champion and barista trainer Ryan Soeder of Sunergos Coffee in Louisville, Ky. The debate begins after a brief discussion of the historical and current impact of latte art on specialty coffee culture. Question 1. Should customers use latte art as a mark of quality, not only of a particular coffee shop, but also of a barista and even an individual drink? Question 2. Can a coffee shop that intentionally does not train its baristas to pour latte art still be considered high-quality in this day and age? And can baristas who choose not to pour latte art still be considered excellent baristas? Question 3. Does our obsession with latte art distract from the messages we are trying to send in specialty coffee about terroir, cup quality, sourcing, flavor characteristics, varieties, processing, etc? Ryan Soeder got his start in coffee secretly teaching himself latte art while working at Starbucks in Louisville, Ky. He has also worked at Counter Culture Coffee in Boston, and Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @ryansoeder.

50mins

8 Apr 2016

Rank #7

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Ep. 28 – Wholesale vs Retail with Paul Schlader of Birch Coffee NYC

We sit down in the studio with Paul Schlader, cofounder and co-owner of Birch Coffee in NYC, to discuss (but not strictly debate) the pros and cons of business models that are strictly wholesale, strictly retail, and those which blur the lines between the two. Does it help or hurt a business to be a back-of-the-house brand? How much opportunity is there in focusing your caffeinated energy on the street level?

48mins

4 Nov 2016

Rank #8

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Ep. 19: Getting Fermental on Fermentation with Lucia Solis

We're letting it marinate with Scott Laboratories fermentation specialist Lucia Solis in this episode arguing the meaning of the word "fermentation," dispelling common coffee-processing myths around coffee, and talking about pickles. Lucia and Joe Marrocco tackle one debate question, followed by a longer-form conversation about the role of fermentation in coffee.

48mins

12 Aug 2016

Rank #9

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Ep. 26: Cold Brew Is the New Espresso

Concentrated, controversial, and total cool -- cold brew is the hot topic in the cold-coffee world, and who better to debate its merits than Jenny and Jonathan Bonchak of Slingshot Coffee in Raleigh, N.C.

43mins

21 Oct 2016

Rank #10

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Brief: Mill City Roasters

Steve and Nick Green of Mill City Roasters swing by to talk with Joe about their company, their roasters, and their educational initiatives including live stream roasting and "Focus on the Roast".

27mins

23 Sep 2016

Rank #11

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Ep. 24: What We Talk about When We Talk about Flavor with Jess Steffy

The effervescent and ever-so-bright, Jess Steffy joins Meister in a discussion about how we experience flavor, and share those experiences through language. Soda! Apples! Listen!

46mins

30 Sep 2016

Rank #12

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Ep. 7: Service with Cat & Cloud (Jared Truby and Chris Baca)

The podcasting duo of Cat & Cloud go head-to-head in a doubles match against Opposites Extract, debating aspects of cafe service. The conversation continues on the Cat & Cloud podcast.

38mins

13 May 2016

Rank #13

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Ep 22: Roaster vs Barista with Stephen Ezell

It's the age-old battle, waged since the dawn of time: Who is ultimately responsible for a coffee's quality, the roaster or the barista? Stephen Ezell of The San Fransiscan Roaster company squares off against longtime barista and barista trainer Meister--but who will argue which side? Tune in to find out.

50mins

2 Sep 2016

Rank #14

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Ep. 25: Education vs Experience with Wolf Barn Marnell

Does education or real experience make the better barista? Today, Joe debates with Wolf Barn Marnell, longtime barista competitor who's part of the team behind the forthcoming Broadsheet Coffee Roasters in Cambridge, MA.

41mins

7 Oct 2016

Rank #15

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Ep. 23: Barista Competitions vs Real Life, with Aaron Ultimo

Almost no one is as equipped to debate the merits of barista competitions vs. "real life" barista experience than longtime barista and barista-competition judge Aaron Ultimo of Ultimo Coffee in Philadelphia. He and Joe tackle whether a winning barista will be a loser behind the bar, and other topics which are Very Good Plus.

42mins

16 Sep 2016

Rank #16

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Ep. 9: Craft vs. Commercial in Coffee and Chocolate with Dr. Carla Martin

Dr. Carla Martin of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute debates mass-produced or small-batch artisan products, looking at both coffee and chocolate.

44mins

27 May 2016

Rank #17

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Ep. 27: Flavor with Jamie Isetts

In this episode Meister takes on Jamie Isetts in a debate about the subjectivity of what we define as good and bad taste.

38mins

29 Oct 2016

Rank #18

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Ep. 13: Roaster-Farmer Relations with Nathanael May

Nathanael May, director of coffee for Portland Roasting Coffees, takes on the tough question of whether a roasting company needs to have a direct relationship with the farmers who grow the coffee it buys, or if it is possible to buy great coffee without establishing that direct connection.

46mins

23 Jun 2016

Rank #19

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Ep. 11: Traceability with Colleen Anunu

Fair Trade USA's Supply Chain Manager, Colleen Anunu, tackles this debate about traceability, and joins us for an extended conversation after the main event. Is traceability in specialty coffee meaningful or just marketing, and does sharing the information really make a difference?

1hr 9mins

10 Jun 2016

Rank #20