22 Aug 2014
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Every Bean Clearly Seen at This Java Joint

Conscious Cup in Crystal Lake serves up the best-tasting cup of coffee in town, some say.

Every Bean Clearly Seen at This Java Joint Every Bean Clearly Seen at This Java Joint Every Bean Clearly Seen at This Java Joint Every Bean Clearly Seen at This Java Joint Every Bean Clearly Seen at This Java Joint Every Bean Clearly Seen at This Java Joint

Perhaps you’ve never smelled fresh coffee …  really fresh coffee … not the canned stuff that sits on a grocery-store shelf, sometimes for months.

At , the coffee beans are green, arriving in burlap bags from remote regions of Africa and South America. 

Jason Shipley — one of the owners of Conscious Cup — was operating the roaster Friday afternoon, cooking green coffee beans until they turn deep-dark amber.

You may have never before experienced the aroma of roasting coffee beans. And the coffee itself, you could taste the subtleness and nuance of the exotic places and growing conditions: The effects of the climate, altitude, rain and sunlight on each bean, Shipley said.

“The coffee here is outstanding,” said Allen Bell, who has been a customer since Conscious Cup opened in town about four years ago. He’s a regular, getting an afternoon latte.

Bell likes the work that the owners of Conscious Cup do in the community — sponsoring athletic teams and other charitable donations. And he likes their practice of supporting sustainable agriculture.

In this case, the cliché used by big business of “best-management practices” really has paid off, because you can taste it.

Shipley can tell you what’s wrong with the coffee industry in general.

“The mass market gives you gourmet-grade coffee — out of can,” Shipley said. “And the industry is basically a caffeine-delivery system. 

“We treat our coffee like wine. We know about the sun exposure and the elevation of where our coffee beans were grown.”

He said Conscious Cup’s name is a double entendre, meaning the coffee keeps you awake but it also means that the owners and customers are aware of where the coffee comes from and how it is grown, certainly not on a plantation in a recently denuded rainforest by slave labor.

Jason Shipley said his coffee is “traceable.” They can verify every hand that touched their coffee.

“We don’t get our coffee from a commodity trader,” he said.

Jason Shipley said he and his brother, Michael Shipley, and his parents, Jack and Roseanna, own the place. 

“Our family has had a long-term love of coffee,” Jason Shipley said “And this business is basically a legacy for our parents.”

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