Writers who write first thing in the morning, even if before sunup—especially before sunup—often get their initial boost of wakefulness from coffee.

I come from Seattle, so you’d think I knew something about coffee. Why Seattle has a reputation for coffee, I don’t know. All I remember from growing up was Mrs. Olsen, a Scandinavian, telling us about Folgers. Maybe because Seattle has her, and Red Hook from Ballard, “Ja fur shur you betcha,” Seattle is the coffee capital of North America, or so they say.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Starbucks and Seattle’s Best and even Mrs. Olsen’s Folgers will do in a pinch. However, as I grew older, I came to realize that coffee roasted above 6,000+ feet has a specialness. I first noticed this in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is at over 7,000 feet and casts a downward look (a half mile) at those of us in the greater Denver lowlands.

Beans roasted well over a mile up seems to have something. Maybe the lower boiling point of water. Here in Boulder water boils at about 206 F and not the usual 212F. In Santa Fe it’s about 197 F. It’s not just that we brew at a higher altitude, if the coffee is roasted at a higher altitude, something special is saved. Caffeine? Oils? The beans are not dry.

Got some as gifts from the holiday and five more pounds arrived mail order the other day. Whatever it is, it’s working. My productivity is up to about 2,000 words a day.