it's not all great. some of it is okay. even less is excellent. and most of it is absolutely dreadful. i'm talking about coffee, obviously. i am, after all writing this on a coffee-centric website.
i'm not a snob when it comes to drinking coffee. i'll drink it most places i go. but some industry professionals i know will only drink coffee at 'good coffee shops'. it's almost as if their delicate palates would be offended by anything less. now please don't think i'm suggesting that i don't appreciate good coffee. i do. very much so. but like i said, i'll drink coffee pretty much anywhere i go. restaurants. hotels. gas stations. airports. i was recently on a delta flight to atlanta. going down for the wbc. and the coffee was, quite predictably, absolutely terrible. it tasted the way that burning tires smell.
on the other hand. another recent flight, this time on midwest where they serve alterra, the coffee was reasonable. not great. it was after all, brewed on at 10,000 ft. but on par with the majority of coffee shops that i seem to find myself in.

i guess i put myself through this because it keeps me grounded. it keeps me in touch with reality, so to speak. now in a perfect world everyone would be practicing the idea's that we've all grown to love. every store would be a third wave shop. in every cafe across the land people would be drinking 6oz drinks and geeking out about varietals. direct trade practices. agricultural techniques. reg barbers new tamp design etc. etc. etc.
but that is simply not the case. i need to be reminded that this little barista/specialty coffee bubble that we create for ourselves is not reality for the majority of people. it a cruel world out there.
on a larger scale, specialty coffee is really a very small part of a much bigger market. now i'm not trying to trivialize the importance of the specialty coffee industry. absolutely not. it's the industry that i work in. it's what i do. it's what i love. and it's certainly important. ideas and practices, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, get passed down the line from specialty coffee to the industry at large.
but a large portion of the public doesn't even know we exist. doesn't know what good coffee is. has no idea that coffee doesn't need to taste burnt or bitter. that it can taste like citrus. or chocolate. or rootbeer and cherry-lime cheesecake. that it can be sweet without adding splenda. or creamy without adding heavy cream.
and if they do know we exist, they don't understand why we get so excited about it. after all, its only coffee.

now i never intended this to be any sort of state of the union address, or other such nonsense. these are just the thought that have been running through my head of late.
i guess its intended to spark some discussion. and i hope it does just that.

peace&love&coffee
j

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I love you Joe M. You're the man.
Oh man, this describes my coffee views to a point.

My friends acknowledge me as the resident coffee snob. I admit it, and sometimes openly declare it. I'm echoing the views of the previous posters. First of all, I refuse to pay for coffee (or anything else, for that matter) that I don't believe I will enjoy. Conversely, I'm willing to pay a premium for coffee that I *know* is simply amazing, and prepared with the greatest attention to detail. Even if I'm looking for a temporary caffeine boost, I will try to go to a place that I know serves coffee that meets my standards. My "snobbery" is backed with experience: I've paid for some truly horrendous stuff, and I've tried the nectar of Gods. Thus, I think I've got a good idea of what I like and dislike; however, I'm always willing to try something once hoping to be surprised (this one breakfast diner in Ucluelet, Vancouver Island had some surprisingly good drip, while a "fine" restaurant in Vancouver served some terribly stale stuff). So, I try to initially approach things without reservations.

Once again, my friends openly call me a "snob," and most of them clearly don't share my enthusiasm (or exclusivity). However, I do still retain my manners and guest etiquette: if I'm offered, I will not refuse. If a friend of mine graciously offers me something even if they think it's not "to my standards" then it would just be incredibly rude to turn them down. Would I attend a Thanksgiving dinner party and refuse to eat the turkey if it wasn't organic and free-range?

And as a barista myself, I've taken this code of conduct to heart, because I think it really exemplified professionalism in the coffee industry.
Slow and Steady Education......people don't know what they haven't been exposed to! We maybe a small group, but we're getting bigger everytime we expose a MJB, or Instant, or whatever drinker to our "fresh roasted" products...we ruin their habits...creating newer, better, quality driven habits! Welcome to the Revolution! lol
Dennis has got it- as in my NZ wine example, it simply starts as a silent revolution....momentum soon turns it into the future of specialty coffee. I dont subscribe to the view of snobbery- for sure (again citing the development of the wine industry), any hint of snobbery means we collectively are doing things very, very wrong.

Dennis said:
Slow and Steady Education......people don't know what they haven't been exposed to! We maybe a small group, but we're getting bigger everytime we expose a MJB, or Instant, or whatever drinker to our "fresh roasted" products...we ruin their habits...creating newer, better, quality driven habits! Welcome to the Revolution! lol
No, You're the man, Lorenzo!! :)



Lorenzo Perkins said:
I love you Joe M. You're the man.

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