If I had to be honest, I would say that I most definitely fall under the sometimes dreaded category of coffee snobs. And while I have most certainly lightened up over the last year or so, my discerning palate for beans can still sniff out a cup of Eight O’Clock from a mile away. My coffee drinking has had an evolution of several different distinct phases over the last 7 years. I will do my best to give you a user friendly guide of what I like to refer to as:
THE STAGES OF COFFEE SNOBBERY
- FOLGERS The best part of waking up was Folgers in my cup. Yes, I admit it. There was a time that I thought that this was an acceptable morning beverage. Not only that, but this was the year that I discovered the “Custom Dark Blend.” It was their boldest offering yet.I can now assure with confidence that there are 2 types of Folgers drinkers in the world. The first group that doesn’t give a crap what they are drinking, and the second group that pride themselves in that bold custom blend, and wants nothing to do with the first group. Once you have crossed over to Bold Folgers, you are on the the road to…
- STARBUCKS This is where what I call “counterfeit coffee snobbery” usually begins. I label this category “counterfeit” because Starbucks is much more about pop culture and genius marketing than it is about great coffee. I will admit that they have a few great blends such as their Organic Ethiopia Sidamo, but when you try and put them up against companies such as Doubleshot and Counterculture, you might as well end the contest right there. Starbucks is THE morning meeting grounds for businessmen and soccer moms alike. It is also an after school destination of the barista dreaded Frappacino Rush. They have done such a phenomenal job of marketing, that they can convince someone that although they are drinking a 17 pump white mocha with 1 shot of espresso (not to mention their entire daily calorie recommendation in one sitting) that they are in fact coffee drinkers. At the end of the day it is really about culture. And if you are completely parched, it is the one place where you can be 100% certain that you will receive a complimentary triple filtered Venti ice water, no questions asked. I’ll leave you with that and head in to the third degree of coffee snobbery which I like to refer to as:
- FRENCH PRESSING Definition: a coffeepot in which ground beans are infused and then pressed to the bottom by means of a plunger. This is where it starts to go downhill. This is where the door has been opened for overpriced bean grinders and latte art competitions. I’ll set the stage for you here: A happily content Starbucks patron is sipping their morning macchiato when they are accosted by an “reformed french presser.” They are informed that the grind is too fine, and they are losing out on the natural oils of the beans from the blah blah blah region of the sub village of blah blah blah of somewhere in Ethiopia I’m sure. Newly informed person is left feeling either assaulted or liberated. The latter group will immediately pull out their nearest Apple device and open up their Firefox for a good Googling on everything else they may have been left in the dark about in regards to coffee. This Google search will more than likely send them in to the next stage of coffee snobbery that is one of my personal favorites:
- ANGRY BARISTA Yes, you have it. Once an uninformed coffee drinker comes in to the light, there is a level of cult like thinking that begins to envelop their being, being newly convinced that the whole world is going to hell in bag of stale unsealed Starbucks Breakfast Blend. This has sent them sprinting to the greater Portland/Seattle area. The names that you will frequently hear in this category are (but not limited to) the following: Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Espresso Vivace, Albina Press, and Doubleshot Coffee Company are just a few out of hundreds. The owner of Doubleshot has gotten bad press for being a jerk. He is actually notorious for being so passionate about the quality control of his product that he will turn a deaf ear to a vanilla latte. In fact, you get what they give you. If you want a latte, the only embellishment you will receive is the potential Panda impression resting gracefully on the top of your foam. But to back up that jerk statement, I will give the man this: If you order beans from their store online, he will send you a personal note that he is currently roasting your beans right now, and will have them in the mail the second they are done. At least the man puts his money where his mouth is and makes probably the best coffee that I have had on this side of the country, maybe even the best I’ve had anywhere. If I were going to send you to any website to order coffee beans, this is hands down my #1 pick. http://www.doubleshotcoffee.com/ And on to the final stage which is one of my favorites…
- LATTE ART You may be denied 3 pumps of hazelnut syrup through the outraged gaze of artificial black rimmed glasses and a bow tie, but you will not be denied a panda. Yes, a panda my friends. Although more common is the traditional heart shape or feather nowadays, zoo animals are steadily on the rise in many latte art based circles. What is the definition of latte art? According to Wikipedia it is this: a method of preparing coffee created by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso and resulting in a pattern or design on the surface of the resulting latte. It can also be created or embellished by simply “drawing” in the top layer of foam. I will not elaborate any further, but will end with the final stage of coffee snobbery which will be followed by pictures.
- LATTE ART COMPETITIONS I’m pretty sure that if you have read this far, that there is no need to elaborate in to this category. I will let this final image speak for itself. Happy Thursday Everyone!