Thursday, October 8, 2009


Is being a coffee "snob" a bad thing? I have got to say, "absolutely not". Let me explain, though. If a person's admiration for coffee in general motivates them to appreciate good coffee, to desire ever higher standards in their personal preparation of the beverage and that of what they purchase, being a coffee snob is great and I applaud my fellow snobs. However, if being a coffee snob means you begin to judge other people for their "underdeveloped" or "less refined" or even "cheap" coffee palates, you've shot past the realm of coffee snob and into the the region of mere snobbery.

Let me tell you a true story from an experience in my life in the last few days. My wife just gave birth to my son, Levi. I had not had the opportunity to get out and go downtown for a classic coffee drink for a few days. When I finally did get to go, I ordered a traditional cubano macchiato prepared delicately by a great barista from Kaldi's Coffee House. The crema was solid; when stirred it did not dissipate, but would recover. It had a velvety texture and abundant rust colored speckles- all great indications. The first sip went across my tongue with a particularly crisp sensation of hazelnut- somewhat unusual, but not unpleasant. I attributed this to the lack of grind readjustment for the incoming low pressure system, but I cannot expect everyone to be that attentive. Anyway, the point is that I ordered my espresso and loved it. It lasted about 4 minutes, then I read my early middle ages textbook while I listened to Beethoven in my earphones (no I'm not really THAT nerdy, I just like his stuff).

So, about 15 minutes into my stay, I returned my demitasse to the counter, so that the espresso residue could be cleaned off the rims without staining the cup. I stayed at the shop though, just sitting, enjoying the semi-peacefulness of a place without a 4 day old boy. A few minutes into this, I noticed "those guys" walk into the shop. See, I used to work at Kaldi's, so I am very familiar with these particular patrons. These are the immigrated Italians who stop by from time to time, who think themselves very superior in every way to the unrefined American coffee drinkers. They usually give the baristas an overly difficult time, oftentimes returning drinks just to spite them, demanding new ones.

So, they get their traditional drinks and walk by my table. Of course they recognize me and also notice that I do not have a traditional cup on my table- I must be unrefined vermin. Now, I exaggerate a bit, and I'm sure that not all Italians are uber-snobs, but these guys are eccentric as you will see. I did have a orange sunkist soda that I was drinking- yes I drink stuff other than coffee. They sit down close by, and begin to look over at me and laugh. I really don't care, I'm an adult and am secure with my Sunkist. I don't need the approval of those snobs. BUT, they go one further.

The ring leader walks by me and actually says these words to me in semi-English, "you pathetic drinking pop in coffeehouse. get balls and order real drinks like us...". Wow. Really? What am I supposed to say to that? What do I do? I get instant flashes into my brain like, "dump it on him". But, instead I listen to the voice of Truth and say nothing. I let him get his jollies by dogging on me. Seriously though?! Really?!

Lord, thank you for great coffee and great people. I pray those that don't know You or Your peace will at some point and if you use me in that process, I pray I'm ready.

No comments:

Post a Comment