Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Welcome to the machine

Appreciation vs. Snobbery

I think that, in the context of this blog, you must realize that I like coffee. Juan Valdez is like the father I never had (in that he is not only Columbian, a coffee farmer, and a drug lord of sorts, but he is also fictitious, while my real father is none of those things). But, to the point, I do like my coffee.

And, I'll admit that I prefer good coffee. The aroma of fresh-roasted beans in a coffee house draws me like the scent of Chanel #5 draws an Italian businessman away from hearth and home and into the arms of a busty young starlet with skin like the morning dew and hair like cornsilk. I am attracted to a well-steeped French Press like Hillary was drawn to improbably tall landscape features and for much the same reason, "Because it is there."

And, I make it no secret that I visit a goodly number of coffee shops through the course of my day to day life. And, because of that, I have been accused of being a "coffee snob" (just as I have been accused of being a "bike snob" simply because I have nice bikes).

But, I don't think of myself as a snob. I think of snobs as being people who pretentiously refuse to use any product "beneath" their lofty ideals, and I am quite capable of downing the better part of a potful of truck stop java from time to time. Quite honestly, as long as it is strong enough, I have never found a coffee that I can't drink, and enjoy.

Conversely, if you take the finest, most-expensive coffee beans to ever travel through a monkey's alimentary canal, grind them up and brew too few of them in too much water I will spit it in your face and rinse the insipid aftertaste out of my mouth with a nice strong cup of Maxwell House.

I once took a pound of pretty nice coffee in to the office where I worked, and made the "coffee club" pot with it, since we had run out of the normal Folgers the day before. I wasn't trying to make any kind of statement, or show off my "sophistication". (Seems like a lot of "quotation marks" in one sentence, now that I look at it). I simply knew that we were out of coffee and I didn't want to go through withdrawal because the secretary was too lazy to go to Sam's Club and get more.

One of the engineers made a great show of taking a couple of sips and then declaring, in a voice that could be heard throughout the office, "I can't taste any difference between this and the regular stuff!"

Despite his rudeness, I was polite to him, and just explained that I had only brought in the coffee because we were out. This only prompted him to go into a long-winded explanation of why my coffee was no better than the Folgers that we usually drank. It finally sunk in that, regardless of whether he could taste a difference or not, he couldn't appreciate the quality of the coffee. I had to be a "snob", because I enjoyed something that he didn't.

Reverse snobbery, ladies and germs, is as bad as the regular kind.

But, here's the deal: I will drink any coffee which is properly brewed. I will ride any bike which is properly set up and fits reasonably well. I can eat some pretty appalling food, if it's spiced correctly.

I just prefer the good stuff, I don't insist on it.

I am, however, a barbeque snob. But, I'm Southern, it's in my blood.



Charles said...

Well said. I've been accused of the same becaue of my desire for the good stuff versus any physicial or psychological need for it. I find $3 for a well prepared cup of joe a reasonable and fair price to pay for the experience.
Please count me amoung your caffinated community...where do I get my pin?

Brad said...

Charles...you are one of the founding members!!

Email me your address again, I have a hand full for you.


katina said...

Yes Jon, we all know about your coffee addiction...and the barbeque snobbery. :)


Jon said...


I'd welcome you to the club but, like Brad said, you've been in it as long as I have.

Katina: Am I really that obvious? Never mind, Iknow I am!

Charles said...

Brad and Jon,you guys are proof that it is the company you share that makes a truly great cup of coffee.

katina said...

haha! i just noticed you went back and changed poopah to poobah on the first post. awesome!

Brad said...

I think either probably fits in context of me, but intended originally to claim the bah of poob not poop.

ToddBS said...

I like the cut of your jib, good sir. Where/how do I become a member of this club?

Brad said...

ToddBS...drop me a line to hbclick at yahoo dot com. I'll give you the low down.