Hey everybody it’s Tim! Welcome to today.
It’s Sunday, and I got a really great question from my good friend Rocky Lalvani.
Rocky asked me, “Why do people put all this stuff in their coffee?”
And it’s a great question.
Because people associate coffee with things like cream, sugar and flavored syrup, and those of us who are into specialty grade, really good coffee know the best way to enjoy a good cup of coffee (ostensibly) is to drink it black.
But lots of people don’t. Why is that? Even in my shop, where the coffee that I sell is under a week old, I still keep a tube of sugar and half-and-half on hand. I’ve got flavored syrups here that people add to their coffee quite regularly, so it’s a good question:
Why do people put all this stuff in good coffee?
It’s important to recognize that this kind of specialty coffee is available now in a way that it hasn’t always been. Up until now it’s been hard to get a hold of a coffee that’s really fresh and properly treated.
So what have people been drinking? They’ve been drinking office coffee made hours ago by God knows who from the can of Folgers on the shelf.
They’ve been drinking coffee made by people who don’t know. If you’re just making a pot of coffee for the office it’s not imperative that you be some sort of coffee scientist, so what we had for a very long time and still have in most places is coffee that is not of great quality and probably hasn’t been treated properly.
So what do we have to deal with that? We have cream and sugar, which do a great job of
covering over all the flavors of staleness, harshness, bitterness that you have in coffee that hasn’t been treated properly.
Now, for people who have come up drinking coffee that requires cream and sugar: just because you hand them a cup of properly crafted coffee that doesn’t have the bitterness the off flavors the staleness that they’re used to, it’s not really fair to expect people to go right to drinking black coffee.
They’re used to drinking something that tastes like cream and sugar. Perhaps they’re not ready for the actual flavor of a well-crafted cup of coffee.
It’s important that those people get the coffee that they need and can drink in a way that’s familiar to them. What I have people do, is I tell them, “Sip it black before you add cream
and sugar.” As soon as I sell someone a cup of coffee, it’s theirs to do with as they please.
So why do people put stuff in their coffee? it’s because it’s what they’re used to. I think that it’s a
little bit precious and definitely presumptuous to expect someone to start drinking their coffee black just because my coffee’s special! It’s not fair.
We can get them there, but it’s a process that requires understanding, patience, kindness, and the willingness to share and teach without condescending to people. Because you don’t know what they’ve been through.
Rocky, thank you for that great question. Coffee snobs tend to get real judgmental when people
want to add stuff to their coffee but I don’t think that’s an attitude that serves anybody. I think it’s important to understand there’s a reason why people do that. It’s just because that’s what people have had to do to be able to get coffee into their bodies.
So thanks everybody, you’re the best.