It looks like my post on coffee started a bit of a discussion on Facebook about relative merits, so it’s worth reading what my son Joe, a fine maker of coffee at the place featured in my last blog, had to say about it.
Commodity grade coffee that would have been served in the 70’s would have been objectively awful, commodity coffee of the 90’s was much improved but still very low quality. American style corporate branding and descriptions such as ‘skinny’, caramel all refer to products added usually to disguise the mediocre nature of the product.
These days it is possible to easily access independent coffee shops which serve speciality grade coffee from all over the world, roasted by specialists to release incredible flavour profiles. This product is traded directly, not by brokers trying to squeeze the supplier then rip off the customer for the highest possible margin.Then when you purchase your coffee you have a finished product that is akin to a fine wine or good whisky in terms of its potential flavour profile, for roughly the same price as a bad coffee.
The speciality coffee can be pretentious, just as with anything that entails specialisation, like music, illustration. But, most places that serve this kind of product understand this and try and make it as accessible as possible so if you just want a good coffee you can speak to a barista who will tell you what might be to your taste.
Here’s a drawing of how it used to be and still is in some parts, I wonder if anywhere will escape ‘gentrification’ but am not particularly bothered if they don’t. Those old greasy spoon places were really dreadful. Artery clogging stuff and a fly circling the cake within the plastic lid. It’s a wonder anyone survived, except the fly.