The Coffee Bean Revolution - Fighting For Independents
Hello little coffee bean... You are responsible for artificially instigated bouts of productivity, spates of dizziness and shakes worthy of Elvis himself. You are ground, bathed, stewed and hold the title of the most popular hot drink worldwide (temperature dependent popularity is a fickle scale).
Yet we show you no respect. You deserve more 'pequeño grano de café' (little coffee bean).
I love my morning coffee, or espresso, macchiato or Latte… or sometimes all four. But, to quote esteemed directed Quentin Tarantino; ‘I want to taste my coffee when I drink it’. I bring this quote to light (ref. pulp f) because it seems that some people are really struggling to grasp the concept behind making coffee. Bad coffee is easy to make. Easy coffee is bad. And it really grinds on me. Literally.
How hot is too hot?
That is not a trick question in any shape or form.
Why the 'big boys' in the coffee industry refuse to respect how a proper coffee should be made is a conundrum that has puzzled me for years… Capital coffee crime numero-uno: coffee should be made with hot water, stop… not boiling or just boiled! Just ‘hot’, as in 'above warm' (why?) so you don’t burn the beans (good idea) so what do we do? Burn the beans. Ok.
Stop distracting us with muffins and tiffin and rich mahogany
Many coffee outlets forego the idea that we might understand the concept of a coffee by presenting us with a grossly large vat of coffee beans in an intimidating Perspex wall. A scene of impending doom, the wall ripe to breach at any moment, enveloping those careless enough to have lusted upon a few minutes of free WiFi with their cappuccino. Untimely demise under the weighty sea of lava java is an accident waiting to happen.
Nevertheless, coffee is ordered. Currency is exchanged. Loyalty cards are scanned in a futile attempt to regain a sense of financial responsibility. The impossibly large steampunk esque machines grind away, gurgle, pop and steam, beans spilling from atop their tower, plunging a few feet from the huge holding pen - the chosen few.
All to ensure your coffee is 'freshly ground'! People like to witness grinding you see. If you don't then you must be some kind of mug. The only mug around here is filled with delicious coffee *high fives all round* . After freshly grinding your coffee from the second largest Perspex-locked stock pile of natural matter in the county you are presented with your paper cup with the insulative properties of a wet cushion cover. Ouchee.
To feign value for money – your coffee is topped up with several cows worth of milk (no matter what you’ve ordered) run through the steam again and placed upon a counter several miles away from where you entered the shop.
You proceed to try and identify your drink, at the baggage claim area- luckily someone wrote your name on the cup. Well they asked your name. Unless your name is 'unidentifiable scrawl' you are shit out of luck son.
You do however have enough time to wait until all the other coffees have been claimed as you need at least 30 minutes before thinking about putting your face near to the cup, let alone drink it at a safe temperature...
What is the light at the end of this espresso black tunnel? Well all credit to the Spanish and Italians who for the vast majority know how to make a good cup of coffee (pat on the backs all round). But for us poor sods on isle of Blighty, if you have any sense at all, go to an independent coffee shop that will take more than 45 seconds to make a cup, find one that is actually good .. and stick to it. Show the coffee some respect. ¡Viva la revolución del café