A Real Coffee Snob Responds To Food Republic’s “13 Signs You’re A Coffee Snob”

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Chantal Martineau, the famed defamed author of “Coffee Power Rankings”, has penned a “13 Signs You’re A Coffee Snob” piece for Food Republic (tagline “Eating The Way A Man Should Eat”). We feel Chantal’s article really missed the mark, so we asked a real coffee snob, Laurent Harlow, to weigh in on Martineau’s list.

1. You not only have a regular coffee bar, but a regular barista

I prefer rotating my selection of coffee bars day-to-day, so no, I don’t have a “regular coffee bar with a regular barista.” That’s really more of a layman’s thing. I like to spread my coffee dollar around and support a wide variety of specialty coffee small businesses in my region. Plus, no one wants to see the same demitasse day after day on my Instagram. Duh.

2. You’ve attended cuppings. Not just lame-ass beginner “Intro to Cupping 101” deals. But hardcore, extremely rare, get-your-nose-way-down-into-that-microlot-type shit. Varietal cuppings. Cuppings of coffees that retail for $20 per cup and sell at auction for $100 a pound. You’ve used descriptors like “leguminous,” “nippy” and “tastes like Kenya.”

It’s “variety”.

3. You own your own cupping spoon

One cupping spoon?  I own at least eight, many of which have been laser engraved with affirmations and testaments to my character. 

4. You cringe at the thought of putting milk in brewed coffee

Ever hear of a Cà phê sữa đá without sweetened condensed milk? Obviously not. My twice annual trip to New Orleans involves a visit to the Cafe Du Monde French Market Coffee Stand for a cafe au lait and beignet. Clearly, you need to get out more.

5. You will allow yourself the odd iced coffee, but only as a lark. And only brewed the Japanese way. And only if it comes in a cute, stubby brown bottle.

The iced coffees that come in “cute, stubby brown bottles” are not brewed the “Japanese way.” Fact check!

6. You’re so over latte art.

Hating on latte art is really more of a 2006 thing. Beauty is truth, and community is beauty. 

7. It goes without saying, but you won’t set foot in a Starbucks

As a connoisseur of the finer things in life, I’ll imbibe a Mocha Frappuccino® with aplomb, and perhaps help myself to that delightful Protein Box. Starbucks made my snobbery possible, and is the bedrock upon which specialty coffee in North America was built. Respect.

8. Ever since that time at your in-laws’, you have no qualms traveling with your own coffee supplies

Like any good son/daughter-in-law, I bring my in-laws coffee. We bought them a proper set-up years ago. 

9. You’re kinda over Geisha, too. (Now that Starbucks serves it for $7 a cup.)

(Heavy sigh) It’s Gesha, unless you’re talking about Panama Esmeralda. 

10. You talk about Geisha to people without any explanation of what it is, assuming everyone knows it’s a rare and coveted variety of coffee that only princes and bean junkies can afford to drink on a daily basis.

Anyone whose drinking the same coffee on a daily basis clearly needs to expand their profile.

11. Brewing your morning cup requires at least seven different apparatuses, none of which is a coffeemaker. (Cheat sheet: burr grinder, scale, timer, kettle, thermometer, Chemex or other pour-over, reusable gold coffee filter.)

You forgot “electric kettle to boil water and then place in additional room temperature kettle; preferably Takahiro, with a long, tapered spout modified with a flow-restrictor.” My scale and timer are integrated but I use a vintage Le Jour antimagnetic 1/10 hand-wound mechanical stop watch for aesthetics. 

No but really, pour-overs are coffeemakers. A Chemex is a coffeemaker. And I prefer oxygen bleached paper filters.

12. You read coffee blogs. Or better yet, write one.

I prefer printed coffee quarterlies – the kind that are strictly digital-free, invitation only, and largely ignored by the mainstream media.

13. You are suspicious of unsubstantiated claims of coffee snobbery. Like, when your neighbor says he’s “really into coffee,” you smile politely and say “that’s nice.” But really you’re thinking, “I bet he doesn’t even drink cortados.”

Who drinks cortados? Was this list originally drafted in 2011? It’s all about the coffee shot, these days.

Laurent Harlow is a longtime friend, first time contributor to Sprudge.com. You can follow him on Twitter, but we don’t recommend it.

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