Common Knowledge: “Bad” Coffee?

Coffee Common NYC is underway in Chelsea. In a recent blog post, CC explains a section of its pop-up: “At the ingredients bar folks can taste exactly how cream and sugar make bad coffee taste better by masking it, and delicious coffee taste worse by diluting it.

At its core, Coffee Common’s aim is to enhance the public image of coffee, and we feel that’s terrific. We imagine a lot of New York coffee drinkers never really gave their usual coffee modifications much thought. It’s appropriate for Coffee Common to showcase exquisite coffee at this limited engagement. However, we take issue with celebrating “delicious” coffee while categorically poo-pooing everything else. We’re reminded of the Sweet Maria’s/Coffee Shrub 2012 “Mondo Coffee” calendar and the month of April that asks some tough questions:

Is anyone thinking about the importance of volume anymore? And how can a roaster act like they just hit a home run for the farmer when they buy a 10 bag Micro Lot? How is that going to pay the bills?”

We feel it’s important to celebrate all coffee, in all forms, from the most delicious 90+ coffee served in a champagne flute to the Cafe du Monde au lait, served with beignets and a heaping helping of powdered sugar. The segundos have their place in the coffee chain. Just because a coffee could benefit from the addition of cream and or sugar doesn’t necessarily make it a bad coffee. 




  1. Woody DeCasere

    24 January

    interesting, yet at the same shops we are pushing milky lattes on people…my point is we as a coffee community need to roast the best coffee we can to achieve the greatest desired result (amazing coffee which stands up on it’s own) but in the end the customer must decide for themselves what they like and we don’t need to get offended by how they prefer their coffee.

  2. Anonymous

    21 January

    And even if a coffee doesn’t benefit from the addition of cream and/or sugar it’s not necessarily delicious…to your customers.

  3. Jack

    21 January

    To deny cream and sugar misses the whole point. It’s about happy people, not happy coffee. No wonder those shops go out of business.

  4. Willbur

    20 January

    I think this is taken completely out of context. It’s not Coffee Common making statements. Their setting up a place for people to actually taste these results and experience it for themselves. Maybe some of the folks experiencing this won’t agree. But at least they will actually think about it…

  5. barkingburro

    20 January

    If you’ve tried the better made coffees black and still prefer your cream and sugar, then who are these cultists to declare that all people will prefer their coffee black? Not only do some of us have an incurable sweet tooth, we can still taste the difference between different SO coffees and we still prefer the better coffees over lesser ones, fresher roasted over stale, fresher ground over stale, etc. Even my own local roaster doesn’t get me, but that doesn’t mean he denies the proof that I can taste the difference.

  6. Jack

    20 January

    We’re not about to attempt to define the customers’ taste for them. We can persuade people to taste the coffee black beforehand as many will be surprised at the inherent sweetness of good coffee. After that, they’ll take their sugar ‘n cream. The final concern for us: Did they leave happy?

  7. Dakotabound

    20 January

    I dunno. You haven’t had the free vending machine “coffee” at my work.

    Even cream and sugar can’t help it. *shudders*

  8. Lalo

    19 January

    I agree with the final statement. I more and more think that instead of resisting it we should embrace milk and sugar in coffee. If most places are offering it anyway then why not find a  proportion of these ingredients that work well with the coffee that is being served? By not doing so we are offering a product only partially crafted by us. The rest, and final result, is left for the customer to decide. If a roaster really doesn’t think that their coffee benefits from milk or sugar they shouldnt be offered at all. 

Follow us on Instagram