Wednesday, May 11, 2011
While there's a burgeoning coffee culture in other cities like Portland and New York, SF's is pretty much unrivaled (as of now). I've never known much about coffee or even liked it very much, but living here has taught me a lot. Just a few years ago I was still adding cream and sugar, likening my cup to that of melted ice cream. I remember my first revelatory experience - that $20,000 cup of Blue Bottle siphon brew that was so sweet and smooth on its own. I'm still no expert, but I've learned to appreciate the seemingly pretentious latte/cap art as a good indication of the quality of microfoam, and can better understand the reasons behind increasing prices.
Who makes your coffee also makes such a big difference, which is why I think I'm drawn to Blue Bottle. My friend, who has biases of his own, admitted that they have really great technique, while other roasters might do more research on their beans and farms. Even within Blue Bottle though, some people are markedly more skilled than others (I for sure have a favorite barista), so I feel like discussions about the "best" coffee shops are a bit pointless. What does it even mean to be the best?
I've also realized what a snob I've become, ugh! The other day I had to meet a friend at some random cafe, and I seriously considered not getting anything so I wouldn't have to waste my money on burnt mediocrity or spongy foam. Good coffee is a treat for me, and I don't drink it out of habit, addiction, or for a caffeine fix. While I sound super elitist right now, I think it's justifiable to save my money for something I deem worthy of indulging in.
I don't have a point or message I'm trying to make, except that coffee can be something to be savored, and it's a real privilege to delight in the work of so many hands that strive to make it something special. Anyway, I'm excited to see how this community grows and where it's going!