Since I started drinking good coffee (third wave coffee or coffee you would do a Chemex pour over with) it’s now gott that good coffee has ruined coffee for me. Essentially, the better the coffee I drink, the less I’m able to enjoy less than good coffee.
I used to be able to pound coffee from anywhere. It never really mattered, all I ever used to care about was the caffeine and really all coffee tasted the same. Didn’t matter if it was airplane, church basement, deli, bagel cart, Dunkin, Verve, Spyhouse, Dogwood, you name it and it all pretty much tasted the same to me. Except office coffee, office coffee has always been terrible.
When we moved back to Minneapolis from New York I started getting into good coffee. It started slowly after I got my first Chemex and was doing my own pour overs. I started to care about how my coffee was roasted and where the beans were sourced from. In the world of the coffee bean, you get what you pay for. Cheap beans and cheap roasters create an inferior product. Before we got a Chemex, we rarely made coffee at home. So I’d grab a cup wherever was convenient and I never put much thought into where we were getting coffee. The quality of coffee I had was at the mercy of my local baristas.
I remember wanting to start making coffee at home, but instead of a Mr. Coffee we decided to go all in and try making our own pour over coffee with a Chemex. Since we were brewing at home we might as well go all in. Right around this time a Spyhouse opened in our neighborhood. That meant we were going there all the time for coffee as well as buying their beans for at home. After going to get good coffee everyday & brewing fresh beans, I started to taste what good coffee was.
Over time I started watching videos online, talking to baristas and reading blog posts about the different techniques to use to get the best pour over coffee at home. I started buying premium coffee online from roasters like Dogwood, Verve, Irving Farm and a bunch of other roasters around the country. We bought a nice grinder and kettle and eventually my favorite coffee shop in town became my kitchen. I even started making my own cold brew.
I recently payed $4.50 for a 12oz cup of coffee. I have no problem paying more for coffee, especially if you think about all the people involved in getting coffee from it’s origins to you it’s incredible how little we actually pay for coffee to begin with. We’re definitely not paying enough for coffee. But this coffee was terrible – just bitter/stale/over roasted – and I couldn’t finish it. I tried a few times to force it down but I just couldn’t do it. This is starting to become a thing. Before I became a coffee snob I would have probably just drank it and assumed that it was fine. But not now, good coffee has ruined coffee for me.
Now I cant drink coffee anywhere anymore. It’s really annoying and frustrating – I’ve ruined coffee for myself. I really like being able to get coffee anywhere when I’m out, but the more bad coffee I drink the less I’m willing to try.
I used to work with another developer who only bought the cheapest wine and drank Folders coffee out of those old school cans. They told me the reason they did this was A) to save money and B) so they didn’t get a taste for the good wine/coffee and therefore were able to save money and it kept them from drinking more. They were really on to something.
Since brewing my own stuff using my technique that I’ve worked on for so long, it’s made me dislike 90% of the coffee out there. It’s easy for me to carefully pour over two cups of coffee, but I can’t imagine doing it at scale for an entire coffee shop for 10 hours a day. It’s got to be incredible hard to keep all those beans fresh and keep the proper technique while slinging coffee to the masses. So, bravo to all those good coffee shop employees out there who are able to scale and keep the good coffee rolling. I know I’d never be able to do that.
So, in conclusion, I inadvertently became a coffee snob & ruined most coffee for me. Drinking good coffee has ruined most coffee for me.