Before getting into the article, you might wonder what exactly is a ‘connoisseur’. Sounds french and fancy, must have been a good thing, right? Exactly right! Because if anything, drinking coffee everyday in every way has turned me into an absolute coffee expert or as we say, coffee connoisseur. If you check every item on this list, then welcome to the coffee connoisseur life my fellow ally.
While oftentimes, people think that coffee connoisseurs are coming out as pretentious with a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude, the reality is that we just enjoy coffee more than regular people. Kind of like a wine connoisseur. While to most of all red wine tastes the same, a wine expert might disagree.
You and I, we all started drinking coffee as a way to cope with staying awake for the midterms or finals. It was never about how it tastes or how well it was roasted. As long as the coffee is not burnt, then everything is fair game. Somehow everything changes when the coffee phenomenon starts spreading worldwide. You may begin to feel like the taste of your usual coffee isn’t adequate anymore.
From that time on, everything just snowballs into having a specific taste, and knowing how exactly you like your coffee. Going into a coffee shop is no longer a “one iced americano” affair, it turns into stopping by that one coffee shop that you really like on your way out, grab a cup and specify how strong your coffee needs to be while measuring out the precise amount of sugar. How you like that?
One of the major reasons why people think that coffee connoisseurs are pretentious is the fact that they have a very specific order on how they want their coffee to be made when it comes to a cup of coffee. While it could be understandable why people might feel that way, they have to know that a coffee connoisseur has already tried and drank every single thing they have on the menu, latte, cappuccino, mocha, macchiato, and the list goes on. A coffee connoisseur couldn’t claim that title if they don’t know what a typical coffee blend tastes like.
So yes, having a specific taste is extremely justified if you take that factor into consideration. It is like eating steak in a way, after tasting and eating all kinds of steak, there has to be a recipe that you always stick to no matter where you are eating your steak. And if you want your steak sauce to have a lot of butter, then it is nobody’s business but yours.
Have you ever sit down with a cup of coffee, just chilling and vibing, but suddenly an epiphany hit you like a ton of bricks. Where does my coffee come from? Well, needless to say, you are not alone. When you drink or eat things enough times, you’ll start to wonder the origins and how it’s being made.
In the age where people are more conscious of whether a product is being ethically produced, sourced, and consumed, it is not a shock to know that coffee connoisseurs are also very interested in knowing where the drinks that they are consuming comes from. Because in order to call yourself a coffee expert, the origin and the production process of the coffee is as important as knowing how the coffee is being roasted and brewed. It is one of the characteristics that made us the coffee connoisseur and not casual drinkers.
The most common misconception that we all have when we first start drinking coffee is that all coffee tastes the same. Albeit some is a little burnt, some is a bit sour, but coffee is still coffee, right? Just like how different coffee beans that are being roasted in different ways have their taste varied, the coffee from each individual coffee shop also tastes differently. Although normal coffee consumers differentiate between coffee shops well enough, coffee connoisseurs just know.
The tastes are different in many ways than one, it is more than just espresso tastes stronger than americano. Depending on how the coffee beans are roasted and grinded combined with how they are brewed, the taste will significantly differ from one shop to another. Hence, this explains the reason why some people are willing to go out of their way to get a good cup of coffee. Based on a research conducted by OnePoll that was commissioned by Peet’s Coffee, Inc., the coffee connoisseurs from Gen Z are willing to travel 2 miles for a good cup of coffee whereas millennials are willing to travel as far as 3 miles!
When traveling far for a good cup of coffee isn’t an option, we have to settle for our local friendly neighborhood coffee shops. Because our taste is more selective when it comes to coffee, we often make orders for drinks that aren’t even on the menu. If you order enough times from a shop, the local barista will probably be saving your face and remembering your order. Of course, that is never a bad thing because it saves you so much time explaining how you want your coffee brewed every time to have an order.
While waiting for your coffee, why not also take this time to discuss coffee, the little facts that only a coffee connoisseur would know? Your local barista might appreciate someone to discuss their coffee with, especially if your local coffee shop is those owned by a coffee artisan and your barista is passionate in their trade.
In the previous point, we talked about how some people would travel miles for a good cup of coffee, so why would it be unreasonable to say that coffee connoisseurs are also picky about the coffee beans that they are purchasing? A good technique is practically obsolete if the coffee beans are bad. Every step of the process that goes into making a cup of coffee is crucial to the final outcome, especially how heavenly the coffee would taste.
To start off, freshness is the number one factor in purchasing coffee beans. Just like groceries, you want fresh coffee, and by fresh I mean coffee that has just been roasted. Some packages of the roasted coffee beans even contain the dates that the coffee has been roasted. Not only is the freshness important, the origin is also another factor to consider. Coffee beans that grow in different climates have tastes that are varied from each other. A coffee connoisseur might have a preference towards the coffee beans grown in a specific region.
All this talking about traveling miles upon miles for a good coffee, let us not forget that a good coffee connoisseur also knows how to brew a good cup of coffee. While we mentioned how Gen Z and millennials are willing to search far and wide for a good cup of heavenly tasting drink, coffee connoisseurs from the boomer generation prefer to home brew their coffee to their exact taste.
This is not to say that Gen Z and millennials do not know how to brew their own coffee, but to merely show a contrast between the generations of coffee connoisseurs. Although Gen Z and millennials prefer buying store made drinks, they would also know how to brew their own coffee if the need ever arises. The same characteristic that all three generations share as coffee connoisseurs is that they would never ever think of using instant coffee as an alternative to a cup of freshly brewed coffee. They would rather skip coffee altogether if the instant option is the only available access they have to a cup of caffeinated drink.
There is no such thing as the best way to brew your coffee because otherwise, this article would be named the best way to brew your coffee as opposed to signs you might be a coffee connoisseur. A coffee connoisseur’s preferences vary from person to person, and the way that they prefer their coffee brewed are also different. But what all coffee connoisseurs have in common is that we all know how to brew coffee in more than 3 ways. There are the typical pour over coffee, press method, stovetop method, vacuum, percolator and cold brew.
Of course, it is not necessary to know all of these methods but different brewing methods can bring out different tastes in coffee and while it is not mandatory to know, a good coffee connoisseur should learn how to do it.
We have already established that the willingness to travel far for a good cup of coffee is a trait of a coffee connoisseur, but I need to reassure you that the eagerness to drive 2 miles is not for just any coffee shop. A coffee connoisseur does their research first and foremost. While cafe hopping and tasting coffee seems like an adventure, it is absolutely meaningless if the coffee is bad. Hence, why an extensive research on customer’s review is an extremely important step that must never be skipped.
The time taken to travel to those places is the time that you are never getting back. Nobody wants the disappointment sinking into their stomach when they realize that the coffee that they anticipated so much to drink is bad, what makes it even worse is that it is their first cup of coffee for the day.
I think we all discovered arabica coffee in a similar way. Have you ever tried a new coffee shop and then they served you this sour coffee which you later learned is called arabica coffee. This leads to the misconception that all arabica coffee is sour and the non-sour coffee is another type of coffee beans. Sounds simple, right? Sour coffee and non-sour coffee.
There are two major mistakes in that line of thought that needed to be addressed and the first one is that arabica coffee is in no way sour. The reason why there are so many people who think that arabica coffee is sour is because it is not brewed properly. In fact, arabica coffee is actually sweeter than any other kind of coffee beans is made correctly. Another grave mistake is that other than arabica, there are other kinds of coffee beans that exist exclusively of one another, the most common one that we often drink is robusta, and a few other more include liberica and excelsa.
Being a coffee connoisseur is not an elite label that we wear on our foreheads to prove our superiority over anyone. The title itself, coffee connoisseur, sounds fancy and many of us claim to be one, but not without reasons. It is to simply prove that we love our coffee and we have knowledge and skills to back up with our title. With a survey of 2000 Americans that drink coffee done by OnePoll, a whopping 43% proclaim themselves as a coffee connoisseur, so there are more coffee connoisseurs than you think.
This proves that ‘coffee connoisseur’ is not an exclusive title for the coffee elites or that you have to do certain things to a certain amount to obtain a certificate identifying as one. If you are passionate enough about coffee and see yourself in most of the points listed above, then congratulations sir/madam, you are a proud coffee connoisseur.