Is there such a thing as the PERFECT cup of coffee? I’m sure many would argue there is, particularly those within the coffee roasting world which is replete with cuppings, scoring, rating, testing, extracting, and more. But what about the “commoner?” You know … those who don’t have a Chemex tattoo on their forearm or those who haven’t participated in a latte art throw down. Us. Where we know what we like in coffee and how we like it. I was thinking about this recently.
Last weekend I was serving pourovers at a Warner Pacific University basketball game. Wait, basketball? I thought Loam Coffee was all about the hype and stoke of mountain biking? Selling out? Brand drift? Not exactly. As I mentioned in my last post one of the things I’ve been working on is starting a collegiate mountain biking team. As a result Loam Coffee has not only become a sponsor for this, but for the athletics program as a whole. As a way to promote us the athletic director invited us to serve pourovers at the games. Not only were we able to serve coffee in between people buying popcorn, beef jerky sticks and M&Ms, I was able to talk about the emerging cycling team. It was a win-win.
So let me set the stage for you and for this conversation. The small school is located smack dab in the middle of Portland … the land of hipsters, breweries, and a specialty coffee scene second to none. While we have an amazing array of Third Wave coffee shops serving locally roasted coffee I continue to realize how that appeals to a very small segment of society. Case in point, I live right by one such shop and also a couple of blocks from a Starbucks. The Starbucks is always packed with people.
I saw this at the games. People would walk by and do a double-take at our pourover set-up. Many had never seen one before and asked what it was. Then when they ordered a cup of coffee the immediate follow-up question was, “Do you have any creamer?” We obliged and had almond milk, coconut milk, and regular 2% milk available. Almost everyone wanted something in their coffee along with some sort of sweetener. Again, we obliged with offering agave syrup.
That had me thinking about the perfect cup of coffee. What is the perfect cup? Sure, we have data, cupping scores, and the like to possibly tell us, but in reality the perfect cup is the one you like. Do you like it black? Do you add some sort of milk? Oat? Hemp? Coconut? Almond? Sweetener? Now the follow-up question is … should you feel guilty for adding things to your coffee? No, not at all. You know what you like and how you like it. Therefore, simply enjoy it. Period. If you buy coffee from us and the way you enjoy it at home is with a Mr. Coffee brewer that you found at Goodwill for $8 I’d be stoked for you. Because it’s about you, not about us. (On a side note: I’ve been known to buy things like Mr. Coffee brewers at Goodwill to experiment with to see if I can make an amazing cup of coffee. You’d be shocked …)
We all like what we like and it’s not always explainable. I love asparagus but I hate cauliflower. I have no idea why. I love my coffee black made with a Hario V60 pourover. For me it hits just right and I enjoy continuing to experiment with grind size, water temp, and filters. You may enjoy espresso drinks … straight shots, Americanos, lattes, etc. Maybe the only thing you have at home is a French Press or percolator. While we offer brew guides for varying up your methods we also want you to simply enjoy what you have.
So what is the perfect cup of coffee? The one you enjoy.
Words and photos by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager.