For many, coffee is a utilitarian substance in the same manner as gasoline is for our cars. Both are meant to provide fuel and as far as associations that is the beginning and the end of it. Sure, depending on the type of engine we have, it may necessitate a higher grade fuel. But it is still fuel. Why is coffee viewed that way?
Yes, I readily admit that the first ... the very first thought on my mind when I wake up is coffee. It’s part of my routine. I might even enjoy the routine of brewing coffee just as much as drinking it. Every morning through bleary eyes I make my way to the kitchen, fill up the kettle with water and click it on, and then I turn my attention to getting the coffee ready. The scale is placed on the counter along with my hand grinder. Since I am up before everyone else I don’t want to run my electric grinder to not wake anyone up. I put the grinder on the scale, tare (or zero) it, add 18 grams of coffee, and begin grinding. To pass the monotony of hand grinding (since I’ve counted it takes about 300 turns of the crank) my mind then begins to wander.
With the coffee ground and the water kettle heated up I pre-rinse the v60 filter which also heats the carafe, and then I’m ready to add coffee. Add coffee, tare the scale again, and start the timer ... it’s go time. Pour.
A couple minutes later I’m ready to enjoy my first cup of coffee for the day. You see, this isn’t merely fuel. While there admittedly is a utilitarian purpose, it’s much more than that. It’s a process to savor and a taste to thoroughly enjoy (as I am right now even as I type this). I drink coffee because ... coffee tastes good. That’s what separates it from gasoline for your car (obviously). When filling up my car it’s not like I’m savoring the experience ... nor the fumes the gas gives off or anything like that. So let’s remove coffee from the “fill ‘er up” language so often associated with it. Coffee is not fuel.
Enjoying coffee is about enjoying the coffee. The process. The care. The time. Most of all ... the taste. If you’re not a certified Q Grader who can detect every nuance or note of flavor in coffee don’t worry. You can still enjoy the taste. You can even begin by asking yourself questions (in your mind of course) like ... is it bright? How does it feel when I take a sip? Thin? Syrupy? Does it taste sweet? Sour? Bitter? Burnt? What kind of notes can I detect? Fruit? Floral? Chocolate? Nutty? You see, by working through these kinds of questions will not only help you enjoy your coffee experience more but begin to help you understand precisely which kinds of coffees you most enjoy.
Yes, it is about the coffee.
Words by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager. Photos by Grant Benesh.