Coffee snobbery is a fairly recent phenomenon. Starbucks has enabled a culture of coffee douchebags to populate the world and spread words like "fair trade" and "organic". Even so it surprised me to hear a statistic recently from the USDA that coffee consumption peaked in 1946. In those day people had the time to savour a cup of joe at breakfast, after dinner or with friends at home, diner or at a restaurant. Soldiers returning home from Italy had been fooled into thinking an Americano was an actual coffee and not a joke played on them. In today’s drive thru world we cart around our java in environmentally friendly paper cups to keep us awake and have the time to care if the coffee is fair trade. We may drink coffee but do we even enjoy it?
Like Maslow and self actualization, HDTT has created a hierarchy of coffee snobbery The progression on the hierarchy is gradual and at every step of the way you think you are better then everybody else on either side.
Stage 1 – Coffee is an afterthought. You will drink anything from instant to whatever brand is on sale at Walmart or a discount supermarket. Your coffeemaker was a gift, on sale or was left over by the previous tenant.
Stage 2 – You are a Tim Hortons loyalist. The thought of getting a double double anywhere else makes you cringe. You would never vote for a politician who would buy coffee from anywhere else because it would make an elitist. Try not to laugh when a former Harvard professor from London, England proves his down to earthiness by ordering a double double. Your coffeemaker brews Tim at home or another mid range national brand.
Stage 3 – You enjoy buying your coffee from a premium national or international chain of coffee shops. You prove your individuality by knowing the difference between sizes (a venti is a large) and being able to order espresso based drinks with inflated prices due to the addition of 5 cent flavour shots or 10 cent chocolate flakes. You think the average donut store coffee drinker has no taste or teeth. You did some research before buying a coffee maker, use a grinder sometimes and have a number of premium blends you purchase.
Stage 4 – As a hipster douchebag you only drink coffee from a local independent coffee shop. This shows you’re a free thinking liberal even though every shop of this type is exactly the same.
- It’s located in a gentrifying neighbourhood because the rents are still cheap but the really scary minorities have moved out.
- The table and chairs are from a used furniture store. It adds a touch of retro coolness while making loiterers uncomfortable after 20 minutes
- A white barista with a liberal arts degree who wont serve you an espresso in a paper cup as it ruins the taste. Meanwhile the Italian café in business for 50 years serves it up in a Styrofoam cup
- Inconvenient hours since the owner knows that leaving the barista alone is his shop will lead to financial ruin as he will steal or give his unemployed friends free coffee. Plus the neighbourhoods scary minorities come out at night
- Wi Fi for free loaders even though theres only one table
- Horrible baked goods from the local gluten free bakery
- A soundtrack powered by an Ipod filled with local indie bands, ironic pop, 30 year old new wave and a Tribe Called Quest. Every white hipster likes Tribe.
- Terrible Art on the walls from local residents
- The menu is written on a chalkboard. There are five items and the only thing that changes is the feature coffee. This week it's from Costa Freakin' Rica. Starbucks stole this to inform us that Barista Kelly loves a soy latte.
- A flyer for yoga
- Wardrobe by American Apparel
The coffee may be a lot better then it was in 1946, but something tell me that they enjoyed it a helluva lot more then we do now. Plus that hipster who wouldn't make me an espresso in a paper cup would have been killed at the hands of his own men.