Thursday, August 03, 2006

point counterpoint

use the word "drip" to some people in this industry and they think you are a) talking about them, and/or b) insulting them. it's the "d" word for many purists.

i hate to rip off my friend steve's blog topic but i cannot agree more with his views on elitism in coffee as expressed by the exaltation of espresso at the expense of "coffee." it has become en vogue to exalt the perfect shot of espresso as the coup de grace and fewer and fewer people talk about the loveliness of 'regularly' brewed coffee, be it press, aerobie or even electric drip machine...yes, that!

why am i working to pull the argument back toward that direction? mostly because espresso is so incredibly machine/technology dependent--and increasingly more so--that it's becoming commonplace to hear people talk about building the bean to suit the machine. this is a mistake of epic proportions in my book that gets it exactly backward and forgets the reason we all got into this field in the first place: the coffee.

second, you have to work so much less at tasting when you taste coffee as espresso. there is no tough labor involved and little skill. basically, anyone can cup espresso because it shouts its hand loud and clear.

but cupping coffee...ah, now there's a skill. an art. sure, it's extremely time consuming to set a cupping table and sit with the coffees to really dig into their pedigrees. but that's the point: you're living around and with the coffee, not glorifying this machine or that technique. it's you and the coffee, plain and simple.

this may be my luddite moment; but i'd almost rather not have the espresso apparatus than have the coffee play second fiddle to what you're going to do to it. let's remember that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. coffee is a social tool, designed to pave the way for you to enjoy the company of others. espresso is simply too explosive a medium, in the opinion of this humble blogger, around which to enjoy a relaxing time with friends and/or family. sure, it's sexy and beautiful and all. but as with women, there are two kinds of coffee preparation in this world--there are women you wouldn't mind dating and then there are women you know you need to marry. espresso is a the celebrity dating of the coffee world. find a truly great coffee and you'll want to spend the rest of your life with it.

next time, the counterpoint to coffee versus espresso argument: coffee is the turkey to espresso's eagle.


At Thursday, 03 August, 2006, Anonymous Stephen Leighton said...

******Please read coffee as filter/ french press / aerobe / clover/ jug.*****

I think you miss my point (which probably means I didn’t explain it well). I think the coffee is the sports car (true fine Specialty coffee), and what your doing with espresso is taking it on the freeway (see I can grasp these American terms). But with other brewing methods your taking the sports car around the country lanes seeing the sights and using skill (to drive / to taste).

I’m telling you espresso is lazy coffee (and I love espresso but it is) you cant help but have an opinion on such a small fuel packed explosion of taste. Espresso is a sledgehammer to the coffee’s toothpick.

To turn my argument upside down I always find that with espresso I have the urge to evaluate it every time. Perhaps because its quick and because its over so quickly. But there are times I don’t need to think and I can just enjoy a longer cup. This is where coffee comes into its own

I guess I have such a contra point of view because I want to stick up for coffee. The elitism that’s starting to creep into espresso is hacking me off, were trying to make it less accessible to Joe public when the industry needs to kick open the doors and welcome everyone in.


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