The Rules Don't Necessarily Apply

The Rules Don't Necessarily Apply

I've been roasting coffee for a while now and if there's one thing that experience has taught me, it's that rules are made, then they're bent, then they're broken. If you were to search online in various barista and coffee forums, you will see endless discussions (fights) about whether or not you should use an Ethiopian washed Guji for espresso, or pour-over. Whether dark roast coffee has more or less caffeine than a lighter roast. Whether you stir clockwise or counter-clockwise when using a V-60 pour-over (for you non coffee nerds, this is actually a real debate).

When I was young my mom used to tell me that I was perfect just the way I was. I believed it because that's what I was told, and it made me feel good. Then I made a few mistakes, made a few thousand more, and started realizing that just because someone says something, it doesn't necessarily make it true. When I started drinking coffee as an adult, I was told that oils on the surface of the coffee bean show quality. My tongue said, "LIES!!" but I didn't listen. I kept drinking really horrible coffee just because I was given the wrong information. My brain, conditioned to abide, rode in the sidecar mindlessly eating a sandwich . I spent years of my life resisting what my own palette was telling me.... "Stop the madness! You'll die old and alone if you alienate yourself from the perfection of a well balanced brew!!"  OK, that's a little extreme but you get the drift. 

I'm gonna steer away from the standard third-wave fist-a-cuffs and let you, the drinker, know a little secret. If you like it...... drink it. Yup, it's that simple. Every pocket of civilization has it's miriade of coffee options to chose from.... the light, bright and fruity, the deep chocolate and cherry, the burnt (not recommended), or the crispness of an icy cold brew. These are all on the menu, every day, in every town. The problem is, you don't know what you like until you taste it. You don't taste it because you're following what you've read, what you've heard, what you've been told. You see the issue!?

Take our India Monsoon Malabar that we are serving as our limited specialty espresso right now. Deep and sweet, with a thick and syrupy mouthfeel. This guy breaks all the rules on standard espresso extraction. EVERY rule. I never would have known how good this espresso can be if I didn't accidentally extract it incorrectly. I screwed it up, but I tasted it. My brain, trained to follow all the proper nerdy rules, told me to toss it. But.... I tasted it. I smiled. I loved it. I busted out one of those awkward old-man dances. Then I made it for the staff. They told me I was insane. They resisted. They loved it. They danced better than I did.

You see, coffee isn't a rule, it's an experience. It's the environment you're in. It's the person you're with. It's the laughter, the gossip, the proposals, the break-ups. Do your very best every day to trust that voice deep down that says, "I love you.... seduce me with what makes you happy." Live life by your own rules and drink the coffee that makes you smile. Just make sure it's made responsibly, and crafted with passion.