Ruth's Rules for Coffee, Part 3: How to Handle Pretentious Coffee People
The joke runs like this: I like my coffee the way I like my men--tall, dark, rich, and hot. To that, I'd add that a bit of sweetness wouldn't go amiss. The question of the day, however, is not how I like my coffee (or my men) but how to deal with Pretentious Coffee People.
You know the type I mean. The ones who insist that they only use beans imported from the moon and then individually hand-toasted over organic candle flame. Who only drink pour-over coffees made by college students boasting mini-handlebar mustaches, who stand with one arm behind their backs and stare off into space like disaffected Hipster matadors as they pour the hot water at a trickle. People who, when discussing coffee, tend to use words like balance, complex and robust rather than the more typical coffee-related words more, please, and now.
The world being what it is, you probably won't have to look far to find a Pretentious Coffee Drinker. (Some of you need look no further than the mirror). Once you've settled on who they are, the next question is what to do about them.
What you do depends on what type of Pretentious Coffee Drinkers they happen to be.
How to Handle Pretentious Coffee Drinkers:
#1 - The Incidentally Pretentious
If you have a friend who happens to be Incidentally Pretentious about coffee, don't worry about it. If it makes him happy to stand in a twenty-minute line and spend $10 on a cup of cloth-filtered, vacuum-brewed coffee with a sprinkle of cardamom, so be it.
Some things are just not worth getting worked up over.
#2 - The Intentionally Pretentious
If you run into people who are Intentionally Pretentious about coffee, ignore them. This is the best response to people who are intentionally pretentious about anything, actually. People like this get a kick out of feeling superior, which they're probably going to do regardless of your response. So if they want to spend a half an hour waxing pedantic about why an imported luxury syphon brewer is the only way to get a good home-brewed cup of coffee, let them. Meanwhile, while they're honking on in the background like Charlie Brown's teacher, you can spend your time imagining how much money you'll save by not importing a luxury syphon brewer from Belgium.
#3 - The Pretentious Coffee Proselytizers
These are the ones you really need to watch out for: the ones bent on convincing the world that coffee must be drunk their way or not at all. Stopping just short of growing tiny mustaches and pounding podiums while screaming about TDS levels, these Pretentious Coffee Proselytizers are nevertheless everything that is wrong with coffee today, and they must be stopped.
Why must they be stopped?
Because they've lost sight of the point.
In the end, a cup of coffee is just that - a cup of coffee. Anyone who's ever wrapped cold fingers around a warm mug in the early morning knows that it doesn't always have to be made from rarefied beans or have a complex flavor profile to soothe the soul. And while drinking fancy coffee produced by complicated brewing methods is certainly not a bad thing, it's also not the point of coffee.
The point of coffee, after all, is just that it exists.
And that's the real miracle.