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John Despres
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It's a success story, at least...

Last week I hosted a meeting in the back garden with the director of a production currently in the design phase. It's been rather warm these past few days, so we agreed to an outdoor meeting over coffee. I ended with "I'll roast something especially nice". Ethiopia Bonko Black Sun.

She arrived promptly at 9:30 with her paper go-cup and adult sippy lid.

Me: You brought coffee!!? I roasted a fine bean just for you!

She: I know. I'll just add it to this

Me: Uh, no you won't!

She: Well, I can't drink it straight.

Me: Sure you can. You'll be surprised by what you're about to taste. Blown away, in fact.

She: (Defensively) Doesn't matter. Ever since I went to India, something happened there and I can't drink coffee normally again.

My guest describes her coffee and food experiences abroad, and while a very interesting story, I thought it was a cop-out.

The kettle was already on the boil, so I offered the bean jar for a sniff resulting in a very nice comment of approval. I then measured out the beans and ground them again offering a fragrant sniff. More and greater approval.

She: Do you have any half & half?

Me: No.

She: Milk?

Me: Nope. I don't have anything to add. We drink it black around here and we're not very accommodating to the whims of others where coffee is concerned.

She: (Giving up the topic) How about sugar? I know you have sugar, right?

Me: I have sugar, but you must taste it first.

She: I will. I'll take a tiny sip. I promise.

Me: I know you will, I'll be watching.

She: I probably won't finish it, though.

Me: That's okay. All you owe me is a taste. Then you can go back to the commercial blech you brought with you. It really is okay if you don't like it, but even if you don't like Picasso's painting, you won't paint over them will you?

She: No.

Me: Very well, then. Let's brew some coffee.

I prep the pour-over, using my Coava Kone and the Chemex, which she finds impressive. Once the water is boiling, I decant it to my Hario Buono beehive kettle and wet the grounds. Once I begin the pour, I describe what's happening.

Me: See the tiny bubbles? Fresh coffee, babee! No bubbles, stale coffee!

As the grounds begin to swell, and I reach that perfect muffin-top of wet grounds in the filter and I offer the aroma.

She: Oh, wow! That smells great! I promise I'll take a sip before adding the sugar.

I smile and finish the pour. After emptying the now warmed cups, I pour our elixir and hand her the cup.

Me: Inhale first with an open mouth, then sip.

I demonstrate. She does then hesitantly takes a sip.

She: Oh, my! That's delicious! I've never had coffee like this before.

Me: Thanks! Grab your bag and let's get to work.

We worked for about an hour or so.

As we were collecting our papers,

Me: (looking into her cup) Let's see how much is left.

She: None. It's all gone. I've never had anything like it before. How did you do that?

Me: First, it's good beans. Terroir, Babee! Then it's all about respecting the bean; proper roasting is everything.

She: Well, that was the best coffee I've ever had. Where can I buy something that good?

Me: Rowster (pronounced roaster) Coffee on Wealthy. The best there is. Kurt truly loves and respects the bean and you'll find it's excellent.

I gave her a half pound of Columbian from Rowster's and we parted with me winning the coffee debate.

Most names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Edited by ginny on 06/19/2012 10:08 PM
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
You get the gold star!! ...such composure. Well done you coffee snob! -Scott
Took off work at 1pm today and after getting home I really had no desire for a cup but after reading John's post I ran for the roaster and browned a 1/4lb of Tanzanian and promptly brewed a large cup. Talk about power of suggestion!

While I was reading the story I thought gee, what an ignorant lady not knowing how good this coffee will be and for not jumping at the chance to experience it but I then thought back to before I had ever experienced exceptional artisan coffee and what swill I was willing to except as coffee it hit me that we sometimes forget that before being enlightened we were just like her or worse.

Great story John,

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
John, I'm sure we all have similar stories including our own first experiences, but this one is eloquent.

Allen, It's called the "Curse of Knowledge." We've forgotten what it was like to know nothing about good coffee. This tends to make us poor ambassadors because we can't relate. I try to keep in mind my humble beginnings. I used to buy whole bean 8 O'Clock coffee. I thought I was at the leading edge of coffee snobbery because I ground my own beans at home.
John Despres
My first experience with home roasted coffee was very gentle and my host was gracious and accommodating of my ignorant snobbery. It was a few years before I tried it on my own with his gentle help and the instigation of my wife.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
there is

NOTHING wrong with ADDITIVES in coffee...

personal choice is the key guys...

I must agree with ginny on additives. I argue that since I drink my coffee the same way, I can tell good from crap. Crap - no matter how much cream and sugar I add is still crap.

John, that's great! Converting yet another to the joys of fresh-roasted coffee.

John Despres
I won't serve ketchup with a steak I grill, either.
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.

your house, your rules

though how can you dictate taste; there is no universal taste bud...

John Despres
I don't dictate taste. I didn't need cream. I don't need cream. In the hundreds of cups I've poured for creamed coffee drinkers, there's only been one instance where it was asked for after tasting. Only once. We had milk in the house, so I gave him some.

I'm confident, that's all. Confidant. So confidant, in fact, we don't keep coffee dairy around the house. Don't need it. Unless of course I'm making a latte or something to that effect.

One Thanksgiving I served Panama Esmerelda Geisha Lot #2 with dessert (remember the $125.00 per pound auction lot?).

My brother-in-law threw a huge plop of Cool-Whip in his. WITHOUT TASTING IT FIRST! Cool whip!! (The cool whip was for one lactose intolerant guest instead of whipped cream). The gasp all around the table could be heard for miles.

My brother-in-law gets Sanka from then on. Really.
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
My "house rules" are somewhere in between. I happen to keep H&H in the frig for the cats and soups, but I encourage newbies to taste it "neat" before adding anything. I explain that the real reason they add creamer and/or sugar is to neutralize the bitter taste in the coffee they drink, and that my fresh roasted Arabica isn't bitter, so no creamer is needed.
I really do respect the purist, but I have long since abandoned all food 'rules'.
I drink black, cream, cream n sugar, add liquor...whatever I happen to feel like.
I cook with 12 yr scotch...and I don't care.
I don't add anything to mask....only to add.

Great story John! -Scott

I was actually speaking in general that we cannot dictate taste/choice though in your confident approach you are dictating taste/choice which is, of course, your choice.

we all do it in some form or another.

as an artist I would think that you, above most, would accept taste/choice but this conversation is going to go way beyond your initial post.

I was not trying to be egregious with you in any way at all.


an sanding 800 sq feet of deck in between beach and tiki
we all do it:

I slam the other guy's all the time.

John Despres
I will allow anyone to add what they want. Only once has anyone aver added anything to their coffee. Only once. Believe me, I've served up a lot of my coffee.

By producing a great cup of coffee, I am confidant they will want no additives. I think I demonstrated that in my story above. However if they do, there's probably something in the house. We're not milk drinkers and we don't use cream or milk products in our coffee, so there's usually nothing to add. We typically don't stock something we don't use. It'll go bad in the fridge.

In the above story there was nothing in the house to add.

Had I purchased something on the off-chance my guest would have liked it, it would have been unnecessary and would wasting away now two weeks later.

My art is totally different and not comparable at all. I present it knowing full well it will be ignored, hated, loved, liked or simply disliked. However, there is one rule - Once someone states their opinion, I ask them why. Whether they like or not I enjoy knowing why. I am never, that's never, offended if someone dislikes my work for whatever reason they share. Of course I build it to be liked, but it's not the same as preparing food.

Cool whip without tasting the coffee first? Sanka for them.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.


John Despres wrote:

... Sanka for them.

What's Sanka ? :smiley-837.gif:
Ciel... seeking Heaven in my cup with ................................................................................................................. EXPOBAR Brewtus II - MAZZER Mini E - MAHLK?NIG Vario - GeneCafe - RAF-1 Extreme (Modified B-2 HOTTOP) - BellaTaiwan XJ-101
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