It’s Saturday morning, and I’m savoring my second cup of coffee. I hate the morning, but I love the brew. Actually, it’s not the morning that I hate–it’s the feeling I have when I wake up. My wife is a morning person. She pops out of bed and becomes fully awake in a matter of seconds. I’m like one of those hold t.v. sets that had to warm up before the picture began to fade in. It takes me about three hours, a very hot shower, and a second cup of coffee to get going at full steam. Very frustrating, that, since most of the world is trucking by the early hours of the morning. I suppose my theory should mean I will wake up, given the requisites, regardless of the time I start. The fact is, however, that I’m set back considerably until about 10:00, at which point the sun tricks my body into thinking its not morning anymore. Since I usually get up around 7:00, my theory still holds, but there are some obvious variables.
Back to the coffee. I’m a second degree coffee snob. There are many things in life that I do not require to be name brand. Certain foods, like spaghetti o’s and macaroni and cheese, have an obvious taste factor involved. And for a lot of other things, “you get what you pay for” does seem to be true. But I guess I’m a cheap-o at heart, because I am very willing to go generic. Yet, with coffee it’s something more. Not only will I not consider generic, I buy Starbucks. Let me add here that Megan and I are newly married and both paying for graduate school. Starbucks is really just a bad financial decision. I can’t help it though; it’s my vice. I think anyone with a taste bud left in their mouth will admit the taste difference between Starbucks and Folgers. An interesting observation along those lines, made by a friend of mine after we bought gas-station coffee on a road trip (regrettably): “The generation before us doesn’t care how coffee tastes, as long as its cheap. We don’t care how much it costs as long as it tastes good.” I thought it was right on the mark, and my case is a perfect example. There is more, though. I refuse to buy ground beans. I have a coffee grinder that sings its tune on a regular basis, freshly unlocking the roasted goodness of the whole bean. It’s a beautiful thing.
I am, nonetheless, only a second degree snob. I make the distinction thinking of some friends who manage turn their nose up at Starbucks! The preference is for some esoteric mark of locally roasted coffee. Or for something exotic if that happens along. I’m not saying there isn’t better coffee out there. My point is–come on!–Starbucks tastes good. I’m not a connoisseur, but I’ve drank a lot of coffee, in country, from some places in Latin America that have a claim on good coffee. I’ve not made it to Europe, and I hear Italian expresso is the best, but at all odds, Starbucks tastes good. Let’s not hate on it just because they had the good sense to hire someone with marketing skills in addition to making good java. It’s just a little like those people who have that bizarre need to know where the “the best” restaurants are. Even if there is nowhere good in town, they’ll take you to one they’ve been in once because they enjoy the self-perception of knowing, talking the whole way there about how good it is. One is left with the impression that they have actually convinced themselves the food tastes first rate.
Anyway, I’m really only making distinctions within snobbishness, and at the end of the day, I’m a coffee snob too. There is probably a “Folgers tastes good” blog out there somewhere. At last I’ll say, in order to identify with all the common folk =) , that if I’m struggling to make it through class, I’ll drink the mud they burn up at school, and that hardly even qualifies as coffee. In fact, I think it’s God’s way of punishing me for being caffeine dependent.