Coffee — Make It Your Own
Forget grams, brew temperature & timings. Instead, fire on your favourite playlist and have a little fun with it.
Let me introduce myself. I’m Liam, a 22 year-old Glaswegian who’s been obsessed with coffee for the past 5 years.
My fascination with ‘good coffee’ began with a chance encounter. During my time working in sales, I was introduced to a customer who coincidentally owned a chain of coffee shops.
While I attempted (unsuccessfully) to upgrade his phone contract, he explained the numerous benefits of brewing ‘good coffee’ at home. Although i was still in ‘selling mode’, something about his tone, words and demeanour convinced me to listen.
And thank fuck i did.
Unsure about how exactly he’d managed to convince me, I, in an almost auto-pilot like state purchased a French Press the very next day. And i never looked back.
Until that point i’d been bludgeoning my taste buds with instant garbage. Thankfully, like an angel from heaven this stranger had descended from an ethereal plane and introduced me to a life better lived.
A life without instant.
Since then, I’ve immersed myself in coffee culture. From upgrading to fresh beans, to only buying from independent roasters, to actually working for a coffee roastery — I’ve done it all.
And for now, I live a life halfway between clueless instant drinker and pretentious coffee connoisseur. I believe that you should always buy fresh beans from independent roasters, grind the coffee fresh yourself and brew using your preferred method.
What I don’t believe in is the pretentious, nit picking, overly meticulous side of coffee culture.
The Road (Usually) Taken
Unfortunately, what usually happens when one, like myself, becomes obsessive with coffee culture, is that they value precision and exactitudes above all else:
- They’ll tell you that your Aeropress has to have exactly 14.35692g of coffee or it won’t taste right.
- They’ll demand that your brew temperature sits at exactly 90°
- They’ll try to convince you that only ‘they’ can do what ‘they’ can do when the exact thing they’re doing is pulling a simple espresso shot.
These maniacal idiots get so wrapped up in their own bullshit that they forget the importance of preference. They’ve spent so long masturbating over the holy grail of brew temperature that they forget not everyone wanks the same.
Sure, they may have spent years immersed in the coffee industry, and fair enough they may be the most scientifically informed when it comes to coffee science; but no amount of knowledge or wisdom can predict your individual preference.
There’s no objective truth when it comes to coffee.
There’s no ‘perfect cup’ that any idiot can unwittingly stumble upon. The truth is, it’s all subjective. It’s down to you, your curiosity and experimentation to find your perfect cup.
Put it this way — I love an espresso, you love a flat white. I love a darker roast, you prefer a lighter, fruitier concoction. I love a slightly under-extracted, bitter brew while you prefer something a little over-extracted.
If our subjective tastes differ then should you ever follow stringent, paradoxically imperfect instructions?
My answer is no.
What i’m trying to say is have a little fun with it:
- Fuck about with different beans from various roasters
- Use double the recommended dose because you’re fucking tired this morning.
- Forget you’re even brewing a cup because you got lost in Discover Weekly.
Ultimately — do what you want.
For me, bar the flavour and obvious stimulatory effect, my favourite part about brewing a coffee is the process.
A lazy morning spent creating an imperfectly perfect Moka Pot coffee makes me feel like I’m in the foothills of Sicily. Lazily pouring water into a Chemex through half-opened eyes is what I imagine a painter in San Francisco does.
Maybe i’m romanticising it, but I prefer to think of coffee as something i can enjoy and relate to others with — not something that should be boiled down to an exact science.
It’s absolutely worthwhile making your coffee great. Buy fresh beans. Support independent roasters. Grind your coffee fresh. Use whatever machine you prefer.
But don’t, under any circumstance, believe that an objectively ‘perfect cup’ exists.
Your perfect cup is, and only ever will be, yours.