A few years ago, I wrote a quick piece comparing craft beer to coffee in that some people prefer good coffee just like some people prefer good beer. I’ve been thinking about this even further lately, especially after my encounter with a true coffee lover.
I drink coffee daily. I fire up my Keurig every morning and throw in a K Cup full of store-brand Breakfast Blend, and scurry on my way. If I’m not running late (which is basically never, I’m always running late) I’ll stop at my favorite coffee shop, Little Amps, for a jar of the good stuff. It’s not that I don’t like good coffee; it’s more that I don’t have the time or sometimes even the money to leap for something better.
When I drink coffee, I do so for the caffeine. I like the taste of coffee, so much so that I adore coffee stouts, but I don’t sit and think about the nuances of what’s in my cup. Pour coffee, ingest, get hype … profit! But, I’ve recently learned there are people that do sit around and deliberate the flavors found in their morning cup o Joe.
I was casually talking to a friend when the topic of coffee came up and said ‘oh I love coffee’ without thinking. Next thing you, know I found myself in a conversation in which I didn’t know how to participate. I was asked what blends do I prefer, what flavors, dark or light, rich or mild, and I just didn’t have answers. I was overwhelmed. I had never thought about coffee like that before. I like my Breakfast Blend with brown sugar and milk. I like my Little Amps Cold Jar. I like the occasional Peppermint Mocha around Christmas time. I don’t have anything to add to this conversation.
Sound familiar? How many times have we all bombarded people with questions about their beer preferences, well-purposed of course, only to get a deer caught in headlights? Many people still drink beer the way that I drink coffee; beer with the intention of getting a little tipsy/taking the edge off, coffee to get energy.
I think this is important to consider as we all continue to forge forward as a group of craft beer enthusiasts. Not everyone cares about the hops, yeasts, malts, or story of the beer; they just like that it tastes good and is meeting their current needs. And, furthermore, that’s okay. It’s okay to like a beer just for being delicious. That’s one of the best parts of beer!
Keep this short analogy in mind next time you’re poised to pick a stranger’s mind about their brew. And as always, try not to be a dick.