So you're ready to tell people about your coffee obsession? Maybe you're thinking you could actually entice some folks into joining your madness? We would like to offer you some of our favorite analogies and elevator speeches we have curated over the years. Some of them are direct answers to questions and others are more general. No matter what, it is best to maintain a sense of humor and admit that you are, in fact, insane. Insane for the bean!
It's Just Coffee, Right?
You will get this one a lot. These folks don't get it because coffee is not their 'thing.' What you need is to learn what their thing is. Perhaps they are avid backyard grill-masters. Maybe they are into bicycles or whiskey. Whatever their thing is, they will admit to you that it is an area of their life that breeds passion and not practicality. Once you help them connect the dots, they will be able to see that coffee is your thing.
Roast And Toast
Trying to explain how roast technique can either complete (or completely destroy) a coffee is difficult. If your friend has even scratched the surface of specialty, they will know that relatively lighter roasting is all the rage. The following analogy is perfect for explaining why.
Let's say you have a pantry full of different breads—potato white, whole wheat, rye, and sourdough—and you want to make a piece of toast from each. You can either burn all of them and make them all taste like burnt toast, or you can toast them each 'perfectly' and enjoy the differences. The point of perfection is up for debate, but the fact that burnt toast is an annihilation of flavor is not.
Why Roast/Grind/Brew Yourself?
Our favorite response to this is a musical parallel. If talent were not a question, which would be more satisfying for a music lover: the ability to play an MP3 file or the ability to play an instrument?
Unlike music, coffee only takes basic motor skills to craft. The continual learning is mostly in the tasting. The rest is simply repetition. As Benoit Mandelbrot said, "Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules, repeated without end." These simple actions connect us to our coffee in the same way a skilled musician is connected to his instrument.
Why Brew By Hand?
Machines are great. They are wonderful tools that help us by freeing our hands or aiding our precision. However, when we value something, we like to handle it with care. We like to take matters into our own hands. Believe it or not, one of the best examples of this is washing dishes.
You probably have or are familiar with the great symbol of advanced civilization known as the 'dishwasher.' Dishwashers are awesome. However, no matter how awesome they are, most people will still prefer to wash certain special items by hand. Why? Because they care about them. There is a feeling of safety and peace that comes from not trusting this critical task to a closed box full of swirling soapy water.
When you really care about your coffee, you will want to make it by hand whenever possible.
We have found these to be great introductions for our friends, family, and coworkers. It isn't so much about changing people's minds as it is about simply relating to them. If you can make a few converts, great! Just remember, specialty coffee doesn't have to be special to everyone.