Food & Wine

How to Be a Coffee Nerd without Being a Jerk

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You think you’re better than overpriced Starbucks shenanigans? Well, to be honest, you probably aren’t, none of us is. However, we still like to think we can’t be fooled with those sugary and milky drinks they call ‘coffee’, so we choose to get fooled by a completely other artisan coffee place. Oh, you don’t want to be a coffee snob who thinks their local shop serves the only java in the world worthy of your dollars? Here’s how you can be a crafty coffee nerd without being a jerk who hangs out at coffee shops and orders things like Pacamara (what even?)

Learn about your coffee’s shelf life 

This is really not a marketing scheme—real, roasted stuff really has a short shelf life, anywhere from seven days to three weeks. Decide for yourself with some experimentation and don’t drink something that’s totally stale. If you’re buying roasted beans, make sure to check their “roasted on” date. 

Attend a cupping 

Okay, this might sound very pretentious and you’re totally right, it is. However, it’s a great way to learn what you ACTUALLY like and dislike, so that you get coffee that’s worth your money and effort. Don’t you dare fake your excitement over a cup of coffee you don’t like! These cupping sessions are a little douchey as you need to slurp your coffee with a little spoon and come up with ridiculous epithets about the coffee, but these are actually very educational and a great way to discover your one perfect taste. If you don’t want to get anywhere near a cupping, check out FriedCoffee and you can learn a lot about coffee, brewing methods and equipment from the comfort of your home. 

Splurge on your grinder 

This is the most important piece of equipment. Sure, your cold press gives you your morning elixir, but you want something high-quality that will grind those beans very fine to maximize your access to all the magic hidden inside. Some people love to blitz their beans as soon as they get roasted, others love to wait overnight, but that’s your choice. One thing is for sure, a good grinder will turn you into a real coffee connoisseur without any hints of jerk in there.  

Go cheap on the roaster 

On the other hand, you can go very cheap on the coffee roaster. As a matter of fact, you can forget all about expensive specialized gear and opt for a cheap popcorn maker. If you strike the right temperature (you’ll need a good high-temp thermometer) you can have wonderfully roasted coffee beans in 10 minutes. 

Resist the milk

Real coffee nerd would never soil the pure taste of coffee with milk or even worse, sugar. According to the douchiest of all douchey coffee drinkers, soy milk is a true sin—the worst of all other sins. What you can do, though, is grab an occasional iced coffee. You’re not a monster, everyone loves iced coffee. 

Learn to judge without tasting

A real coffee nerd can judge their cup by the look and smell. For instance, if your cappuccino has a very heavy foam, it means that the milk was overheated. You’re not supposed to fight your foam to get to espresso. What you want to see is a silky finish with your coffee and milk complementing each other. These little tricks will make you look very learned! 

Cleanse your palate

Make sure to ask for a glass of water with your espresso in order to cleanse your palate. A sip of water followed by a sip of espresso is how you do it. 

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll actually know what you’re doing with your coffee in no time. The deeper you get into coffee brewing, the more you’ll understand what all the hype is about! Just don’t judge other people’s choice of 7-eleven coffee—don’t be a jerk. 

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