There is only one right way to drink coffee. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Wow. I just can't say that with a straight face (which you'd know if this wasn't a blog) The right way to drink coffee is however you enjoy drinking coffee. End of story. That may not be what you expected to read from a Specialty Coffee Roaster, but enjoying your coffee shouldn't be a judgement.
With everything going on in this crazy year, we all need to look to the small things that make us happy. For many of us, one of those things is coffee. It plays a role in daily life for millions of us in the United States alone, and for many of us, that role is really, really significant. As in: how many of you plan your morning around ensuring that you have that cup (or two, or three). According to the National Coffee Association this year, over 64% of Americans drink coffee, which equates to over 150 million coffee drinkers. I was surprised by that number. Honestly, I thought it would be higher, but of course I'm a bit biased!
150 million coffee drinkers will not all enjoy coffee the same way. Really, how boring would that be?
As we all know, there is a range of opinions on how coffee should be enjoyed. From 'as long as it's hot and caffeinated' all the way to 'you have to use the right beans, ground precisely to the proper specifications, and brewed exactly the right way or you clearly have no taste.' Each extreme and everyone in between typically comes an opinion about those who don't look at coffee the way they do.
As a specialty coffee roaster, I truly value and appreciate the quality that comes from a carefully-grown, well-harvested, thoughtfully-processed, and precisely-brewed coffee. I enjoy the flavors of a bean inherent to that varietal and growing region. It is my job as a roaster to help emphasize these inherent flavors in the roast. I also appreciate coffee brewed to allow those flavor notes to blossom in the cup. So my personal definition of coffee the right way encompass these elements.
I wasn't always like that. Before I dove head-first into the world of specialty coffee, I only loved a good solid dark roast with plenty of cream to round out the corners. Now, the joys of super dark, over-extracted coffee is ruined for me. Gone is that bliss that made my day, but that's not a bad thing because it was replaced by something that makes me just as happy. But while my preferences have changed, I do not think of one way of enjoying coffee as 'better' than the other. Both made me happy at the time I enjoyed them and that's what counts.
Coffee is an amazing agricultural product. There are different quality levels and standards that you will find just like other agricultural products. And as with other agricultural products, quality, ethical farming practices, and sustainability plays an important role (even vital) in the industry, but that's a topic for another post. If you focus on choosing coffee done the 'right' way, I hope you will choose that.
My point here though is still very simple: Coffee is meant to make you feel good. So enjoy your coffee, however you drink it.