I’m not a snob about it, but coffee is a necessary part of my daily routine. I learned a great deal from Kalefa Sanneh’s profile of Aida Batlle, and may have become a bit of a coffee snob in the process.
To wit – I now know espresso beans are blended as individual harvest roasts would have too much variation for a good espresso. Also, lattes are the devil to coffee fans, as you’re taking a roast that should have a distinctive flavor and drowning it in sweet steamed milk. The snobbiest of coffee drinkers just want a well-roasted individual harvest, black.
The farmer-obsessed coffee movement that has arisen over the past decade is sometimes called the “third wave,” to distinguish it from the European-inspired, espresso-oriented second wave, which produced Starbucks. (In this model, the first wave would be the enthusiasm of a century ago, which created national brands like Folgers and Maxwell House.) “Third wave” is an imprecise term, and in some ways a misleading one, since it reduces hundreds of years of coffee history to a few decades of American whims.