Where Purism ends and Fascism begins
Causing a stir
Having engaged with customers at a recent function we catered, we were surprised to see how offended some folk were that we allowed our coffee to be consumed with sugar. So vehement were the responses to our welcoming of the sucrose-dependent that we felt it necessary to publish something explaining our position on coffee, milk, sugar, democracy, Nazis, and world peace.
The chicken or the bean?
Whenever you pursue a passion to the extent that we have – devoting our entire workweeks to coffee – it’s always a good idea to keep in the forefront of your mind the reason for your pursuit. Losing sight of why you spend 50 hours a week thinking, drinking, roasting, and talking coffee can cause you to lose sorely needed perspective.
At the most basic level, we do what we do because we get great joy from the taste of high quality freshly roasted coffee. When you strip away all the snobbery and elitism clogging up the specialty coffee industry, the driving force behind it all is really just the desire to make something that tastes incredible. We weren’t drawn to coffee out of a lust to build ourselves into a position of authority; to develop influence to the point where we could tell people how to behave in their own homes. And it was certainly never to publicly patronise or humiliate someone for adding sugar to their coffee.
At this point I’d like to add that none of the Rosetta team add sugar to their coffee. Not because we hate sugar, but rather because (1) we hate to waste sugar, and (2) we hate to waste coffee. In our view, mixing the two unnecessarily is a needless waste of both. Global food shortages are bad enough without us adding to the problem.
Handicap or travesty?
Of course we think that our coffees taste incredible just as they are. Disguising their unique profiles with sugar is a shame. But it’s not a travesty. At worst it’ll hinder your ability to truly taste the coffee you’re drinking. But, if sugar is the thing that enables you to really engage with a great cup of coffee, then so be it. Taste your coffee, evaluate whether it needs anything to be added, and do what you must to get it to taste how you want it to. Don’t let some god-complex-wielding social pygmy tell you what to do.
A purist or a fascist?
What is a mystery to us is how some folk will keep coming back for more punishment, submitting themselves the scrutiny of narrow-minded coffee snobs on a daily basis. The less self-confident of coffee drinkers, when amongst self-proclaimed connoisseurs, will wince their way through an espresso to avoid the abuse that comes from the addition of sugar. But what these “connoisseurs” have failed to recognise is that just like the easily intimidated coffee drinker is a slave to the judging coffee snobs, so the snob has become a slave to the bean – unable to conceive of a world where coffee can be served and enjoyed in whatever fashion the master of his own cup desires it.
A purist loves coffee and seeks to keep it untainted from the influence of any contaminant, be it sugar, milk, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, or those little mothballs you sometimes find in urinals. A fascist mindlessly enforces the ideals of a purist without recognising the roots of those very ideals – namely the pursuit of maximum enjoyment.
Even the pros do it!
And if you’re one of those people who can’t abide by adding sugar to a cup of coffee, you must ask yourself why the World Barista Championships do the same thing every year during the Signature Drink section of the competition. Contestants (made up exclusively of the world’s finest national barista champions) will add anything from syrups to tobacco to chocolate to panna cotta to large chunks of orange peel. From where I’m standing, the guy who wants to add a few grains of cane sugar can go right ahead!
Life’s a journey, not a roadblock
If a coffee connoisseur is really going to use his powers for good and not evil, he should be encouraging his peers to join him on his adventure down the coffee rabbit hole, rather than stopping them in their tracks until they submit to his lordship.
At Rosetta, we understand that not everyone has developed a taste for coffee a capella. If I’m honest, I insist on adding salt every time I cook rice. I’m sure some folk a little further east of us are appalled by the fact that I pollute rice with salt!
All we ask of our customers is that they’re willing to embark on a journey with us; that they’re willing to try new things, and explore new possibilities. And all you need to bring along is an open mind and a few shekels for coffee.