Yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald published a curious fad-contrarian article under the subhed of “Espresso lovers are fighting the siphon and filter revolution”: Shots fired in retaliation.
Now the idea of a “siphon and filter revolution” is still a bit silly to us, given that siphon brewing has been around since the 1830s and filter coffee for even longer. For example, we’ve lost count how many times we’ve seen people “ooh” and “ahh” geek-out over recent Chemex brewer coffee references as if they we witnessing something revolutionary. This despite the fact that I have several uncles-by-marriage who have been using Chemex brewers for longer than most of today’s baristas have been alive.
However, filter coffee has undergone something of a public interest revolution. This has been another dimension to our theory about exploratory coffee fads, such as an obsession with single-origin coffees and medium roasts. What’s old becomes new again as coffee lovers experience the natural progression when seeking out the next “new” thing: something to learn from and to be stimulated by, even if it’s your immigrant uncle’s coffee.
So we have things like London’s Penny University, who are focusing on the new faddish thing (for UK standards) by offering only filter coffee and not espresso. This makes as much sense to us as the concept behind Scott Rao’s Everything But Espresso book. Instead of defining what you are, you define yourself by what you are not.
Now don’t get us wrong. We love filter coffee in its various trend-friendly forms. But if the Third Wave was supposed to be about enjoying coffee for its own sake, why are we setting up so many rules about what not to offer and what not to do? The traps of single-origins-only, medium-roasts-only, or filter-coffee-only are just as badly restrictive and closed-minded as having only blends, dark roasts, and espresso at our disposal.
Back to yesterday’s article, unfortunately it doesn’t express that “backlash” very well — instead favoring its own, counter-fads such as the Strada, the Slayer, etc. More to the point, we need more people speaking out saying, “But I like my espresso. Why is it suddenly passé?”
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