I try to write everything from a point of at least some first-hand experience. That is, I don’t just jump into typing away about a topic I don’t k

Good Coffee Is Now Bad - by Jason Diamond - The Melt

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2022-09-23 12:00:23

I try to write everything from a point of at least some first-hand experience. That is, I don’t just jump into typing away about a topic I don’t know at least a little about and that I’ve spent time thinking over. I know that doesn’t sound all that revolutionary like you’d expect that from writers, but when you go on Twitter and see the armies of people who were infectious disease experts in 2020 then pivoted the constitutional law experts the next year, then suddenly they’re scholars on post-Soviet politics but can switch and wax poetic about what Taylor Swift means, it’s easy to get to a point where you think that people writing stuff maybe don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. So when I say something like “Good coffee isn’t good anymore,” please understand that I consider myself an expert on this. I’ve been paying attention to this for years and it’s high time to discuss it.

Once upon a time, there was nothing. Well, there were some things. There was Maxwell House and Chock Full O' Nuts. There was General Foods International Coffees and there was Sanka. This is where I will cop to inexperience because I wasn’t really drinking coffee then, but I can only imagine that in 1979, when you opened up a magazine like New York and saw an ad featuring the owner of Sardi’s saying he gives his customers “the best,” and that means he served Taster’s Choice freeze-dried coffee, then the only conclusion I can draw is that the best wasn’t all that great. The dark days when robusta beans were the norm and there was little to no oversight in how or who picked the beans and how they were roasted. You just drank your unfair trade coffee and didn’t ask if it was doused in weird chemicals to give it a special taste or help it last longer. Sardi’s might not be showing up on the Eater Heatmap or any best restaurant lists anytime soon, but in 1979 it was a hot spot. The sort of place you went to start a whispering campaign about your unproduced musical to try and get people excited. I don’t think the 2022 version of that (hopefully there are still places that would allow frogs to show up and get a table in this city, and hopefully you’ve seen The Muppets Take Manhattan) would let customers know they’re serving Taster’s Choice.

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