Crop Talk with Dustin Fleming
Welcome to Crop Talk, our blog series with Barnie’s Coffee & Tea’s Manager of Coffee Programming, Dustin Fleming. No matter which Crop Ex batch you’ve brewed for the day, Dustin’s the man who saw it through, from sourcing to roast.
Dustin talks through the pros and cons of drinking from different kinds of coffee cups.
Most people, on any given day, are drinking their coffee out of a paper to-go cup or a ceramic mug. How does that impact their ability to really “get to know” coffee?
Let’s get into the pros and cons of drinking from both kinds of cups.
First off, your diner mug is a classic. It’s what people have been drinking hot beverages from since the beginning. Mugs keep your beverage hotter for longer, they usually have a nice handle, they’re heavy and substantial, and they’re very personal.
Paper to-go cups, on the other hand, you can take anywhere and get anywhere. They’re disposable, which is also the first con of paper to-go cups. They’re bad for the environment. There’s also this lining on the inside of every paper to-go cup. Manufacturers have to include this inseam so their cups don’t get soggy when full. No matter what, a little bit of that binding will get into your cup when fill it, and that film does affect the coffee’s taste.
It seems pretty limiting, then, that we experience coffee in primarily namely two different way. Are there any other ways people drink coffee, or is the coffee culture just a two-cup town, so to speak?
Other options definitely exist in our industry, and there are coffee shops out there that are doing interesting things with their glassware. I’ve been to, and worked at, places that serve their drinks in snifter to help guests experience the full aromatics and flavors of their coffee. I’ve seen people serve cortados in cocktail-style coupe glasses, too.
I like fancy glassware – I really do. The biggest con, though, is that you tend to break a lot of those fancier glasses when working in a fast-paced coffee cafe. People also tend to be a bit clumsy in the morning, especially before they’ve had their coffee.
What it comes down to is, you don’t fix what’s not broken. Like I said earlier, the mug is just classic. It’s hardy, it retains heat the best. It’s hard to enjoy your glassware when it’s too hot to hold.
Are there any adventurous folks out there experimenting with alternative cups or mugs?
The big thing right now in coffee glassware isn’t the material but the shape. That’s what people have been getting really experimental with. People like coffee with a nice design in it, so people are designing mugs that make it easier to pour latte art. Some mugs have really wide bowls, so drinking from it is like enjoying a cup of soup.
The coffee community seems really happy with porcelain at the moment, but people are starting to use metal tumblers for drinking coffee on the go. Barnie’s Coffee & Tea works with Corkcicle, who sells a metal-insulated thermal cup, and their products are great for keeping coffee hot.
How much does being able to fully smell your coffee play into how much you enjoy a certain coffee cup or tumbler?
I’ll be honest: I don’t think as many people would drink coffee if it didn’t smell so good. I mean, how many people do you know who don’t drink coffee but love how it smells? Everyone loves aromatics, and I do think it plays a big role in determining how much you enjoy your morning cup of joe. They may not understand how or why it works, but it almost certainly does. I find that I gravitate to much larger mugs for that reason.
Are there any easy, adventurous ways people can drink their coffee, right at home, that they may not have thought of before?
Pour your coffee into some hard fruit – pumpkins, watermelons, anything with a shell. Any way you can impart different flavors into your coffee and your food will be a lot of fun.
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