The Ugliness of a Coffee Superiority Complex

Jan 06, 2023

It is a gift to possess knowledge of any kind, and an even more rewarding gift to possess knowledge that brings joy to the people around you. Unfortunately, with knowledge often comes inflated egos and superiority complexes, even in the world of coffee.

Here is a (real life) example: I was at a coffee event a few years ago and I saw someone handing out drip-bag samples to passers-by.  A group of people walked by her and she offered them a sample. The man at the front of the group remarked, “I don’t drink filter coffee…” and then he smirked at his friends and they all … laughed.

What struck me wasn’t that this man chose not to drink filter coffee, that is his prerogative, but rather that his tone was condescending to the extreme and his behavior rude. His manners suggested that he felt morally superior in his decision not to drink filter coffee… and that was NOT a good look.

This exchange bothered me for weeks afterwards because I started to recognise other instances, perhaps more subtle ones, of coffee superiority… even in myself.

How many times have I cringed when someone ordered an “Extra extra hot” beverage, or shuddered when watching my mum make an instant coffee? Too many times.

Dalla Corte, this wonderful company I work for, is constantly working on creating and innovating tools for baristas to get the best flavours and textures they can out of coffee.

Thanks to Dalla Corte I have the tools to bring others joy through coffee, both the very particular and knowledgeable in the coffee industry, AND that gran who wants her coffee scalding and ¼ caffeinated. What brings someone else joy may make me inwardly cringe, but it is a privilege to give the gift of joy, regardless of whether or not I like the formula.

If caring about other people isn’t your thing, it’s worth pointing out that being rude and having a massive ego is generally not a great sales tactic, especially in the coffee industry. Hospitality is named so for a reason.

I have tasted the best of the best in my experience as a coffee professional, but that does not mean that my preferences make me a better person than someone else OR that what I drink is “better” than what someone else drinks.

Let’s leave that feeling of moral superiority to the people who actually deserve it, like the roasters who are careful to buy coffee they know has been grown using fair working practices. Good on them!

The Ugliness of a Coffee Superiority Complex