To have the Confidence to Enjoy

To have the Confidence to Enjoy

Learning to enjoy more

July 14, 2023

It is commonplace, especially in our local Asian context, that an event of coffee cupping precedes an awkward silence wherein the participants somehow refuse to open up and ask questions (not a single one at all!).

In part, we owe this to an independent learning mindset where we search for answers on our own before asking for help, and in another, a concern that we might have misguided opinions that are disagreeable with the general audience.

But the truth is that, there is no right or wrong to coffee. Just because a coffee is said to taste like a certain flavour note, it does not mean that there are no other flavours that may be found in the coffee. Methods of extraction and mineral composition of water used in brewing make such a huge difference to the taste of a coffee, that the very same coffee beans could taste wildly different from one cup to the next.

In the case of baristas, who spend their careers mastering this craft of coffee, it may manifest in the form of confidence in one’s taste and preferences, and definition of what makes good coffees. However, it is understandable that homebrewers do not have that benefit of practice and exposure, and may sometimes lack confidence in affirming their preferences when it comes to the taste of a cup of coffee.

To this end, it should be said that while certain scientific facts (such as Extraction Yield and Total Dissolved Solids) are undeniable facts when it comes to a cup of coffee, one’s interpretation is wholly based on our preferences, and our likes and preferences cannot be wrong – they can only be different.

With that being said, having an opinion and asking people to respect that entails doing the same for others. Just as you have an opinion, the next person also has his opinions and preferences for which he may have built over experience and time, none of which are less valid than the other. At the end of the day, we know that every person speaks out of love and enthusiasm for coffee, and nothing more than that.

The key, therefore, to enjoying coffee, is to understand the fact of the matter that you are entitled to have an opinion, even if that may differ in viewpoints from others. In fact, contrary to popular belief, coffee people always welcome opinions – in some ways, it demonstrates your love and passion for the drink, and shows how much you care (enough to speak up!!).

So at the next coffee event that you may attend, speak up! Ask questions! Share knowledge! Grow that confidence to enjoy! And, continue to work together to elevate the coffee levels of the collective, so that everyone may continue to grow in our respective coffee journeys.

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