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Recognizing a coffee snob is helpful for two reasons: learning how to deal with them and avoiding becoming one.

It’s not a surprise to find coffee snobs. The coffeeverse is packed with myths and no-sense traditions.

In recent decades, scientific research and technology have improved our understanding of coffee. As a result, the coffee industry has exploded with new ways to make and enjoy coffee. The old guard of the coffee tradition is not happy about this change. They often hold tight to outdated ideas about a “good” cup of coffee.

Many of us fall easily into the temptations of pretentiousness and arrogance. It’s common to find that natural-born rebels use their knowledge to feel superior to most people. And coffee lovers aren’t immune to that.

But why are coffee snobs so annoying? What is it that makes them tick?

In this article, we will explore the most evident traits of coffee snobs and understand what makes them hard to deal with.

#1 – They always have to be right

Coffee isn't about right and wrong
Not so many things are black and white in coffee. Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

Coffee snobs look at conversations like debate tournaments. And that’s crazy in the world of coffee.

While coffee quality is objective, preference is entirely subjective. Like any food or drink, personal preference dictates what’s good and bad in coffee. Snobs usually want to impose their opinions on others.

It’s annoying when coffee snobs try to be right because it makes them seem arrogant and know-it-all.

Playing the Devil’s advocate: coffee snobs may want to share their insights on coffee quality and brewing, which help explore the complexities of coffee.

Snobbery-free approach: instead of attacking people who prefer low-quality coffee, ask if they’d like to try something new.

#2 – They think that their way is the only way to make coffee

Enjoying coffee can take many forms
There are many ways to enjoy coffee. Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash

Sadly, many people that aren’t coffee snobs can fall easily for this one.

I recall a friend who hates any coffee that doesn’t come out of an espresso machine or a Moka pot. In her opinion, all other brewing methods like immersion and filter coffee produce weak coffee and are disgusting.

People who like coffee can become a nuisance when they act as if their way is the only way to make coffee.

To be honest, it’s hard to say that drip coffee is bad. It simply accommodates better certain types of coffee and expectations. Indeed, you could pick a favorite brewing method, but that doesn’t mean that everything else is horrendous.

Becoming a coffee snob can destroy your coffee experience and growth. Obsessing about a way of making coffee narrows and limits your view excessively.

Playing the Devil’s advocate: coffee snobs may know what to consider to brew better coffee, like brew ratios, water temperature, grind size, and other variables. Considering the factors for a better coffee extraction are helpful to get the best out of your coffee.

Snobbery-free approach: instead of criticizing others’ coffee brewing routines and devices, ask if they want to learn a few tricks to improve their coffee brewing.

#3 – They act like they know everything about coffee

A character from Billion’s TV show, Ari Spyros, is a fine example of a coffee snob.

Closely related to being closed to experimentation, coffee snobs lose a lot when they think that they know everything about coffee.

It’s easy to recognize someone who thinks she doesn’t need to learn anything new. Know-it-alls are annoying, but they hurt more themselves than anyone else. They always have the same type of coffee and never try anything different. But in reality, coffee is constantly evolving and improving.

Only learning about different coffee varietals, origins, and post-harvest processing is an incredible challenge. That’s without accounting for brewing methods and all the variables involved to get a delicious cup of coffee.

And let’s not talk about coffee drinks. From espresso to a cortado and a flat white, there are so many fascinating beverages with coffee to try!

Coffee is a complex subject, and there’s always something new to learn. By thinking that they know everything, coffee snobs are missing out on the opportunity to explore different coffees, brewing methods, and drinks. And what’s worse, they’re missing out on the chance to learn from other people.

On the other hand, coffee snobs can overwhelm people by talking about topics that aren’t interesting to them. Instead of helping others learn about coffee, they scare people away with overly technical terms and counterintuitive information.

Playing the Devil’s advocate: coffee snobs may have learned a lot about coffee and want to share information, advice, interesting facts, and stuff they’re passionate about.

Snobbery-free approach: instead of forcing information into people’s heads, try to figure out first if they’re interested in learning more about coffee. If someone asks you a simple question, try to answer it as simply as possible, without overcomplicating things or condescending.

#4 – They’re condescending and rude to others

Coffee snob can be rude
Common courtesy is essential. Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Coffee snobs can be really rude to other people.

I can’t forget when I asked some fellow enthusiasts what type of questions I could ask a specialty coffee expert. I was researching for a blog post and didn’t want to miss the chance to look at exciting topics.

Then, one person answered that if I didn’t know what to ask, I didn’t deserve the chance to meet with a specialty coffee expert.

Can you imagine how I felt?

Condescendence and rudeness ruin communication and stops people from learning about the craft.

One of the main reasons I started this blog is to bridge the gap between experts and enthusiasts. When I got that rude answer, I knew that my work was even more necessary.

Fortunately, many coffee lovers are willing to share their insights and are pretty friendly. In essence, I believe that the coffee community is welcoming and holds to the foundations of sharing and enjoying coffee together.

Playing the Devil’s advocate: coffee snobs may not know how to share what they know. Learning how to share knowledge and complex information is a true challenge for many experts.

Snobbery-free approach: keep it practical. It’s always better than a conceptual and abstract explanation whenever you can show what you mean by brewing a cup of coffee. Sharing an experience is more straightforward than arguing about technical concepts.

#5 – They take themselves too seriously

Don't take yourself so seriously
People who take themselves too seriously can become a problem. Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

Coffee is vital for millions of people around the world. Moreover, their lives and families depend on coffee.

Now, that’s hardly the truth when it comes to coffee snobs. But they act as if it is. They take themselves too seriously and think that everyone else should.

Elitism stops the coffee community from growing further because it turns off people interested in learning about coffee. After all, why would anyone want to know about something from someone who acts like they’re better than everyone else?

Now that the coffee industry is professionalizing, some experts may be trapped in poorly informed conversations and utter nonsense. And that can be hard to handle for many of them. Of course, that doesn’t justify treating others disrespectfully.

Passion doesn’t entitle anyone to be an idiot. On the contrary, being passionate and friendly can inspire others to join the coffee community.

Playing the Devil’s advocate: common courtesy and passion can be hard to match sometimes.

Snobbery-free approach: coffee can be a lovely hobby or an exciting career. Still, that doesn’t mean that everyone needs to take your hobby -or your job- as seriously as you do.

#6 – They only drink expensive coffee and think that makes them superior.

Pricey coffee doesn't justify arrogant coffee snobs
Money doesn’t prove anything. Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Some coffee snobs would buy a private jet and Rolls-Royce to feel superior to others if they had the money. But as we know, material possessions don’t make anyone better than others.

And that applies to coffee beans and gear as well. The price of the stuff someones buy doesn’t say anything substantial about them, but how deep are their pockets. This simple line of thought separates the coffee snobs from the rest of the people.

Some coffee snobs think they’re better than others because they drink the most expensive coffee. But in reality, all it means is that they have more money -or want- to spend more on coffee. It doesn’t make them superior to anyone else.

Unsurprisingly, price is a good reference for quality, but it isn’t 100% accurate all the time. In the video below, Dillon Edwards, a coffee expert, guesses which coffee is pricier. I recommend you to watch it!

Playing the Devil’s advocate: cheap coffee can be terrible. It isn’t bad only in taste but also because it promotes exploitative and unsustainable business practices. Usually, cheap coffee means that farmers get the worst part of the business, harming coffee producers.

Snobbery-free approach: growing the awareness about the importance of pricing for coffee sustainability doesn’t require arrogance but empathy. It’s more persuasive to talk about the human impact of coffee prices than to showing-off premium coffee like fancy caviar.

What’s really going on with coffee snobs?

At the root of it, coffee snobs are passionate about coffee. They love trying new coffees and talking about their favorite brews. They’re also very opinionated, making them seem arrogant to those who don’t share their passion.

While it’s easy to write off coffee snobs as annoying, it’s important to remember that they’re just passionate about something they love. It’s not always easy to be around someone so opinionated, but try to see the good in them. After all, many of us are snobby about other things.

Thank you for reading! We hope this article helped you understand coffee snobs a bit better. If you have any tips for dealing with them, please share them in the comments below! Thanks

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AUTHOR
I have been enjoying coffee a lot more since I learned about Specialty Coffee in 2016. As a curious coffee enthusiast, I have talked with some of the most regarded industry experts and scientists to offer you the most accurate and exciting content.
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