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5 Tell-Tale Signs That You’re a Coffee Snob

Coffee with friends

Any hobby with a large enough following will eventually develop a small group of super-dedicated participants that become more engaged than most practitioners. Dedicated hobbyists are generally good for a hobby’s overall health, but, unfortunately, some people will inevitably cross the line from enthusiast to snob. Wine, beer, food, and yes, coffee all have their respective snobs, people who will insufferably impose their preferences on you as if they are the only options and claim that anyone who thinks differently is wrong.

At Coffee Affection, we’re passionate about coffee, but we try not to cross the line into snobbery. We think there is one very important difference between passionate enthusiasts and snobs. In this article, we’re going to explore that difference and give you some concrete ways to diagnose your own level of coffee snobbery. So, grab your $100 bag of small-batch Kona and monogrammed cupping spoon, and let’s talk about coffee snobs.

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What is a Snob?

Ask 10 people what the definition of a snob is, and you’re likely to get 10 different answers. Some people use snob to mean anyone particular about something they personally don’t care about, while others reserve the term for outwardly obnoxious and condescending people.

We think the most important factor that determines whether you’re a snob – a coffee snob or any other type – is how you interact with people that aren’t as invested in something as you are. For instance, we love coffee and don’t particularly love milk and sugar in our coffee. However, we would never tell someone who likes milk and sugar in their coffee that they’re wrong.

coffee with a friend
Image Credit: William Moreland, Unsplash

There’s no accounting for taste, as the saying goes, and that is alright. Even though we want to share our passion for specialty coffee with as many people as possible, we recognize that not everyone will have the same interest and desire to explore the world of coffee to the same depth that we do. A sure sign that you are not a coffee snob is if you are happy to let people enjoy their coffee how they like without passing judgment or offering unsolicited advice.

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You Might Be a Coffee Snob If…

With our more serious take out of the way, it’s time for a lighthearted look at what might make people call you a coffee snob.

1. You Own a Cupping Spoon

A spoon is a spoon — unless it’s used to slurp tiny amounts of coffee aggressively; then it’s a cupping spoon. And as a cupping spoon, it must have a very specific shape. Otherwise, the coffee won’t taste right, of course. If you don’t know what a cupping spoon is or what a coffee cupping is, don’t worry, you’re not a coffee snob.

2. You’ve Spent More Than $20 for Less Than One Pound of Coffee

Specialty coffee is an expensive hobby. After spending money on fancy grinders, filters, and water tablets that adjust pH levels, there’s hardly any budget left for coffee beans. Spending so much on coffee isn’t usually worth it, especially when you forget to plunge the French press for twenty minutes when the phone rings. Still, it’s hard to put a price on being able to flex on your friends and family when you tell them how much your latest single-origin peaberry cost.

most expensive coffee in the world
Image: Andy Shell, Shutterstock

3. You Hand Grind Your Coffee at Work

If you don’t let strange looks from your coworkers in the breakroom deter you from using your German-engineered hand grinder, you might be a coffee snob. Coffee and work go hand in hand, but for most people, it’s because they desperately need caffeine to make it through the day. Only a true coffee snob will risk drawing their boss’ ire to grind coffee on the clock, but it’s worth it.

4. You Have a Favorite Water Recipe

Yes, water can have a recipe. Not all water is the same to a coffee snob. What minerals are present and what the pH is are very important for crafting the perfect cup of coffee, so not just any old water will do. Coffee snobs spend considerable amounts of time testing and crafting their water recipes until they’re just right. Yes, really.

Buying coffee at a cafe
Image Credit: Joshua Rodriguez, Unsplash

5. Your Barista Knows Your Order

There is a hidden tell here, and that is the phrase “your barista.” If you have a barista you can call “your barista,” then, congratulations, you’re a coffee snob. If your barista knows your order and starts making it immediately when you walk into their shop, you get 10 bonus coffee snob points.

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We hope you enjoyed this half-serious, half-joking article about coffee snobs. It is fun to poke some fun at ourselves every once in a while, and we think it is good for maintaining perspective. However, we take the topic of real snobbery seriously and never condone or participate in gatekeeping behavior. Coffee is for everyone, regardless of how they like to brew or drink it.

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Featured Image Credit: Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash


Sean Brennan

Sean’s obsession with coffee started when he received his first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, his love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets he owns – has grown considerably. A scientist by training, there is no stone he has left unturned in the never-ending quest for the perfect cup of coffee. He has spent many hours tuning his pour-over technique, thinking about how to best compare grind quality, and worrying about whether the Nicaraguan or Kenyan beans will make the best cold brew. These days he favors the Hario V60, and starts each day by hand grinding his coffee before enjoying a cup prepared with care and attention to detail.

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