How To Be A Coffee Snob…Without Being A Pretentious Jerk

I love coffee.
My affair with this miracle drink began when I was about seven years old. My grandparents kept a pot of coffee brewed all day long and anytime I spent the weekend at their home, my brother and I would get to drink all the coffee we could handle.

More accurately, we would have a little coffee with our sugar and milk. I bet we poured equal portions of coffee and sugar in each cup. It was like drinking warm candy and I remember it fondly to this day.

I bet you remember your first introduction as well. We seem to develop an affection for coffee that is unlike any other caffeinated drink. Do you remember your first Coca-Cola? Probably not. How about your first glass of tea? Nope? Me either.

But eventually, we become so attached to our coffee that we start to become..well, a bit of a snob.

She's drinking coffee from a white cup...amateur.

She’s drinking coffee from a white cup…amateur.

More than ever before, our love of coffee is defining our personalities. Truckers turned coffee into a convenience store staple. Starbucks turned coffee into a status symbol for the yuppie suburban crowd. Hipsters turned coffee into its own culture, complete with a sneering disdain for anyone who can’t quote the source origin for their “obviously not fair trade” McCafe coffee beans.

I’m gonna stop right there. Do I really need to spend a thousand words confirming that coffee snobs really do exist? Of course not. You know what they look like. Do I need to devote half an article to explaining why it’s perfectly okay to hate them? That might be a lot of fun, but it really isn’t my point.

I’m here to tell you how to be a better type of coffee snob; the non-pretentious asshole kind.

Example- Pretentious asshole coffee snob.

Example- Pretentious asshole coffee snob.

I will start by telling you that I too consider myself a coffee snob, but I’m going to establish my “non coffee snob” credentials.

1. I don’t drink espresso.
2. When I go to a coffee shop, I order straight black. No “Grande, Quad, Nonfat, One-Pump, No-Whip, Mocha”. If you can translate that order, get the hell off my site. Seriously.
3. I don’t own a Keurig. I don’t use flavored creamers.
4. 90% of the time, I drink Folgers. From a travel mug. With a straw.

To be fair, it is a Starbucks there's that.

To be fair, it is a Starbucks there’s that.

Now that I’ve established that I am the least qualified coffee snob in history, let me tell you why we’re here. I’m going to show you how to become a first class coffee snob on a shoestring budget.

If you actually enjoy waiting in line for 15 minutes and spending $4 on a cup of coffee from Starbucks, I won’t stop you. But what if I told you that for less than .25 a cup and ten minutes of your time you could enjoy a fresh roasted, fresh brewed cup of premium Ethiopian Yirga cheffe coffee in your own home?

Let me introduce you to the world of home roasting.

Somehow, I can remember drinking coffee with my grandparents thirty years ago, but I can’t tell you what sparked my interest in home roasting. I must have read an article somewhere and thought “Wait, is that even a thing?!” If coffee shops spend thousands of dollars on equipment just to brew coffee, surely it takes at least that much to roast it, right?

Not so, my friends, not so.

Regardless of what sparked my interest, it was the cost factor that drove me to give home roasting a try. For all the high brow intellectual sophistication of coffee shops, coffee roasting basically comes down to high heat and movement. Both of which can be accomplished with nothing more complicated than a popcorn popper.


Standard popcorn maker...

Standard popcorn maker…

Half a cup of green coffee beans....

Half a cup of green coffee beans….

Into the popcorn maker...

Into the popcorn maker…

and...voila! Fresh roasted coffee beans.

and…voila! Fresh roasted coffee beans.

Roasting your own gourmet coffee requires just a few simple items; a popcorn popper, a high temp thermometer, a jar with a lid and some green coffee beans. As you can see, I’m doing this outside. It does produce a small amount of smoke and chaff as the beans roast.

It’s that easy. In ten minutes you will be halfway to heaven.

Only halfway though. Now you have to be patient.

Your freshly roasted gourmet coffee will smell so good that you will be tempted to want to grind it immediately, but be strong! Once the beans are roasted, they will continue to break down, releasing the oils that create that wonderful coffee flavor. Let it set at least overnight and plan to enjoy your gourmet home roasted coffee in the morning.

You can find these popcorn makers anywhere. The Westbend Poppery 2 is a popular choice because it vents on the side which prevents chaff from falling onto the heat elements.

Green coffee beans can be purchased online or even at some local coffee shops. has great tutorials in addition to selling supplies. is a great online forum for all things coffee.

You can pick up a sample pack that includes several different beans from all over the globe. You will quickly discover your favorites. With the sheer variety of beans available and a wide range of roast temperatures to try, you’ll never get bored.

The world is full of coffee snobs who know how to drink a good cup of coffee. I encourage you to be the kind of coffee snob that can make a great cup of coffee.