My friend/co-worker/dev-guru @richardiii brought a coffee project called Joulies to my attention. They are stainless-steel “beans” that are filled with a non-toxic liquid that heat and cool coffee to an optimal drinking temperature to solve the problems of being served overly hot as well as getting too cold too quickly.
I applaud the ingenuity of these young industrial designers because they’ve created something unique (and aesthetically pleasing in my opinion) to solve issues associated with the variable of temperature. But while I really love the concept, I see it as a temporary fix that treats a symptom, not the disease.
What I’m talking about are the misperceptions of how coffee should be served and consumed.
While I’m not a coffee-expert by any means, I’ve found myself entrenched in the world of third wave coffee over the last year. I’m dating a coffee roaster and have many friends and acquaintances who are career roasters, baristas and proprietors. While they might have differing ideas about the quality of various regions and roast philosophies, I know they agree that a scalding hot cup of coffee is just not right.
If a shop is serving it’s drinks too hot, it’s something to mention and have them fix immediately. If the water is too hot, it not only assaults the tongue but the coffee grounds. As Paul Haworth (my boyfriend and the roaster for Cartel Coffee Lab) explains, “Suffice it to say, more bitter elements are extracted at higher temperatures. Above 204°F, bitters begin to eclipse sweetness.” Others in the industry agree.
My other issue with this technology being used for coffee is that it’s not one of those drinks someone would take 2 hours to imbibe. When you get a cup of coffee (even on the go or to bring to your coworkers) you probably aren’t going to need it to be hot for that long. Do anyone really enjoy 3-hour-old coffee?
My point is that while this is a great product, I would much rather see the coffee industry at large grow in the area of quality service. Stop brewing too hot to cover up burnt coffee (meaning: buy well-roasted coffee and serve it at the appropriate drinking temperature). And stop making people fix a problem that the industry should solve for them.