An interesting piece on a $1 coffee joint, Has Coffee Gotten Too Fancy?:
Mr. Konecny’s ambitions for Yes Plz go beyond selling a high-quality cup of coffee at that magic price point, though he knows that it sends a powerful message. What he wants to do is shift the very nature of coffee culture. He has no patience for what he calls the “culinary burlesque” of pour-over bars, with their solemn baristas and potted succulents. “It’s dress-up,” he said.
Those settings and presentations, he said, send the wrong message: that good coffee must also be expensive and fetishized.
I drink a lot of coffee. At work I’m known to drink 40 or 60 ounces in a day. I also like specialty coffees, dating back to when I lived in Portland and patronized the Stumptown on Belmont.
As someone who drinks black coffee I like the idea of a no frills establishment. But I also feel the piece’s opposition between cheap good coffee and expensive faux-good coffee is a bit much. In How Pleasure Works Paul Bloom elaborates on something that we know intuitively: it is not always the sensory aspect of how something makes you feel, but also the intellectual aspect of what something is in a more contextual and broad sense. I would pay a lot for legitimate Falernian wine without even knowing what it tastes like. To drink like Cicero would be enough.
Yes, sometimes you want the $1 coffee. But sometimes you want the burlesque experience.