New Year’s Predictions for Coffee

The New Yorker's Matt Bucchanan cited G&B Coffee in L.A.'s practice of using high-quality ingredients to reimagine what were previously considered frou-frou drinks (peppermint mochas) as exceptional coffee drinks. G&B's owners are Kyle Glanville (left) and Charles Babinski, pictured here when they delivered the keynote speech at this year's Barista Nation Los Angeles event.

It’s scary to make predictions! But it’s fun, too, because it really challenges us to think about what we know and reflect on potential changes. My main one isn’t going to start and end in the course of a year, but I predict an age of baristas who are ready to rock, who seek out work in coffee purposefully (as opposed to finding themselves in the job and unwittingly falling in love with it, as so many who came before them did). I predict this because I’ve seen the passion in the eyes of the most novice baristas I know here in Portland, Ore., the new faces and flush of community that wouldn’t miss a throw down for anything, who are fearless when asking for advice, who have heroes in the industry before they’ve poured their first rosetta. It’s an exciting time.

The other prediction is one I’m repeating from Matt Buchanan of The New Yorker, as he told Eater.com in the article “Food Writers and Experts on What’s Hot and What’s Over.” (Props to my dad for seeing this and alerting me to it. I’m gonna need to put him on the payroll pretty soon.)

Matt Buchanan of The New Yorker:

There’s an interesting mini-trend — if two places count — with cocktails. Both Michael White’s the Butterfly and Golden Cadillac harken back to the dark ages of shitty cocktails, the post-Mad Men era of Old Fashioneds stuffed like a fruit bowl, but have revived that style of cocktail with high-quality ingredients. It’s maybe some dimension of a counter-trend to the continuing march of a certain kind of cocktail hegemony that eschews vodka for being an uninteresting ingredient, for instance.Simultaneously, you’re seeing high-end coffee places like G&B in Los Angeles begin to revive drinks that had been an anathema in the upper echelons of coffee, like a peppermint mocha, with super-high quality house-made syrups paired to their lovingly harvested, processed, roasted, and prepared coffee.

Together, if they’re really a trend, it points to a revival of a certain kind of food that was discarded as being tasteless by arbiters of taste; they’re now being re-imagined with the kind of care that has been applied to the other foodstuffs deemed worthy of the upmost attention to detail. That’s probably a good thing, as long they don’t begin to reify the narrow structures of taste that had led to them being looked down upon in the first place. I mean, if something’s delicious, it’s delicious.

 

Of course, G&B owners Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski are pictured at the top of this article, delivering the keynote speech at Barista Nation Los Angeles earlier this year.

So, dear Barista Magazine blog readers, what do YOU predict will happen in our industry in 2014?

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.