What’s your poison?

oh gee cannot wait

I still recall, as if it were yesterday, the moment I realized that I was addicted to coffee. The year was 1996 and I was in the midst of backpacking around the globe with a passport and not a care in the world. I had ended up staying in the spare room of a distant elderly Dutch relative in the suburbs of Amsterdam.

I remember her well, as she had a large photo of her departed husband on the wall. Lying in a coffin. Besides that strange thing, I remember her fondly as she would prepare me breakfast every morning, which consisted of fresh bread, butter, CHOCOATE SPRINKLES and dreadful tea. For I was not yet a coffee drinker and things were about to change.

Every morning as I choked on my tea and gorged on my chocolate sprinkle bread, she would brew up a pot of coffee on the stove top in a device known as a Moka Pot. Eventually, I enjoyed the smell so much that I swapped my tea for coffee and from that moment BANG! I became a caffeine addict. I knew this was true as I would wake in that little attic room and wait for the smell to come wafting up the stairs, signaling to me that it was time to rise and shine and face the day with a couple of cups of Tante Minnie’s coffee under my belt.

Cut to 2017, and I am a complete, card-carrying member of the Coffee Snob Club. You are a member of the Coffee Snob Club when you cannot drink instant coffee, 7Eleven Coffee, Airplane coffee or any coffee that is made in the many coffee chains that exist.

Vente white chocolate mocha, anyone?

The problem with coffee chains is thus. The taste. Which is akin to slurping on tepid bath water that you have just used to wash the dog in. A big, hairy, stinking hound that might have had a touch of diarrhea recently.

And I was not the only one. We Aussies shunned Starbucks in droves, so much so that in 2008, Starbucks closed 61 of its 84 stores. We have a very fine coffee palate when compared to the rest of the world. Manhattan has 255 Starbucks on the island alone, often standing on street corners apart from each other. What gives America?

I will not drink coffee from coffee chains. This includes, but is not restricted to Starbucks, McCafe’s, Coffee Clubs, Michele’s Patisserie (although I will eat their Spinach Rolls), Hudson’s or sup from the cup of Gloria Jeans. Gloria Jeans do not actually make coffee, they make desserts. Take for example the “Gloria Jeans Mocha Chiller Coco Loco” which is basically sugar and 106% of the recommended daily intake. Also, rumour has it that they are mad happy clappers.

And can we talk about flavored syrups for a moment? Why oh why, would you roll a cup of God’s Nectar with syrup? Hazelnut, peppermint, butterscotch? No thank you. And for those who drink it with soymilk, I must ask… Why? No, really. Why? Almond milk. WHY? Fart much?

Give it to me straight. I love surly baristas, spilt beans, steamy, hand frothed milk. I like the lids that are put on properly by hands that have years of skill behind them. I like the grunt of recognition I get when I thank the master for his brew.

I do not like my coffee made by a pimply teenager identified only as TRAINEE, whole contribution to making my coffee is to flick buttons and look bored.

Yes, I am a coffee snob. Like wine, I would rather go without than drink inferior offerings.

 Are you fussy when it comes to coffee?

Or wine, for that matter?

What’s your poison?


  • Tracey

    Chain store coffee is not coffee. It’s just that simple.

  • Rebecca

    I would only step foot in a chain store under the most dire of circumstances. I’ve also been known to throw out 4 coffees in a row (from 4 different cafés) until I get a good one! I also pre-brew coffee from my machine at home to take camping as my machine is too big to take with us and we have no power. It’s better than going without or having instant!
    Not a coffee snob at all ?

    • Jenny

      Throw out 4 coffees in a row? I think you might be the problem.

      • Rebecca

        Spoken like a true Nescafe drinker. Or do you only drink the water from under the bridge where the other trolls live?

  • Net

    I’m waiting for a flight in KL as we speak and we resorted to Starbucks this morning. Hideous. Just hideous. Could not finish

  • Heidi D

    Back in my late teens, early 20’s my best friend was Italian. Her mum brewed up coffee in a special pot on the stove so strong you could almost stand a spoon in it. I loved it. Now, please brace yourself, I don’t drink coffee at all. The old dodgy heart is not a big fan of a Caffeine hit. Just before you faint from this horrifying disclosure can I add that I have never liked the taste of wine & don’t drink alcohol at all. My measure of a good coffee shop is their hot chocolate.

  • Emma

    I like Starbucks coffee… o the shame.. however we don’t have Starbucks in Perth. There is plenty of high quality coffee so no need…

  • Me

    For me it’s chai latte. I hate it when you go into what looks like a good coffee shop and it has chai latte on the menu so I excitedly ask for one and then they ask, ‘Do you want vanilla or spiced?’ Urggghh. I equate that to them asking a coffee drinker if they’d like International Roast or Nescafé?

  • Bee

    Yes I’m a coffee snob and when desperate will order coffee from chains. A barista is no guarantee of the yummy stuff. Better than a tea or glass of hot water though. happy clappers! hahahahaha

  • Mate I thought I was a coffee snob but ahh….no….I am not. Not by a long shot (pardon awesome pun). So how do you prepare your coffee at home? Or do you not? Do you have an appliance of some sort? Grind your own? Or take it only from a barista?

  • Nicola

    I’m a card carrying coffee snob and Australia made me so. When I arrived from the UK 18 years ago I was quite happy with a Nescafé instant but it didn’t take long for Sydney cafes to convert me. Now when I go home I spend most of my time whinging about the poor coffee on offer and turning my nose up at Cafe Nero/ Pret a Porter etc.. I’m a complete pain in the arse about it and I’m so NOT SORRY!

    I don’t like Starbucks and I doubt it will last in Chatswood where there are plenty of cafes that know how to make a good coffee. But surely they’ve done market research so who knows..

  • Donna

    I was an addict in a bad way. But I gave up and I sleep better and have reduced my heart racing anxiety. It was tough and I miss it every day. Made such a difference I’m a bit of an evangelist for giving up caffeine.

  • I am a card carrying coffee snob… except for starbucks. i am an ex-employee though so i am kinda brainwashed. I am super fussy about my coffee and my wine. Wine moreso, & it is becoming more expensive the older i get!

  • Jenny

    Do you read this stuff before you publish it?

  • lou lou

    Even putting milk in it is a bridge too far. Nobody wants a warm milkshake.
    Woogie, do yourself a favour and buy an Areopress for travel. Pack that, your travel mugs and ground beans and happy days! Great for hotel room or camping. I took mine all over the USA and didn’t get stabby once.