James Freeman: What a Fucking Cunt™!

James Freeman drinks coffee

Let me just say, I love coffee. And by ‘love,’ I mean love, crave, need, and adore. When I travel, I need coffee before I can go get coffee. You get what I’m saying.

And I like ‘good’ coffee. That means I don’t want to order coffee at McDonald’s and I buy Starbucks or Peet’s to make at home.

But there is only so much good to be had in a cup of coffee. That is my stance. It is at odds with a small number of my friends who enjoy paying $5 to watch a guy ceremonially prepare them a single cup of coffee.

Having just discovered Blue Bottle Coffee, founded by James Freeman and described to perfection here, I find my self enraged in the exact way I like to be enraged. Is there a word for that? Not schadenfreude. Wutfreude, maybe? I just tried to construct a German word for this feeling but it turned out to mean ‘sausage stand.’

Let’s let Mr. Freeman dig his own grave here:

Blue Bottle Coffee has grown to a small network of cafes, wholesale partners, an espresso cart, and some vintage German coffee roasters. We are still united by the simple purpose of getting great coffee to everyone who asks for it.

Please. He means, everyone who’ll plunk down the money. But wait. There is more joy to be had in the liner notes of the beans they sell. Try this:

“Every year, our producer partner Aida Batlle pulls together a selection of some of the most delicious peaberry coffees from her farms in El Salvador. Once her Grand Reserve is available, it tends to stir up the sort of frenzied obsession among coffee people that Pliny the Younger stirs up among beerophiles – or that a well-salted salami stirs up among puppies. This year, the coffee surges with violet, plum, citrus and cocoa.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whoa, now we’re talking. This is bullshit of the highest order. It is bullshit beyond satire, almost. Trying to find out how much they charge for a cup of coffee is exhausting. I gather it is $7 for a siphon coffee, which equals 2 cups. I have scanned fifty-thousand yelp reviews, which miraculously never mention an actual price.  Perhaps James Freeman threatens to clobber them with a vintage German coffee roaster if they publish any prices.

Waiting in line seems to be a vital part of the Blue Bottle Coffee experience. They even show a nice long line on their website, as if it’s a good thing.

waiting for coffee

Blue Bottle’s investors include all the usual suspects from Silicon Valley. The company has tons of money but Freeman is really fastidious about everything. He won’t let supermarkets sell his coffee and explains his philosophy by quoting from the Myth of Sisyphus. God, what a Fucking Cunt™!

swirly pretentious coffee

I can quote Camus too, motherfucker!

There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn

He wasn’t talking about coffee but I am. People like James Freeman are responsible for everything I hate. The relentless obsession with quality, the pretense of being authentic, the microscopic attention to superfluous detail, the elitist celebration of purity, it’s all awful.

What could be more bourgeois than this much fuss about a cup of coffee?

18 Responses to “James Freeman: What a Fucking Cunt™!”

  1. Heidi Says:

    OMG. A cunt indeed.

  2. annemarie Says:

    Amen. I also believe that taking something relatively ordinary and then turning it into some fucking rarified and expensive thing is almost an exclusively American practice. I swear, I have lived in a lot of countries but the lengths people go to in America to assert their good taste is out of control!

    I used to live in South America and there was a coffee tree in my goddamn backyard. Everyone drinks coffee there, and it’s “good coffee,” but they make it in a tin pot– no fucking cold presses or siphons or perculators.

    I’m from a tea-drinking nation. A pretentious American cunt once told me that I was “so lucky” and then grilled me for info about our tea rituals and the exact type of tea we drink. He was fucking horrified to discover that we mostly use tea-bags. BAGS!

  3. Suspended Says:

    I wouldn’t appreciate being called “vintage.”

    I too have a similar appreciation for coffee, Sister, and I hate these guys who work so hard at turning it into something wanky! James Freeman deserves to be roasted by vintage Germans.

  4. sisty Says:

    What!?! I’d pay double the price for that penis-design cup on the left. What’s wrong with you?

  5. carla fox Says:

    I had a cup once, at the SFMOMA. It was the only place to get coffee and it’s next to the outdoor sculpture terrace. I didn’t know it was a “thing”. I still prefer Portland’s Stumptown.

  6. ali Says:

    My boyfriend hates this sort of thing too, and it is very difficult to avoid in Seattle. We basically only go to two restaurants where “everyone knows his name”.

    That said, I would be happy to send you a bag of Costa Rican coffee. It is tasty. I grew up there and love to share it.

  7. Dj Says:

    I see aliens like this stuff, there’s one standing in line…what an insufferable boob…coffee pretension is like wine pretension..the fucking descriptions, the knowingness, the fuck you I’m coolerness (it’s a word now!) of it…I dont think the word had been invented sister, but I know you are attempting to create it as you drink a nice strong cup of folgers gourmet dark complete with a nice red schmere of lipstick (this would not cool at blue bottle)….works for me!

  8. Harmreduction Says:

    Oh sister, I am SOOOO sorry to tell you-

    I have had the coffee many times when I lived in San Francisco. It really IS all that.

    I hate all it stand for too.

    Life is too rich, sometimes.

  9. AD Says:

    oh sister, honey child, thank you for this. these boobs are taking over my town (oakland, ca) and the gentrification is driving me insane. they move into an area where the long time residents couldn’t afford this crap if they wanted to, and while all their little hipster employees are driving up rents.

    i don’t care how *tasty* their coffee is – its fucking coffee, not sex or dinner or anything actually important. its a company built on pretense and affluence….the worst thing to happen to coffee since….starbucks.

    cuntalicious.

  10. Peter Winkler Says:

    “He won’t let supermarkets sell his coffee”

    Spoils the illusion of exclusivity.

    I rarely drink coffee, but when I do, there’s nothing like…

    Taster’s Choice.

  11. Bessie the Cow Says:

    I’m so glad I’ve given up coffee, expect for the free 2 ounce samples at Trader Joe’s. This pretentiousness (of life) and bourgie-bourgie materialism is like some horror film we are all extras in and there’s no one to call “cut!”

  12. Giulietta Says:

    You make my heart glad, Sister Wolf.

  13. Liz!! Says:

    Your last paragraph is so on-the-nose. I never save text for quoting later, but if I did, I’d save that. <3

    Weird aside, I know some people who are very particular about their coffee, but they'll take McDonald's coffee over Starbucks any day. Oh, and Dunkin Donuts, too. I hate coffee, though, so they could have bad taste or they're just cheapskates.

    A few times when I brought up that I am a tea drinker, people's eyes light up. Boy, are they disappointed when I tell them that I have boxes and boxes of Twinings which I down daily, no sugar or milk (even after trying "fair trade" teas or whatever, I still choose Twinings, but I've been told I have terrible taste more than once). Tea conversation comes to a screeching halt.

    What a bunch of cunts! All of 'em!

  14. Rosie Says:

    Oh I love how you say the things that need to be said. I don’t understand the tea thing. I am english and drink brown tea with milk. How/what else are you meant to do with it? Am I missing out on something?

  15. annemarie Says:

    “James Freeman deserves to be roasted by vintage Germans.”

    hahahahahahahaha! Brilliant.

  16. Andra Says:

    I gave up drinking coffee about 25 years ago.
    Too much wanking involved.
    Twining’s Earl Grey is my drink of choice since then.
    Apart from Pinot Gris, of course.

  17. Judes Says:

    I am a new coffee drinker and so need mine all diluted with milk and sugar. I know coffee fans think this is blasphemy, but I like an iced latte. Well, Blue Bottle won’t serve me an iced latte. They suggested a new orleans coffee instead. I said that I didn’t really know what that meant, as we’re in New York. I restated my original order and they said they don’t make lattes and that was my only option. It turns out that it’s espresso with condensed milk and it’s good, but WTF? You seriously aren’t going to make me a GD iced latte?

  18. Rach Says:

    You think overwrought cafe culture/ making something basic expensive is exclusively American? Please. America’s cafe culture (by which I mean the siphon, pour over, house roasted, kopi lewak brewed, exclusively wanktastic) is barely a single swimming semen as compared to Australia’s. I live in one of the world’s most isolated cities and cafés like you’ve described (and worse, and better) line the streets and alleyways. Specialised coffee and the nerds that love it are fucking everywhere. (On the plus side: decent, extracted espresso style coffee is also available – it was near-impossible to find in New York. Maybe less so in other cities).

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