I'm going to tread into dangerous waters here and talk about one of the most controversial taboo subjects in the realm of 3rd and 4th wave coffee (aka pretentious coffee). What am I talking about? Blended drinks.. ,
Blended drinks AKA frappuccinos AKA frappes AKA ice caps, are possibly the most hotly debated menu item that exists in the specialty coffee world.
Why is it controversial? Because blended drinks are evil! Didn't you know?!
Try this. Go visit your local aficionados 3rd or 4th wave coffee elite shop. Ask for an iced latte, which is espresso and cold milk poured over ice cubes. Now take a step back just out of the clubbing range of the portafilter, and ask the barista to blend it. Get ready to duck and wait for the reaction.If it's a typical 3rd/4th wave cafe they will respond to you with a degree of verbal or physical violence and say something to you like “why would you ruin our sublime creation that is blessed by the Gods from another galaxy and ask us to spin it around at 15000 RPMs. I will not watch it be crushed by ice and hardened steel blades. Where were you born, who raised you?!”
Okay maybe that is a slight exaggeration.
The basic barista premise is “Why would you ask?” and why does the barista have such a drastic reaction? The simple answer is this; somebody influential said a long time ago and we're still not sure who that somebody is, but everyone quotes this somebody. The somebody who said frappes or blended drinks are evil. That's all! And now there's this unspoken rule as an artist and 3rd-4th-wave barista if you dare serve blended drinks, then you're off the cool hip person island.
Peer Pressure and Coffee
Now there's a problem with this type of thinking. Think back to when you were a pimply teenager trying your hardest to fit into society trying to look and act mature even though your brain wasn't fully formed. One of the first things you did was Delta Phi-ed yourself into trying to drink coffee.
Now for those of you that are answering "no no no I was trying to get drunk", yeah you, please just sit down. We all know the truth and that most of us tried to grow up by learning how to drink coffee. Our first taste of coffee was oh my God who drinks the worst cup of poison ever had. Then proceeded to douse it with as much sugar and cream as we possibly get our hands on. Luckily for generations of teenagers Starbucks made popular the Frappuccino.
If you don’t know, the Frappuccino is coffee, ice plus copious amounts of sugar and dairy products blended into a smooth slurpee-like hyper sweet drink of our childhood. So in other words it's the perfect entry-level drink for the new coffee drinker.
For whatever reason be it philosophically or something else, 3rd-4th wave independent cafes are opposed to serving the entry-level drink that young teenagers want. Instead the pimply teenagers will go where they can get the coffee drink they like and independent cafes miss the opportunity to convert them to quality fresh coffee prepared the proper way. In-turn the teenager never gets exposed to the 3rd-4th wave independant cafe brands. And this new coffee drinking teenager is converted to Starbucks-like places drinking stale dark bitter burnt coffee … Bye Bye!
So my answer is get off your high horse, put a blender in your coffee shop and when someone asks for a frappuccino smile and give them what they want because they're going to pay you between $4 and $6 almost 20 times a month. If somehow your coffee puritanical ways can’t handle this, then yeah, go ahead and shoo those teenagers away like old man McGregor, and be the coffee curmudgeon that you are. Get off my lawn!