“experimenting,” is what we call it.
when you serve the people you’ve turned into coffee snobs — many of them former non-drinkers — subpar shots of something uncontrollably bright and tangy. these aren’t cuppers and geeks, mind you. just consumers who have tuned their papillae from uhf to vhf and love all the crisp, new reception. you think they’ve become discriminating, until you find your experimental misty valley roast a wee bit heavy on the dry, grated grapefruit pulp sensations.
“saaaay, i’m liking the fruit blossoms,” they say conspiratorily. you try to bail them out: “eh. a little heavy on the chalky citrus yet. i’m working on it.” but, no. “it’s a good citrus, yeah?” they say. their confidence in you is complete.
bottom line: they like it, and you’re a carping sorehead. also, you’re imperfect. and between those grave, polar shortcomings is the Great Middle, where you are both human and a barista. you are in touch with both halves of your brain, the consumers and the gods. you understand perfection, and are content never to get there.