Image by Taylor Franz

012 - What Makes Good Coffee Good

Sometimes I go out of my way to buy coffee from a particular coffee shop. Why is that?


Welcome to the Editor’s Journal; A daily thought on writing, the creative process, art, work, the world and how it all goes together. Every morning I rise between 5 and 6 am, I sit here in the quiet of my kitchen and I write whatever’s prominent. I have a bunch of article ideas saved, so I’ll either pull from them or write something new. I also write at larrygmaguire.com. I hope you enjoy the read.


Yesterday I wrote about the buying experience, how people buy for the sake of experience or anticipated experience, and the thing they buy has very little else to do with it.

This is a real phenomenon, but it’s not the only thing going on. There is I believe, an inherent value built into the things we make, and what determines that value is the level of integrity and passion we bring to the making.

This is what makes good coffee good, and bad coffee bad and it’s the reason people want to be associated with things of quality.

But how do we define quality?

What makes one thing better than its counterparts?

Personally I don’t believe we can define quality. We may try and even find agreement with others as to the level of quality of a thing, but it can never be pinned down.

Unlike putting an object on a scales and weighing it, quality cannot have a scale applied. In fact the truth is even weight, height, temperature and such are not absolute. They are merely conveniences that we use to gauge our presence in the world. They are arbitrary.

Quality is a moving target. It’s a mysterious element of a thing that deserves reverence and admiration. To break it down into parts and attempt to define and apply some kind of scale to it is to destroy what quality is.


The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

Quality Doesn’t Scale (Usually)

It’s rare to see quality done at scale however it can be done. Apple is an example of this in my opinion, at least when Jobs was around. Tim Cook isn’t doing a bad job at maintaining that momentum.

Artistic creations don’t scale however.

Just like every cup of coffee made by a barista who gives a fuck can’t be scaled. I love to watch a barista who cares about what she’s making, make coffee.

They can move fast. With practice they can even move a little faster. They can work efficiently and produce great coffee and serve the public well. But there’s a point at which that prowess falls down.

There’s a tipping point where the care and attention to detail goes out the window, the product becomes second rate and the service shitty.

The focus moves away from making something worthwhile, to making something for ulterior motives. The increased need for greater efficiency and profit drive the process and the very thing we became known for is forgotten.

You can see it everywhere. Fucking economists and accountants squeeze the life and soul out of the world for the sake of numbers. Wonderful creative people become hypnotised by the lure of shiny things and forget the reason they started.

It’s a sad state of affairs.

What Our Job Is

Reproductions of artistic creations can scale of course, but the original can never be replicated.

Originals have something else about them that we just can’t put our finger on. The more we look for it the more it runs away.

The mystery is what makes them great. The moment we try to replicate an original we lose it.

Sure, we can make machines to do the work, to make more of things that make life more enjoyable. And this is a good thing because the more machines we have that make stuff, ordinary everyday stuff, then the more time you and I have to make original works.

This how it should be.

The machines can do the heavy lifting for us, perform the tedious tasks that millions now do. Jobs as we now understand them to be will be no longer required.

Money as we currently use it will be gone.

There will be ample time to make stuff that we really care about without the pressure to produce. No more working for money, instead we will be making for fun.

Michael Haupt offers some interesting insights into society of the future in Postcards from 2035. You should check that out.

Utopia?

Maybe. But there’s one thing for sure, this society is forever growing and maturing. This way we live and work will not last, it’s changing now.

We can choose to get out ahead of the curve and make our shit our way, with integrity and passion or we can stay welded to this idea of “work for money”.

It’s my view that at some point we will realise that we have no choice but to go with this new idea.


The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.


Like Some More of This Kind of Thing?

Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write about art & creativity. When I’m not doing that I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.