A few days ago I was flipping through the May issue of The Overcast while having a coffee at Starbucks, and I came to an article about the traffic congestion that seems to plague every Tim Horton’s location in the St. John’s area. I have never understood why so many people would stop their vehicles in the middle of a busy street and risk causing an accident just for the opportunity to wait 15 minutes for an ordinary cup of coffee, so I was quite interested to hear the writer’s take on the issue. It turns out that that article said much more about the mindset of St. John’s hipsters than it did about coffee.
After reading the article, it appears that the hipster population in St. John’s has reached a critical mass, whereby they can now go through life interacting exclusively with other hipsters. Hipsters, by definition, dislike anything that the uncultured masses like, so logically they would always avoid something so mass market as Tim Horton’s coffee. Though they would not drink the stuff themselves, they would certainly be well aware that most people loved the stuff, as they would interact with non-hipsters on a daily basis. What was interesting about this Overcast article was not that the writer didn’t like Tim Horton’s, but rather that he or she didn’t realize how most people in this province would rather be late for their mother’s funeral than go without a large double-double.
The article in the Overcast used the results of a poll posted on their website as proof that most people don’t actually like Tim Horton’s coffee. I like the Overcast, but its readership is not exactly a broad cross section of society. Asking Overcast readers about Tim Horton’s coffee is akin to asking Ezra Levant’s blog readers what they think of the niqab. The article used several quotes, including one from a European who suggested that Tim Horton’s doesn’t even taste like coffee, and that it has an “industrial” taste. Using a quote from someone who is not from St. John’s is odd enough, but it is a particularly curious choice when you consider that instant coffee is ten times more popular in Europe than it is in Canada. Not to be outdone, the paper included a quote from their food writer who described Tim Horton’s as swill, undrinkable, and compared it to pouring hot water through dirty wool socks.
If hipsters actually interacted with living, breathing, non-hipsters, they would already know what I am about to tell them. There is no such thing as an “industrial” taste, unless perhaps if you were to literally add motor oil or diesel fuel to the coffee. Human taste buds are incapable of discerning whether a coffee bean was roasted in a small oven with a few pounds of coffee beans or in a large oven with several tonnes of beans. Furthermore, while I am not a diehard Tim Horton’s drinker, it undoubtedly tastes like coffee. It does not taste industrial (since such a taste does not exist). It does not taste like hot water poured through a dirty sock. It tastes as if someone picked coffee beans, roasted them, ground them up, and then poured hot water through them.
I wrote a few weeks ago about how politically partisan people in this province are becoming. It may be that this is simply a reflection of a broader trend that is seeing a growing number of people clustering into cliques of like-minded people. I can see how some might find it comforting to go through life surrounded by people who pat you on the back and agree with everything you say, but I personally would find it awfully boring. Surrounding yourself with people who are exactly like you is only a slight step up from being alone.