I like coffee. I like brands. As coffee is the most commoditized product on the planet, the brand becomes everything. Lately, I discovered a ton of cool and quirky coffee brands out there. So many so that I’m almost convinced that a great coffee brand may not even need to make coffee at all. But I’ll be checking them out and telling you what I think all the same.   

The brew: Café Grumpy Columbia

Best for writing: Nothing too exciting. Maybe a thank you note you’ve been meaning to get to for that gift you didn’t really like.

I’m not sure what it was about this one, but it just spoke to me. I like the badly scrawled face. I like the attitude. Making grouchy people approachable and fun is something every coffee company has to think about as most of their customers come in before they’ve had their coffee.

I didn’t like that they don’t seem to offer a dark roast. One common understanding in coffee market research is that while the average person says they prefer a dark roast while they actually prefer a medium roast. So, you serve them a medium roast, tell them it’s dark, they sip it and say “Ah, yes, that’s just the way I like.”

But the average person is a moron. If you think about it, being an average person means they are, by only the narrowest possible margin, not below average. When I first heard about this phenomenon, I tried a medium roast because if that’s what “I really preferred” I’d rather be buying that each week. I’m that rare kind of person that kind of wants what he prefers. What I found was that I am not someone who thinks they like a dark roast but really likes a medium roast. Not even a little.

“But dark roasts often have less caffeine,” you say.

Fine, I’ll drink more. I’ve got the time.

Despite these leanings, I really wanted to try a bag of Café Grumpy.

So, I ordered a bag.

The beans are from Columbia and roasted in Brooklyn. They check all the boxes on fair trade and that’s good because one day I’m going to look into what that means.

The brand has several physical cafes up north that look like a cool place to hang out but I’m not sure I’ll find myself up there anytime soon.

As for the coffee itself, I tried it and it tastes like medium roast coffee made with fair trade beans from Columbia. Just like it said on the bag. That not their fault. I knew what I was buying. Caveat Coffee Drinker.

It’s not bad. It’s just not suitable for a morning coffee. My word count suffered and I had to keep going back to make more. Going forward, I’m going to ground the bag up and make it a pot at a time with the Bunn instead of the French Press.

I can definitely see it as an afternoon or early evening coffee. Or maybe even a late-night coffee if you’re having trouble getting to sleep.

But the brand is an absolute win. Their brand is so good, they sold me coffee I knew would be meh. And I still may order one of their café mugs with that face on it. Just look at that grumpy bastard. It says, “Don’t talk to me, I’m having coffee. Wait until I’m done and then still don’t talk to me.” It’s perfect. I have a desire to buy their merchandise and I don’t even think their product is for me. That’s a sign of a great brand. So good job, Café Grumpy, you grouchy little bastard. Good job.

Try it yourself