I think this is one of the most important emotions in coffee. (Go with me here….)

I try (as we all do at work) to drink as much coffee from other roasters as possible, and a good day is a day that I’m jealous. Jealous of how good a certain roast is, or how good a lot of greens are, or how beautiful a bag is, or jealous about a myriad of other things.

I don’t believe for a second that we have the best of everything, nor are the best at everything – but that’s the goal. I’d say that if you aren’t regularly jealous of another company for even the smallest detail then you’re missing out on some great inspiration. If you say you can’t find it, then you aren’t really looking.

I’m not advocating some sort of mean spirited competitive thing between companies, quite the opposite. There is so much diversity in coffee that it would be a shame not to enjoy it. The Kiandu from Ritual is absolutely delicious, I’m jealous they got that lot but I don’t think that is mutually exclusive to loving the coffees from Kenya we have right now.

The best thing about the “Taste of” events we used to do – where we’d pick five roasters from a certain country, get their coffee in and pull shots of it for interested people – was that we’d get to taste some incredible blends, totally different to what we were doing or trying to achieve. The best ones, regardless of their style, always made me think “Damn, I wish we’d done that!”, if only for a minute. (I tried to remember to actually just enjoy the coffee too) I hope I never lose that motivation. I also think jealousy can breed innovation, but that is a whole other post….

16 Comments Jealousy

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  2. James Hoffmann

    It probably ought to be appreciation and inspiration, but I don’t mind being honest that there is a little jealousy too!

  3. Hugo

    Nicely put. Jealousy and a few incredible shots of coffee from Mr Harmon @3FE (before it got all big) drove me to cut my ties with the one roaster I’ve used for years and start sleeping around with yourselves amongst delicious others. I’ve loved it and so have my billies. Now I want better kit to brew it on…I want what they’ve got.

  4. bek

    I wish that there was more diversity and the same jealousy amongst all UK roasters – it seems so hard to get the ‘wow’ from a lot of coffee available in this country… I think as much provocation as possible is needed. I do reckon Square Mile is definitely leading the way with some fantastic roasts this year, but I have to say the lack of options out there is frustrating – so many coffees just about there, but not quite, and mediocre is almost worse than terrible… the expectations are high but the result is sometimes disappointing.
    Jealousy in this respect can only be a good thing I think… As customers we’re always looking for something different and new and astounding, and hearing of many great coffees around the world which people are trying, but which we can’t access as easily as consumers, is near torture. If only every roaster was as jealous and let that jealousy motivate them…

  5. James Hoffmann

    I’ve had plenty of reasons to be jealous of roasters in the UK! If you want some recommendations I can drop you an email.

  6. BWJ

    I’ve always thought the same about design. “Good design is seeing something you wish you had done yourself.”

    Jealousy can be a healthy and inspiring motivator!

  7. Karin

    I like your positive attitude. The thing that sets the most successful people apart is their motivation to excel, and the only way to do that is to compare yourself to others who achieve excellence.

  8. Andrew

    Jealousy is perhaps not the right word like a couple of other comments say – it sounds so negative.

    I see it as inspiration or competition – as long as you can put a positive edge on it, it drives us to improve – for the benefit of all.

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