David Lynch talks Coffee

Helen Hollyman (Munchies) talks to the American filmmaker and artist about his love of the espresso, the latte, and the cappuccino
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David Lynch

Do you remember the first time you drank a cup of coffee?
I don’t remember the first time exactly, but I’d like to think that I was loving coffee from an early age.

How early are we talking here?
I’m not sure, but I might have been quite little. Maybe three.

Three?
I’m not sure about that, but as a kid I always loved the smell of coffee roasting and brewing.

OK, so what do you consider a ‘good’ cup?
For me, it’s the flavor. It should have no bitterness, and it should be smooth and rich in flavor. I like to drink espresso with milk, like a latte or a cappuccino, but the espresso should have a golden foam. It can be so beautiful, Helen.

What’s inside of a bad cup?
A bad cup will taste acidic and bitter and there’s always a good flavor hiding in there somewhere, but the acid and the bitterness ruin it. It’s very frustrating to get a bad cup when you’re yearning for a cup of coffee.

Coffee companies have come a really long way over the last 15 years from the gnarly stuff.
Yes, well, I think Italy was always producing really great coffee, but America’s definitely come a long way.

Thank God. Speaking of American coffee companies, I’ve tried out the David Lynch Signature Cup coffee; what was it that made you want to create your own line?
Well, it wasn’t really my idea. One day, a friend came over to me and said, “David, you drink so much coffee, you should have your own line,” and one thing led to another, and I blind tested many, many different coffees. Another friend of mine said, “I know these guys down in Long Beach who have the greatest coffee” but I tasted it, and it was terrible, so I kept tasting different coffees and different mixtures and kept coming back to this one in blind tests over and over again.

Do you have any particular terminology that you like to use to describe coffee?
You know those wine tasters, they have a billion different words [laughs] but it just comes down to what you really like. So if words come out, and “great taste” is what you’re looking for and it tastes good as you’re drinking it, and then it tastes good after it’s entered you, it just reads as “great coffee.”

That is exactly how I like to describe ‘good’ coffee. I think you have to keep it simple. No one makes coffee appear more incredible than Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks. What kind of coffee do you think he would select from the David Lynch Signature Cup line?
Special Agent Dale Cooper drinks a lot of diner coffee. That would be a house roast, so he would really like the David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee House Roast because he would enjoy the flavor of it and it wouldn’t be acidic or bitter. And he would probably order several cups.

I don’t blame him. I drink too much coffee myself. Do you feel like coffee helps to inspire your work?
Yes. You know there’s a thing—since I was in high school, I read a book called The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, and in it he talks about this art spirit that transformed itself into the art life for me. Coffee is part of the art life. I don’t know quite how it works, but it makes you feel really good and it serves the creative process. It goes hand in hand with painting for sure.

In essence, what’s in a cup of coffee for you?
A good friend.

I’ve heard that you used to be a lot like Balzac and drink twenty cups a day. How many do you consume these days?
Well, I think I would say ten. It’s true I used to drink twenty. But they were smaller and in Styrofoam cups. Now I drink them in bigger cups.

If I drink more than two cups, it makes me feel shaky. You must be an evolved human being to be able to enjoy that many.
[Laughs] I really enjoy them…I just keep drinking. My trick though is to stop drinking them around 5:30 at night.

Read the Full Interview.

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