People often scoff when they learn I drink only decaffeinated instant coffee.
The funny thing about this attitude is that it does no justice to their own appreciation for coffee. It implicitly claims there is nothing of value in the experience besides the caffeine. But who would want to replace drinking coffee with taking a caffeine pill?
They are mildly physically dependent on coffee, but I am not. They do need the caffeine stimulation, but I do not. I get as much from a cuppa as they do because I’m not missing what is missing from decaff.
But can they scoff because I drink instant decaf coffee?
I would concede that instant coffee has less flavour than the proper kind. It's bound to because it is processed and exposed to oxygen. Even after just a couple of weeks, the flavour of a jar of instant coffee has dropped away noticeably. But at the end of the day, it's only a cup of coffee. It's not something that really matters.
The pleasure of a well made cup of coffee just doesn't count for much. Even if on a relative scale proper coffee wipes the floor with instant, the two pleasures are so far from what really counts in life as to be indistinguishable.
I used to be a bit of a snob about coffee. Now I think it's just a young man's thing. One adopts these positions as part of carving out an identity. It felt good to feel superior to other people and to think that my palate was capable of affording me higher and more noble pleasures than others were capable of. I think I recognise now that it was not that other people couldn't tell the difference, it's just that they had the sense not to waste time bothering about it.