Coffee Talk

Mediocre Muffins ‘Hurt’ The Atlantic’s Corby Kummer

Do not give this man your subpar croissants.
Do not give this man your subpar croissants. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Corby Kummer, senior editor at The Atlantic and curator of its Food Channel, apparently takes those rock-hard bran muffins at cafés very personally: Fork in the Road reports he announced to a panel of coffee execs last week that he’s “been hurt” by mediocre eats at otherwise excellent cafés.

Reps from Joe, Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle, and Illy fielded Kummer’s question about why cafés with high-class caffeine don’t focus more on pairings and better baked goods. Apparently Blue Bottle is trying to address pastry-philes’ needs by building a pastry kitchen for their Williamsburg operation. Joe is apparently less interested: “I know we’ll never make a doughnut as amazing as the Doughnut Plant,” said their rep. “So, I don’t want to shift our focus away from the coffee.”

We were on Kummer’s side — one more nasty pain au chocolat and we’re going to have to throw in the towel and eat granola for breakfast — until we read the piece’s kicker, on the forbidding of Wi-Fi in cafés. According to Fork in the Road, Kummer mused that this “could be a force for getting people to interact face-to-face in this world of automation and virtual reality.”

Yes, because that’s what happens in New York cafés. Everyone singing along to the Otis Redding playing on the radio. We would like to keep our Wi-Fi and our distance from those other New Yorkers, thank you very much.

Corby Kummer at the Great Coffee Debate [Fork in the Road/VV]

Mediocre Muffins ‘Hurt’ The Atlantic’s Corby Kummer