It’s been over 17 years since Scott Patterson first stood behind the counter of Luke’s Diner on Gilmore Girls. Fans were quickly taken with his flannel shirt and baseball-cap loving character, Luke Danes, and throughout the course of the show, we all rooted for Luke to win the heart of Stars Hallow’s most caffeinated resident, Lorelai Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham). Luckily for us, the couple ultimately fell in love. It was no real shocker, of course, since Luke had an unlimited supply of the true key to Lorelai’s heart: coffee. Now, after pouring countless cups for others onscreen, Patterson has decided to take the next step in his own highly-caffeinated journey, launching his own line of the good stuff.
That’s right: starting today Scotty P’s Big Mug Coffee is available in five different blends. And for Patterson, it was a natural next move to build the brand. “I'm fascinated by business and the challenge of it,” he recently told InStyle. “Coffee was the logical thing to do, because I've had a love for it my entire life—and there's the obvious association with the show, of course.” While he spent most of his time on Gilmore Girls pouring cups instead of drinking them, Patterson’s own passion for coffee runs deep. “My mom was the one who introduced me to coffee, and building this company was a way to sort of reconnect myself with her,” he said. “We were very close, and I really didn't have anybody else in my life guiding me. So we would drink coffee deep into the night and talk about life and the direction I would take.”
In addition to honoring his bond with his late mother, Patterson wanted to create a legacy for his son, Nicholas. “When my son was born three and a half years ago, I had this great revelation where I realized that I had built many things in my life, to which he wasn’t a witness,” said Patterson. “I thought to myself, ‘I need to build something again.’ I want him to see me learning from my mistakes and celebrate with me along the way, instead of just telling him about my past experiences. “
Of course, one of his past experiences was already coffee-centric. We asked Patterson the caffeinated queen bee herself, Lorelai Gilmore, would think if she had a taste of Scotty P’s Big Mug coffee—and he’s confident that it would win her over. “I might get in trouble for saying this, but if Scotty P's Big Mug Coffee Diner opened up in the next town over from Stars Hollow, Lorelai would not only start visiting that place, she would dump Luke to come hang with me.” And there you have it.
Scroll down for our full chat with Patterson, and shop his coffee line today at scottyp.com.
How would you describe your own relationship with coffee?
Obsessive and really, really devoted. I will start guzzling coffee as soon as I wake up. In fact, I really can't going until I've got at least half a cup in me and then I start to perk up a little bit. Like most people, I'm thinking about the coffee right away. I'll drink it pretty steadily, three to five cups up until about 11 o'clock. I really can't drink coffee after lunch because then I won't be able to sleep at all, but I'll switch to decaf just to keep the flavor. I drink a lot of water along with it, too.
What’s your go-to coffee order?
My freezer is jam-packed with so many bags of coffee, and I’ve been mixing them for the last couple years to try to come up with the magical blend. I just open the freezer and decide what to try—I like to experiment. If I have a little bit of time in the morning, I'll actually count the beans out so that I know the exact number. I like to drink it black, because I really need to taste the notes. So I start with it black, and then I’ll start messing around and adding different sweeteners—honey, white sugar, brown sugar—to see how they affect that particular coffee. I even started mixing the sweeteners, too, to see if I could find the right combination. I'm developing non-dairy organic creamers to roll out in the future, so I'm already experimenting on that side, too.
Do you have any plans to open a coffee shop down the road?
Yeah, it's something that I'd love to do, and that’s the plan. A destination store or a coffee shop would be a few years down the road, though. That would be a heck of a lot of fun, but I think it's important to get the coffee established first before you try to do anything like that. Having a brick-and-mortar location is a very serious business, and it's very risky. I need the time to establish the products before then so that people are familiar with them and enjoy them. This isn’t some fly-by-night thing. It's what I love to do, and the coffee business is unlike any other business I've ever been involved with. Everybody seems to be very energetic and very happy, and there probably is a very good reason for that. They're full of coffee.
For Gilmore Girls fans, this very much feels like Stars Hollow coming to life. How do you think your coffee compares to the coffee from Luke's Diner?
It's better! My desire was to offer quality coffees that are a cut above diner or café coffee and are under $10 for 12 oz. I’m trying to get that price even lower, because people are struggling in this country, and it's a lot of money to spend on coffee. I wanted to be an accessible, affordable coffee line for people, but deliver the kind of quality that they're not used to. I find a lot of the brands priced in my range to be bitter, and my coffee is not bitter. It's smooth and it's drinkable and it's kind of complex and rich and flavorful. It's not a snobby coffee—it's a very drinkable, familiar kind of coffee.
Did you ever drink the coffee from Luke's Diner when you were on set?
Once in a while. But I actually tried not to, because I didn't want to crash. I mixed decaf in as much as I could in the morning, but then it was just water, water, water. That's a marathon to get through the day—sometimes you've got an 18-hour day. So you can start out drinking coffee, but after lunch, I had to power down on the coffee so that I wouldn’t feel jittery when I was going home at two o'clock in the morning. But yes, there were absolutely a lot of coffee runs and a lot of coffee going around on that set.
Rory Gilmore was already drinking a ton of coffee when she was in high school. Do you think she was too young to be drinking it?
Look, I think everybody's different, right? Everybody has a different constitution. Some people can handle it. Some people with a more sensitive, delicate constitution probably can't. So it kind of depends on who you are, and I think being the daughter of the world-champion consumer of caffeine probably gave her a genetic structure that would protect her from any kind of adverse effects from the intake of large quantities of caffeine. I think she was genetically predisposed to handle it. If anybody on the planet would be, it would be her.
It’s been over a year since the revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, premiered. Looking back now, what were your thoughts on the finale’s big shocker that Rory was pregnant?
Hey, it's the new generation, right? So it was a very logical next step. I wasn't terribly shocked, and I think that's good storytelling. You have to keep it fresh. I guess the next round, she'll be having a pillow inside her dress for four months! I don't know. It probably surprised a lot of people in the sense that they didn't expect it from Rory. They perceive her a certain way and I think, especially with this show, no matter how much time has gone by, I don't think anybody in the fan army or in fandom wants to see anybody grow up particularly quickly. This is just a sign that everybody's grown up, and I think they take on that kind of news with mixed emotions.
If the chance to do another revival comes up, would you be down to head back to Stars Hollow and get back in the diner?
Oh, of course! Absolutely. It's a joyous place to be. It's a wonderful job—the best job I ever had in that world. I would run back. I’d put on a pair of track shoes and sprint back. I love everybody involved and the whole experience of it. I don't know who wouldn't want to come back—that whole show is just a real gift to everybody involved. It was very nice getting back together after almost ten years. We didn't have chance to say goodbye the last time, and we didn't have a chance for any closure. So we treated filming the revival for three and a half months as this sort of daily goodbye party and really enjoyed it and savored the moments we had with one another. If there's another one, that would be spectacular.