I Declare Jihad

October 10, 2012 - 9:49 pm
Irradiated by Stingray
53 Comments

Look, you hopped up pretentious fuckskids of inferiority masquerading as trendy, there is one goddamn thing that has been utterly fucking pivotal to the advancement and continuance of human progress in the history of the fucking world, eclipsed in importance only by beer, and I am utterly fed the righteous fuck up with every half-wit with an art history degree and a pot of boiling water fucking it up.

Coffee is not this fucking hard, people.

I may be biased by a recently uninterrupted string of bad experiences, but the continued existence of Starbucks backs my claim that shit-awful coffee is still way too common. What’s worse, Starbucks has been the model for every hipster-filled pretentious nouveau-trendy hole in the wall with shitty parking designed only to be accessible to people who’s job consists of carrying an ipad around all day and pretending they’re worth a tin shit in a gold mine. Over the last few months, I’ve been to more than a handful of coffee establishments, ranging from “Gimme some fuckin’ bean juice and get me out the door” to “Our organic free range fair trade cruelty free salmon bagel won best of the block for food served next to a tattoo parlor!” and a good chunk in between.

You know who had the best coffee out of the lot? The goddamn Obligatory Cow Reference in Secret Location, CO at Blogorado. The greasy fucking spoon. Was it great coffee? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it’s pretty damn good. Fellow coffee snob MattG insists that a good portion of this is due to the company we always have at the Obligatory Cow Reference, and I’ll allow that does bring a good bit of leniency to the standards, but that aside, the coffee is still pretty un-suckful.

The reason for this trend of bad coffee is that, probably thanks to the Seattle Shit-in-a-cup, burnt beans and overextracted brew has become way too accepted as “good coffee,” and it absolutely ball-shreddingly cunt-staplingly IS NOT GOOD.

Let’s take the first problem first: burnt coffee. Unless you fell out of the monkey tree yesterday, you’re probably aware that coffee beans have to be roasted before they can be ground and brewed. A few special cases aside, this happens between 375 and 425F, and can take from 90 seconds to 15 minutes. It will be a smoky process regardless, but apparently every goddamn roaster with ironic glasses has decided that more is more in terms of smoke, and the ideal output product from a coffee roast should look more like the trash can from Auschwitz than a small brown pellet. The fucking goal is to cook out the moisture, and break down the proteins, sugars, and phenolic materials into something complex and delicious. It’s fundamentally a Maillard reaction. That’s an art to do well, I will grant, but it’s not fucking rocket surgery.

Sugars go first, into formic, acetic, and lactic acids, which are responsible for tart flavors. As the roasting continues, acids and astringent phenolic stuff (like chlorogenic acid) are broken down to reduce overall acidity (this can be fucked up later even if done correctly here, don’t worry aspiring trendwhore baristas). This is, counter-intuitively, also where the bitterness starts to ramp up, and where we start running into that choking on a burnt log flavor, since the byproducts from the Maillard that cause the browning of the bean start to ramp up as the bean darkens- or in layman’s terms: IT’S FUCKING BURNT YOU GODDAMN BOIL ON THE ASS OF DECENT CAFFEINE DELIVERY. Body is shot like a car in Fallujah, and the only flavors left are hate and failure.

There’s an argument to be made that I should be pissed off about how they’re grinding the beans, but really, the brewing process is more at fault in any of these cases than grain size, from what I can tell, so I’m going to skip it. Ideally, you want to extract about 20% of the overall coffee solids to make a full, balanced cup of brew. To do this, you have to first get the proportion of coffee to water correct (Hint: You need more coffee than you think!) and second, you need the correct fucking temperature of water. Amazingly, we have had the technology to heat water to specific thermal levels for… let me check here… ah, right, THE LAST FUCKING CENTURY OR SO. Coffee water needs to be heated to between 190F and 200F. DO. FUCKING. NOT. FUCKING. BOIL. THE. FUCKING. WATER.* Higher temperatures extract more bitter compounds. Hence, over-extracted. Some drip machines are slapdash affairs, and compensate for inadequately heated water by leaving the water in contact with the coffee for longer. This is popular with conical filter machines. This also leads to over-extracted coffee.

The starting point for coffee to water ratios should be no lower than 1:15. Most of the old Better Homes and Fuck Dens from The Good Ol’ Days are actually not terrible on this point- one of my grandmothers of the “It was good enough before the darkies could vote, it’s good enough now!” mold insisted on 1.5 Tbs coffee per mug in the pot (using the average 11 oz mug). This gave a ratio better than double the starting point for standard American drip coffee to not suck, and it has served me well. Remember, it is always better to use MORE coffee in the brew; you can dilute if it’s too strong, but you can’t fix too weak.

The Obligatory Cow Reference has an old(er)-school basket type jumbo brewer. It’s got enough ass to get the water hot enough, they use enough coffee for the water, and the basket filter doesn’t leave the water in the grounds for too long. End result: Pretty damn good coffee, unfucked by some shitskid with a fixie.

Look, good coffee is a high art. It does take some practice. But you know what it also takes? Having a fucking example that wasn’t made from the ashes of Juan Valdez’ donkey brewed for half an hour at 212F as a starting point to judge your own output by. Are clove cigarettes really that damaging to the palate? Jesus, people.

So with the explanation out of the way, here’s what I’ve come up with as a rule of thumb. Call it Stingray’s Law of Brew Selection, or Stingray’s BS: If you see more pump bottles full of flavor shit by whatever brewing device is in operation, just get a glass of water and snort a rail of ground-up No-Doz, because I swear on a stack of dead civets that if I get one more shitty cup of mud from a fuck-leaving with a neck tattoo and a hole the size of a golf ball in the ear** I’m going to solve the problem with ten gallons of diesel and a fucking road flare.

*Unless you’re at an altitude where water boils pretty close to 200F instead of 212. Here at 7200′, small quantities will boil around 203F, larger batches where the weight of the water brings some pressure to the party will go higher, up to the 206-208 range. If you try to use a pressure cooker to get the temp higher without boiling, I will hunt you down and do violent things to you. Like make you drink your own coffee. There is a specific style that does this, and brews around 230F, but, uh, damn.
**Some days I’m really tempted to keep a nice, super-heavy Masterlock in my pocket for these special snowflakes, and then when the coffee sucks, beckon them in close, lock it through the ear and run like hell.

53 Responses to “I Declare Jihad”

  1. Phelps Says:

    THE COFFEE JIHAD IS BACK, BITCHES!

    http://phelps.donotremove.net/category/shhcjvcw/page/2/

    THE SUPER HYPER HOLY CRUSADING JIHADI VENGENCE COFFEE WAR SHALL PREVAIL!

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Amen! And don’t even get me started on the damn Keurig machines.
    I once tore into a coworker in the break room because he was putting hot water in the coffee pot and then starting the brew giving the excuse that the office coffee was ‘too strong.’ I told him in no uncertain terms that if the coffee was too strong for his pansy ass then he needed to add water to his own damn cup and leave the rest of the pot alone. No one fucked with the coffee after that.

  3. Gregory Morris Says:

    Right on!

    I’m actually rather surprised the addition of salt didn’t enter into your eloquent rant. I realized why the coffee in the coastal areas of the Yucatan was so good when I tasted the tap water… it is very nearly brackish. Then, after a few minutes of scouring the interwebs, I found out that adding salt to coffee actually a thing. Like, a really good thing.

    OK, fine, it doesn’t enter into the topic of your post at all, but I like pointing it out anyway, because not everyone knows about it. You can _almost_ make a cup of ass coffee drinkable with a half teaspoon of salt.

  4. BGMiller Says:

    Sooooooo……

    No Sanka then?

    *runs like hell before Tank can be unleashed to “fetch”*

    BGM

  5. Javahead Says:

    Thank you. I had a hard time not getting up and cheering.

    I actually enjoy a slightly dark roast (up to about Peet’s standard). But Starbucks goes beyong “slightly dark” to “slightly coffee flavored charcoal”. And then hides the flavor by drowning the resulting bitter and overextracted brew in steamed milk, syrup, and god-only-knows-what.

    It doesn’t require a fancy coffeemaker to make Really Good Coffee. It doesn’t need a fancy grinder. It does require decent quality beans that are *properly* roasted and a reasonable amount of care.

    I most often use a simple blade-type grinder, a cheap Mr. Coffee drip machine, but decent beans in sufficient quantity. And it tastes just fine. Even better if I use a press pot or my old Italian stovetop Moka pot. But it isn’t a science, and it isn’t even that much of an art. So why can’t I get something that good at most self-proclaimed *Gourmet Coffee* vendors?

  6. Mike G. Says:

    I feel you man. Here in Italy, I’m used to being able to buy a good cup of coffee pretty much everywhere, including gas stations. Then I leave the country, and it’s like there’s a force field that keeps this magical coffee brewing ability from spreading into neighboring countries. Recently I risked one in Austria, right outside the Italian border, and it was basically a cup of tepid, dirty water.

    I was in Seattle last year, but I’ve avoided Starbucks like the plague. I’d rather get kicked in the nuts repeatedly, than drink another cup of that shit.

  7. Christina LMT Says:

    THANK YOU. I’m not a huge fan of coffee (at least, not the Starfucks variety), but the best coffee I’ve had has been from: 7-11; McDonald’s; gas stations/convenience stores in TX. And, OF COURSE, the Obligatory Cow Reference. (I do adulterate my coffee with plenty of milk/creamer/what have you.) Schande, I know. *hangs head in shame*

  8. Chris Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQxgv4QtKM8

  9. Unix-Jedi Says:

    I find your jihad intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  10. farm.dad Says:

    As I told you when you found out i had fed you Folgers .. The right amount of coffee grounds , and good water are the keys . We have good water here , and don’t stint on the grounds .

  11. FabioC. Says:

    Heh, this piques my interest. Or it’s just that this morning I overindulged in the aforementioned caffeinated drink?

    I am in Indonesia at the moment, and this is a land that offers plenty when coffee is concerned.

    Most people here have their coffee as powder, hot water and LOADS of sugar and often milk/creamer in a cup. And people smoke clove cigarettes like chimneys, they do.

    The most popular degree of roasting is mild, with rather low bitterness. I don’t like lots of sugar and hardly ever have creamer, so often I make coffee myself using a stovetop moka. I try to avoid pure Arabica because it leaves a long-lingering bitter and sour aftertaste in my mouth; my favorite variety is Toraja instead.

    Yes, the Starbucks roast is burnt, there is no ifs or buts about it.

  12. Peter Says:

    Miss D. introduced me to Kaladi’s coffee when I was courting her in Alaska:

    http://kaladi.com/

    It knocks Starbucks and every other pretentious coffee shop into a cocked hat. If you ever get the chance to drop in to one of their coffee bars, do please try them for yourself – and you can mail-order their beans, too. I highly recommend the Red Goat blend:

    http://www.kaladistore.com/redgoatblendorganic.aspx

    It’s addictive. Perhaps that’s why I married Miss D.?

    :-)

    Good to see you both again at Blogorado IV. Same time next year!

  13. Psychlone Ranger Says:

    You seem tense, Stingray. Perhaps you’d like a nice cup of tea?

  14. Erin Palette Says:

    Did someone say tea?

  15. LabRat Says:

    Peter- our normal brew is actually from another Alaskan company, Ravensbrew.

  16. Brownie Says:

    The only coffee I’ve ever been able to drink black was the stuff at my university. Turns out they had to put some of the food services out to bid and a local in-town coffee company won as the coffee provider. They liked to boast less than 24 hours from their in-town small batch roaster to your cup. And hands-down the best coffee I’ve ever had, hot or cold brewed. Dumping a bunch of their beans (correctly ground) into a big jug and plopping that in the fridge for about a day produces the best cold coffee concentrate I’ve ever had. Even misbrewed it always beats the pants off the engineer’s black tar that passes for coffee in my office.

  17. Old NFO Says:

    Concur and ONE reason for the goodness of the obligatory cow reference’s good coffee, is it NEVER has time to get ‘stale’… And concur Starboobs coffee SUCKS! I’d rather drink Navy coffee on a Tin Can than that crap… Of course my ‘favorite’ coffee is Cafe du Monde from New Orleans. And a ‘secret’ of good Navy coffee is a teaspoon of salt (in addition to the jet fuel oil slick)! OBTW, GREAT Rant!!! :-)

  18. MSgt B Says:

    Awesome.

    I’m linking this bad boy for Saturday Morning Coffee.

    PS – If you’re going to add milk and sugar, put it in the bottom of the mug first, then add coffee.

  19. Stacie Says:

    I was told by our local roaster, that the reason they over roast the beans is because they can then use stale beans since no one can tell once it is burnt. Different beans have different flavors and some are best black (Bourbon Santos, Jamacian Blue Mountain) and some come alive with a bit of real cream (Kona, Jamacian High Mountain).
    Thank you for the wonderful rant. It went well with my first cup of Kona.

  20. Mark D Says:

    This was AWESOME!

    I LIKE coffee, but I’m not a coffee snob. As I type this I’m having my second cup of the morning, the first made with our K-cup machine (yeah, but it makes decent coffee if you start off with decent coffee, meaning NOT Green Mountain), and my current cup made in a four-cup (actually about a mug-and-a-half) Cuisinart coffee maker in my cubicle. I buy Kirkland (from Costco) beans and grind them fresh for each pot.

    I absolutely LOATHE Starbucks coffee, although I do like their Espresso. Coffee should be strongly-flavored, a little bitter, but it should NOT taste like day-old cigar butts. I’ve never understood the appeal, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is ten-times better than Starbucks at half the price, plus you don’t have to worry about being arrested for assaulting the hipster d-bag behind the counter when he ironically asks you if you want strawberry syrup in your coffee.

    I’ve had plenty of bad coffee though, since I drink my coffee black I don’t have any way of covering up substandard swill. The worst offenders have been “nice” restaurants that let the coffee sit too long. Some of the best coffee I’ve ever had has been from one of NJ’s many diners, they sell enough of it that it’s always pretty fresh.

  21. Geodkyt Says:

    Word. The only way to make Starbuck’s palatable is to dump enough shit in it it is basically enriched-caffeine cocoa (Cocoa 235).

    I’ve drunk midnight TOC coffee, stirred with an oily cleaning rod (the piquant flavor of CLP & carbon adds something that concentrated civet-piss flavorings cannot touch), sweetened with some left over MRE apple jelly. Learned how to make the 3am 7-11 coffee both delicious and effective at its primary mission (keeping my car out of the friggin’ trees, but the “It’s fresh or it’s free” campaign fucked that up).

    Starbucks is marginally better than dumping a tablespoon of pigshit in a cup of water, and then microwaving it to a rolling boil. (Still better than decaf — the Brew of the Fallen does not touch these lips.)

    Of course, I am still a caffeine heretic – I use Ovaltine in my coffee instead of sugar, and prefer corrosively strong tea in the field (tea still tastes good as a wakeup cup when it’s stone-cold. . . coffee, not so much).

  22. Tam Says:

    Is it a coincidence that I’m sipping a nice cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain while reading this? (Thanks Turk!)

  23. Maureen Says:

    Awesoeme rant, as usual. At risk of being chased out of comments, I actually do like Starbucks’ Christmas blend, which I start stocking up on as soon as it comes out after Thanksgiving and lasts me – properly stored, of course – until March.

    The rest of the year I get my beans from Mad River Coffee Roasters in Campton, New Hampshire – usually it came out of the roaster the same day I pick it up. The lined paper bag the beans come in has the roasting date penciled on the label so it’s easy to ensure it’s fresh. And of course, whenever I hear someone is going to Hawaii I hand them $50.00 and ask them to bring back as much fresh Kona as they can fit in their carry-on (to keep it from getting “lost” during TSA inspection.)

    Finding a roaster who does it right and being able to get it fresh are the keys, for sure.

  24. bluntobject Says:

    I’m gonna have to hold my nose and stick up for Starbucks, here.

    Yes, their coffee is over-roasted, stale, over-priced, and carries insufferably self-impressed names. Yes, their franchises have a higher smug flux than a hot-boxed Prius. Yes, it’s become a false god of “good coffee” to the same people who’ll tell you that MGD is “good beer” and a Honda Accord is a “good car”.

    But at least that paper cup full of hate and fail tastes — strongly, mind you — like something. Prior to the Saucy Mermaid showing up in my bastard hometown, commercial coffee was more a matter of faith than evidence, in the sense that you had to have a lot of faith that the warm brownish water you were sipping had once come into contact — or been in the same room — with a grain of coffee bean. Once Starbucks came along, it was suddenly okay for the other coffee shops to serve coffee that tasted like it had caffeine in it, and not long after that I started finding decent beans — properly bagged, with “roasted on” dates — next to the Sanka and Folger’s instant shit in grocery stores.

    Besides which, it keeps the hipsters off of welfare for a few months out of the year.

  25. Silver the Evil Chao Says:

    But…but…I love Starbucks coffee! ;w;

    Actually, probably because I HATE black and hot coffee. From my experience, it’s either flavorless and is thus pretty much brown caffeinated water (my mom’s home coffee, any coffee at work or in my department, pretty much any coffee I’ve had with no additives like milk, etc.) or waaaay too strong and gives me a stomachache five minutes after I get it (ALL coffees from places like Tom Horton’s, Dunkin Donuts, 7-Eleven, etc.).

    I love my coffee with soymilk (doesn’t give me a stomachache…all you genetic freaks with your lactose tolerance!), lots of peppermint flavoring, chocolate, mocha, whipped cream…I prefer my coffee to be caffeinated, cold, sweet (but not too sweet!) confections as opposed to “hot coffee” or even just straight iced coffee. And in this department, I’ve found that Starbucks makes the best. Their peppermint isn’t ungodly sweet (unlike Caribou or the stuff found on campus) and leaves a pleasant aftertaste; the whipped cream is nice, light, and fluffy; the coffee flavor itself doesn’t overpower the flavor of the drink; and the texture of the blended ice, soymilk, and coffee is wonderfully smooth (again, unlike the stuff found on campus…I don’t think they blend the ice finely enough over there!). I <3 Starbucks, ehehehe. x3 I also like staying there for programming work, too. Something about the general energy there keeps me productive~

    There's your lengthy Starbucks defense of the day, hahahaha.

  26. naleta Says:

    I agree 100% about Dunkin Donuts coffee. It is even drinkable at the wimpy colored water ratio that my coworkers seem to prefer. I have tried the Ravens Brew coffees and liked them, but they were roasted just a little dark for my husbands taste. They’re also much more expensive than Dunkin Donuts which I can get at the local grocers for under 50 cents/oz.

  27. Sigivald Says:

    I believe Marco Ament had the realization (probably not the first, but the guy I remember stating it best) that Starbucks is Coffee For People Who Don’t Like Coffee.

    That’s why their business is really (in terms of cost and volume) selling milk, that happens to have some coffee in it, and syrup to cover the coffee flavor.

    That’s also why places over-roast*; if you over-roast, you’re only tasting the roasting character, not the beans. Which means you can use any shitty beans you want, and not scare the coffee-dislikers with actual coffee flavors.

    (* Starbucks recently rolled out some alleged city roasts, but I haven’t tried them.

    I’m enough of a Coffee guy that I roast my own, and by gum a city roast of some Random Varietal is so much better [and stronger, by not roasting away so much caffeine] that I simply don’t think of Coffee Bar Coffee Drinks as “coffee” as such.

    That said? The best commercial coffee I ever have is at snooty restaurants. They know how to brew it right; as you say, lots of grounds and don’t fucking boil it.)

    (Also, contra bluntobject, an Accord is a “good car” for all normal uses of the term “good” applied to “car”. It’s not a great car in every sense [or any of them, perhaps, except for reliability], but I can’t see any reasonable ones in which it is not “good”.

    Also, if your coffee has a “roasted on” date and is in a bag in a supermarket? It’s already stale. You have a week, maybe 10 days, from roast date to meh.

    Meh coffee is still coffee, but it’s not “fresh roasted”, and the difference is way marginal after its not fresh.

    Roasters are cheap. Or you can use a pan and a lot of stirring; I’ve done this over coals in a campfire, for God’s sake.)

  28. BobG Says:

    If you put anything like milk or sugar in coffee, it means one or both of two things:

    1. You don’t like coffee.
    2. You are drinking shitty coffee.

    I have never had a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s that was as good as what I grind and brew at home.

  29. Squid Says:

    I learned early on how to make a decent cup. When I worked in the Italian Market, we had a couple of boys from the neighborhood who stopped in now and then for a cup of coffee or a neat espresso. When then manager says, “Squid, please help these gentlemen with whatever they’d like, with my compliments (and for Christ’s sake don’t fuck it up),” it really focuses the mind.

    (Also, because I’m an incorrigible pedant: highland Toraja *is* an Arabica bean.)

  30. bluntobject Says:

    Sigivald:

    I submit that, parallel to your provided definition of Starbucks coffee as “coffee for people who aren’t into coffee”, an Accord is a “car for people who aren’t into cars”. Most coffee buyers aren’t looking for a city roast with identifiable tones, just as most car buyers aren’t looking for steering and brakes that let them feel what the front tires are doing. The former want a brown caffeinated substrate for milk, flavour shots, drizzled caramel, and bull semen that hits the social construct of “coffee”, and the latter want a reliable transportation appliance that won’t bankrupt them at the pump or kill them in a crash. As far as they’re concerned, actually enjoying coffee for being coffee, or a car for being a car, is beside the point.

    Also, while I’m grateful for your efforts to enlighten me about Good Coffee, you’ll be glad to learn that you’re nine years too late: almost a decade ago I moved from the bastard hometown to Vancouver and immediately discovered coffee geekery of exactly the type you describe. (I rather suspect — and the point of my first comment was — that just as we have the Carter administration partly to thank for a robust market in good microbrew, we have the emergence of Starbucks partly to thank for a robust market in good coffee.)

  31. Joe in PNG Says:

    I’m an addict, so I’ll pretty much drink anything that is coffee. One early Sunday morning I wound up with some stuff that had been brewed Friday- it was all I can do to choke it down.

    But with that admission, the best coffee I’ve had is grown and roasted here in PNG- it’s the Arbacis Blue Mountain, and it is perfect. Not over roasted, but not acidly underoasted either.

    Anyway, a personal observation is that eating really spicy food seems to “wake up” coffee in a strange way.

  32. Jess Says:

    “…pretentious fuckskids of inferiority masquerading as trendy…”

    I tried to buy a coffee in Starbucks years ago. After I decided I wasn’t going to wait ten minutes, the coffee was too damn expensive and the clientele were too pretentious, I left and decided I’d probably never return; and haven’t.

    Your description above is the most accurate description of the Starbucks’ acolytes ever written.

  33. Kristopher Says:

    I just don’t drink coffee.

    Never did like the taste.

  34. Heather Says:

    Hell, I don’t even drink the stuff (can’t stand it, in any form I’ve tried) and I know how to properly brew it. Could be from growing up with a single mom who wouldn’t get up in the morning until we handed her her first cup though… :)

  35. perlhaqr Says:

    And lo, the tea coffee was bitter.

  36. Melody Byrne Says:

    We buy our coffee from Evans Brothers, a local roaster a few miles away. Usually we managed to buy sometime between 3 and 5 days after roasting (right after roasting is NOT a good idea). They do an awesome medium roast which we grind at home and then brew using the pour over method. If you order coffee at their coffee bar and ask for room for cream and sugar they look at you like you’re nuts.

    The best part? Their coffee doesn’t cost me a cent more than buying whole bean Dunkin Donuts from the local Wally World.

  37. a_random_guy Says:

    Hey, Starbucks is great: for snacks and for a comfy place to sit. also for emptying your wallet, given their prices. Just be sure to bring your own coffee.

    My mother always took along individual packages of instant coffee. When she landed in a restaurant that served “colored water”, she would add the instant coffee, so that there was at least some flavor to the stuff.

    Seeing the comment from the Italian above: Coffee in continental Europe is usually brewed under pressure, which seems to result in a heck of a lot more flavor. Each cup is made fresh and served immediately. American coffee is usually made without pressure, just by dripping hot water onto the ground coffee. It doesn’t get any better by sitting around, sometimes for hours, before being served.

  38. Roberta X Says:

    To people who sneer at those of us who add milk and sugar: bite me.

    I brew good coffee (best I can lay hands on, working our though a gift bag of Jamaican Blue Mountain at present) in a clean Chemex with good water (city water when it’s not lousy) that’s off the boil…or, rarely, in the backup vacuumatic (you need dust-free ground coffee to get a really nice brew) and I add real cream when I can get away with it (doc sez NO) and “raw” sugar. That’s how I have always taken my coffee and, Fates willing, I shall always do so.

    But Starbucks? That stuff’s undrinkable. No matter what you add.

  39. Matt G Says:

    So, given the elevation of Sooper Sekrit Range and the slightly reduced boiling temp, was the percolator coffee worth drinking, to you?

    Ideally, I’d have had a chambord, and poured 190 degree water into it, but we were roughing it.

  40. Ian Argent Says:

    Dare I ask your thoughts on French-press coffee? The key to which, incidentally, is to coarse grind immediately before immersion and allowing the brew to breathe while steeping, in my experience.

  41. Jake Says:

    Okay, I’ll bite. What is Obligatory Cow Reference? Chick-fil-a?

  42. Stingray Says:

    Jake: See footnote here

    Ian: About the same as the rest; I’ve had some very good and some very bad coffee from french presses, but I’ve not taken the time to practice using mine enough to claim any skill more than passable. I’m results-oriented. Pick a process, figure it out, and get it right.

    Matt: Worth drinking. The company and the cold may have improved it a bit, but even without those factors I wouldn’t think twice about getting a second cup.

  43. Sigivald Says:

    Blunt: Good to know – I took the comment about “coffee with a roasted on date” as an expression of that being Fresh Roasted Coffee. Which obviously you turn out to already know it Isn’t.

    (And I will happily agree that an Accord is not a driving enthusiast’s car. Though you can still have a lot of fun throwing one around some curvy road…)

    (Me, I’m a heathen who likes a little sugar in my coffee most of the time. But no dairy.)

  44. Ian Argent Says:

    Well, I’m pressing for myself and my wife, so, if I didn’t like what I got, I’d stop

  45. Jake Says:

    Thanks, Stingray!

  46. Matt G Says:

    Re: Obligatory Cow Reference.
    I had forgotten how well you wrote that up. I just chuckled aloud for a solid minute. Thanks for that.

  47. Tam Says:

    Stingray,

    …even without those factors I wouldn’t think twice about getting a second cup.

    Lord knows I didn’t. (Think twice, that is.)

  48. Chas Says:

    I think that I have been in every cafe in southeastern Colorado with “Rancher,” “Stockman,” “Longhorn,” etc. in the name, but I do not remember any stupendous coffee. Therefore, I suggest that probably the good table company had much to do with your perception!

    That, and maybe they make enough coffee that it doesn’t sit and get burnt.

  49. Ken O Says:

    Right there with you! I have enjoyed coffee all of my life, switching to black at thirteen. I have been blessed to have enjoyed Costa Rican coffee most of my life as well; mom and dad were frequent visitors and now have a house there. I cannot say enough good things about Cafe Milagro from Costa Rica. They even have small batches available from different microclimes and terroir.

  50. Matt G Says:

    “That, and maybe they make enough coffee that it doesn’t sit and get burnt.”

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

  51. Unix-Jedi Says:

    http://i.imgur.com/NKA1g.jpg

    Other note: When I’ve had (other people’s) coffee using starbucks coffee beans – that’s been OK. Not burned. So go figure why they burn inside the store, but sell you nicely roasted beans.

  52. FabioC. Says:

    @ a_random_guy
    “Seeing the comment from the Italian above: Coffee in continental Europe is usually brewed under pressure, which seems to result in a heck of a lot more flavor. Each cup is made fresh and served immediately.”

    Exactly, but the flavour of coffee changes dramatically just outside Italian borders, even if the machines are the same (even in Indonesia those who want to make good espresso, or at least pretend, use imported Italian machines).

    But I don’t like the thick extra powerful espresso anymore in fact. I prefer a moka.

    Moka extracts at maybe 2 bar pressure, while if I’m not mistaken professional espresso machines go up to 8. I’m sure somebody did some serious study on how extraction pressure influences extract composition but I don’t have it handy.

  53. Sigivald Says:

    Fabio: Moka pots also use boiling water (since it’s steam pressure, not a pump), wheras a proper espresso machine should hit maybe 200 degrees, tops.

    That will naturally affect things, too.

    (I should dig up one of my Moka pots and give it a try parallel with my espresso machine. For Science.)