It always amazes me how people are addicted to bad coffee.
I’ll get to the point, lest I get too negative and start hurting people’s feelings.
Here’s your coffee drinker’s bill of rights:
- Your coffee should not taste sour. This sour taste in coffee, we call “ass.” The vast majority of American coffee (as well as Mexican coffee, yes I said it) tastes like ass. If you ever have any doubt about what ass tastes like, buy a cup of any coffee or espresso from Seattle’s Best Coffee. That is ass. Tim Horton, that’s some ass.
- Your coffee should not taste burnt. Your coffee tastes burnt because Starbucks taught us all that charcoal = strong, dark, and complex. The truth is that Starbucks is a huge McWallmart that wants uniformity in it’s product. Since the taste of beans naturally varies due to region, roasting, age, and other factors, the way they ensure uniformity is by over-roasting them. You’ll notice what once your charcoal-tasting Starbucks goes cold, it starts to taste like ass (see rule #1).
- Your coffee beans should not be chemically flavored. Which coffee beans do you think they set aside to soak in a chemical solution so that it turns out smelling offensively like hazelnut or vanilla or whatever? That’s right, the ass-iest beans. They know that even the most coffee-ignorant people will spit this coffee out, so they flavor it after roasting and sell it as gourmet to idiots. Newsflash: no hazelnut smells or tastes like that.
- Your coffee beans should not be multi-colored. Praxis Language had this problem; they had beans delivered from Shanghai City Shop. Good God that coffee was bad. Some beans were dark, others lighter, others pale, almost yellow. I think they roasted the beans in an Easy Bake Oven. When I pointed this out to someone, they told me it was a “blend.” If I haven’t told you before, people in that company were prone to pulling bullshit explanations out of their asses and telling it to me like I’m stupid. Blend, my ass. I am from Seattle, Washington, bitch.
- Your coffee beans should not be oily. Roasted coffee beans get oily as they get OLD. Older beans have a tendency to go assy.
- Your coffee should not be muddy. If there is sediment at the bottom of your cup, you ground it too long, too fine. Fine ground is fine for espresso, because the steam blasts through, and that’s its only contact with the grounds. Fine grounds shouldn’t be soaking in your French press; you probably noticed that coffee was so strong it might have given you a stomach ache. The longer the beans contact the water, the less you should grind it; for a French press, that means grinding them coarse, like bread crumbs.
A lot of people try to mask their bad coffee with cream and sugar. Cream doesn’t actually cover the ass taste, it just thins it out and makes it colder. Sugar does mask the ass taste, but then congratulations, you now have sweet, palpable ass. Ass is ass, children.
Your coffee should taste good black. Then, when you add cream, you’re not thinning it out, you’re adding the taste and feel of fat. It only takes a drop of cream to add that fat dimension to good coffee. Now odds are that if you managed to get good-tasting black coffee, you spent a few bucks on the beans; adding sugar will give you the sweet you want, but it will cover up all the complexities of your coffee. Remember how the guy at the roasterie said that there would be overtones of blueberries in your Ethiopian beans? You want to taste them, don’t you? There’s sugar in your doughnut, you don’t need it in your coffee.
Buying fair trade and/or organic beans will make you feel better if you’re one of those people that worries about how your luxuries oppress people. Buying fresh roasted beans from a non-corporate roaster, and using them within 14 days of their roasting will get you non-ass tasting coffee. Grinding your beans right before brewing, and grinding them appropriately (course for French press, fine for expressed) will give you a dark liquid without mud, that won’t hurt your stomach. Brewing good coffee will allow you to use less creamer, so go ahead and buy the heavy whipping cream; adding a tiny bloop of it will give you that rich fat taste you’re after. And good coffee means you can use less sugar, so you taste complexities instead of getting, you know, Type II adult onset diabetes.
I know most of you don’t put a lot of thought into your coffee; many of you have grown dependent on and have learned to like the taste of charcoal and/or ass. In fact, I fully expect at least a couple of you to leap to the defense of your atrocities, either in person, in the comments, or on Facebook. I understand. This post is about how to hate bad coffee; the bottom line is that you can’t hate bad coffee if your heart’s not in it.