Coffee. I love coffee. Americans love coffee. Americans drink approximately 382 cups of coffee (8 oz). per year. 54% of American adults are regular coffee drinkers, and consume on average three 8 oz cups per day. Now that’s a lot of coffee my friends.
I used to drink my fair share of coffee, and it was always regular coffee, not decaffeinated. Not a coffee snob in the least when I first started drinking it, in fact, I was an uninformed coffee novice, I couldn’t tell the difference between a gourmet cup and a cup of mud, and I wasn’t interested in doing so either.
As I got older, probably in my early 40’s, the flavor of coffee started to really matter to me. “Brands” were beginning to emerge as elite coffees, and the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup no longer applied. I can honestly say, there is nothing like the smell of good coffee brewing, nothing. If you’re a hardcore Stephen King fan, you know what the other 2 finest smells in the world are. If you’re not, you’re going to have to do a little research.
Many years ago, circa 1987, my wife (then my girlfriend) were out with a group of our best friends at an Italian restaurant in Bay Ridge Brooklyn called “The Pasta House’. We had a pretty good dinner, some wine, some laughs, and then it came to dessert. A few of us ordered dessert, most ordered coffee, and then a casual conversation about coffee ensued. My best friend Scott started to say something about coffee, and was quickly intercepted by his wife. Scott was firmly scolded because he had only been drinking coffee for a short time, definitely less than a month, so how could he possibly be allowed to talk about coffee with us seasoned veterans? Still one of the funniest memories we share, because she was so serious that he was unqualified to even casually discuss coffee, but that’s the passion coffee brings out in people.
I can’t pinpoint exactly what year it was that I became a coffee aficionado (read SNOB), time gets fuzzy as you age, and so do the inside of your ears. I had tried many of the fancy brands by going into one of their establishments and ordering by the cup, which is bewildering in some of those stores. How is the “grande” not the largest size? Why is a “tall” not nearly the biggest? So you can see I’m talking about Starbucks, and I admittedly am in love with Starbucks coffee. Here’s the twist though. I don’t like the way they brew it. So I do it myself.
You can purchase Starbucks coffee in many different retail outlets. Big box stores sell it, like Target, and some of the membership clubs do too, like Sam’s, and maybe even Costco, though I’m not positive about that. Here’s the key though friends, you have to buy “whole bean” coffee. You just can’t purchase “ground” coffee, or you may as well go back to waking up with Folgers. You need to make some effort that you care about your coffee, and grind it fresh each morning you drink it. It is such a rewarding experience grinding your own coffee. We’re talking a good old fashioned drip coffee maker. Remember those? That brings me to this.
What is happening with the way we we make our coffee? If you’re alive and it’s 2017, you either have one of those Keurig “pod” coffee makers in your home or office, or maybe both. I can’t tell you how much I despise these machines. If you really enjoy a good burger, one that was seasoned properly using a good quality meat, you can eat a whopper, and it may satiate you, but mostly, you feel cheated and empty. Same thing here. You get a minute if that of coffee aroma, and because you’re using ground coffee in a pod, the flavor just ain’t there.
Do yourself a favor. I’m aware that we’re all different. My favorite coffee for flavor, and aroma, is Starbucks House Blend. I’ve tried many different variations of their coffee, as well as other brands too, and the only one I like almost as much is the Starbucks Breakfast Blend. Buy the whole bean, and hopefully you still have a proper drip coffee maker. My formula, or ratio of coffee to water is this . . . If you’re making 10 cups of coffee, 5 scoops of freshly ground whole bean coffee to 11 cups of water. 1 cup seems to always magically evaporate, and for me, that works perfectly. The aroma is just beautiful, it makes me very happy. If you like it stronger, either use more coffee or less water, and conversely, if it’s too strong, use more water or less coffee. Experiment. If you like coffee, it’s worth a shot. If you love coffee, it’s a must!
Don’t blame me if one day you look at your silly little “pod” coffee machine with disdain, and maybe even kick it off the counter. Only negative to this is you may really start caring about the quality of your coffee. I’m aware that these silly “pod” machines are available with a reusable pod that can be filled with coffee of your choice. It’s not the same folks. It’s like buying a grilled swordfish plate at the best French restaurant, boxing it up, putting it in the refrigerator for a couple of days, and then heating it up in the microwave. NOT the same!
I do understand that in today’s lifestyle, time is of a premium, and that’s why the quick little “pod” machine is everyone’s best friend, but if/when you have time, savor your coffee, you won’t regret it! Find your favorite coffee and make it happen. Let me know what it is too, I’d like to try it as well.