Twenty Secrets to Great Coffee

December 2015

1. Most coffee sold in the USA and many other countries is bad.

2. Virtually all ground coffee sold pre-packaged in a can, bottle, foil wrapper etc. is bad.

3. Freshness is essential, so good coffee that sits unsold in a specialty store for months is bad.

4. Starbucks isn't all that bad compared to most coffee in the USA.

5. Until Starbucks started invading the country, most USA residents never had any half way decent coffee. This is especially true for people who live far from major cities or the coasts.

6. Starbucks isn't all that good when compared to Peetís, Philz and many other smaller, high quality roasters.

7. You can not make coffee too strong. The stronger the better. If coffee is made with excess beans the grounds just sink to the bottom of the cup.

8. Weak coffee is more bitter than strong coffee because the bitter ingredients are over extracted from the beans when too much water is used.

9. Light roasted coffees are usually more bitter than dark roasts. (My opinion, this is subjective.)

10. In general, people who drink their coffee black prefer lighter roasts, people who use cream prefer darker roasts.

11. Fake "creamers" are an abomination. It is better to drink your coffee black than put that crap in your coffee, even if the coffee sucks.

12. Real cream or half and half is much tastier in coffee than milk, esp. low fat milks. Its only a few spoonfuls, so it won't make you fat, put some real cream in there, itís worth it.

13. Flavored coffee is an abomination. Usually only the worst coffee is used to make flavored coffee.

14. Most coffee making appliances+ burn the coffee after it is brewed. It is better to put your coffee in a thermos to keep it warm.

15. Most restaurant coffee is burned except for immediately after a fresh pot is made.

16. Stale, weak and burned coffee is more likely to give you a headache or other undesirable side effects than strong, good coffee. (at reasonable dosage levels)

17. If your cup of coffee gets cold, it is a decent option to put an ice cube in it and consider it ďiced coffee.Ē Iced Coffee is best with half and half or cream.

18. You can reheat coffee in a microwave without ruining it. The trick is to cook it just long enough to get it sufficiently warm and no longer. Be sure to avoid letting it boil.

19. If you can't find a good cup of coffee, get a shot of espresso, itís harder to ruin.

20. If you haven't had a nice strong cup of coffee made from recently roasted fresh high quality beans you can't disagree with me knowledgeably. If you can, go to Peetís or Philz (or Starbucks if you canít access any place better) and order a cup and put some half in half in it before you try to argue with this twenty commandments of coffee.

Brother Bob's Opinion

These are the comments sent by my brother Bob, who is even more of a coffee enthusiast than I am:

ď98% percent agree. A few additions:

3. People sometimes leave unused coffee in the grinder from day to day. Would you put fresh beef in the meat grinder without cleaning out yesterday's leftovers?

4. Starbucks reserve coffees brewed by the Clover method are actually very good. If you ask for dark roast at a Starbucks and they're not brewing it, they'll offer a pour-over which is better.

7. Too strong is safer than too weak but you can go too far.

8. Light vs. dark. It's the nature of addiction that you become addicted to your drug served exactly the way you are imprinted on it. Smokers stick with one brand. James Bond insisted on shaken, never stirred.

I prefer dark roast and I like grounds-free brewing methods over methods such as French press or espresso, which are not any more flavorfulĒ

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