Back when I first started working in an office I was a hard core tea drinker. Tea and nothing but tea. I used to mock the coffee drinkers (while waiting for the water to boil) with an outsiders description of their weird habits.
“Imagine what the first guy who made coffee was thinking: I’m going to pull these berries off this bush here and leave them laying in the sun. Then I’m going to burn them in the fire. Then I’m going to grind them up and run hot water through the grounds. After that, I’ll throw the grounds away and drink the water. Does any of this make sense?”Someone finally responded, “about as much sense as running water through leaves and drinking it.” Got me to thinking. Most offices are coffee-centric; coffee is kept hot and ready to drink pretty much all day long. If you want to drink anything else, you pretty much have to “do it yourself”. Eventually (after about 10 years) I got tired of ‘doing it myself’ and started drinking coffee.
One of the things that struck me, right off, is that most people’s coffee is actually more like battery acid. Pre-ground coffee is the worst. If it’s been ground for more than a few hours, the flavor of the coffee that you will get has already changed. If it’s been ground, canned and shipped, there is no way to get a cup of coffee that isn’t bitter. Just can’t happen. You have to start with whole beans, there is no other way. I don’t know how many times I’ve wandered into a convenience store and marveled at how many brave people there must be out there, to actually drink anything that looks and smells like that. Which brings me to…
Secondly, the equipment has to be clean. No one in any office that I’ve worked in for the last 20 years has ever cleaned the coffee maker. This leads to the coffee being even more bitter than it would have been originally. Every few days at least, swirl a little water around in the carafe (which has to be glass, by the way) and rinse out the basket. Or perhaps even throw caution to the wind and actually wash them with soap and water. Your stomach will thank you for it.
Get an electric grinder. Experiment with different grinds to see what you like (I grind the coffee fine, myself) Only grind the coffee when you are ready to make it. Make sure the coffee maker is clean. And get some decent coffee beans to start with. I recommend Capulin. Hands down the finest cup of coffee I’ve ever had. There’s a whole host of reasons why you might want to buy your coffee there, other than the fact that it’s the best. But that’s a good enough reason for me.
Why is Capulin ‘the best’? Because I’ve never had a bitter cup of coffee from Capulin beans. Even when I’ve had to re-heat a cup. I take my coffee black (tea the same way) so I’m conscious of what the flavor is. There is a natural (what is called in wine tasting circles) ‘fruity’ or ‘earthy’ flavor to the coffee; a flavor that is missing from coffee available at the local markets. I’ve tried the ever-present Starbucks, mail ordered Gevalia, and run through all the commercially available brands from the local markets over the years. Only Gevalia comes close in flavor. Visit the site and read up on Capulin. Tell Daniel I sent you.
Now sit back and relax for a few minutes. Life is stressful enough without taking the time to enjoy a good cup of coffee.
Now that I’m no longer in a coffee-centric office 12-plus hours a day, I’m back to drinking tea. I drank coffee at home for a few years, but I began to notice an inability to sleep when I drank coffee at all during the day. Now I either have one cup in the morning as I’m driving the boy to school, or I get no coffee at all. Which means I’ve had to say goodbye to good coffee I prepare myself (can’t afford that temptation, sorry Capulin!) If I have time, the Wafflehouse has hands down the best coffee on the face of the planet. If I don’t I drink the battery acid you can get through any drive through window in the US.
I’m a purist when it comes to tea, too (no one is surprised, I’m sure) Russian tea you drink hot with jelly (another time when reading SF paid off. Thank you Niven & Pournelle for penning Mote) English tea, hot with milk or lemon and honey. Green tea is good too, just hand it to me straight. Iced tea is definitely not Southern Style in this household. No sugar added, not even during the boiling stage. Almost an aggravation beyond bearing to have to insist on UNSWEETENED tea in order to get my tea unadulterated. But that is life in the South of the US.