Coffee, Please

Somehow, somewhere MGM (6) obtained an old-school whistle and enthusiastically used it to wake up the entire household yesterday morning, shortly after the crack of dawn.


As you can imagine, I was less than thrilled by this event and when returning to sleep was deemed impossible, I turned to caffeine.

I started drinking coffee during my sophomore year in college, first just to stay up late to study for exams. I would mix two small cartons of skim milk with one cup of dorm cafeteria coffee and two sugars.

By senior year, I was where I am now: brewed coffee with a splash of skim.

I’ve used different coffee makers over the past two decades, and unfortunately I can’t say I’ve ever discovered the right formula for the perfect home cup.

Most days I make a mug in my Keurig Vue, drink less than half while I get ready for work, and then mid-morning – if I can can make a five minute dash – I’ll get my travel mug filled at the coffee place across the street, which is much, much better.

Nevertheless, the search for the perfect home cup continues. Here are some tips for making your own coffee:

  • Understand you beans. Dark roast beans actually have less caffeine than lighter roasts, since some caffeine is lost during the roasting process. When you buy a bag of dark roast beans, they are generally smaller than light roast beans, and so it takes more dark beans to make up the same volume. If you’re measuring out ground coffee by a tablespoon or other measure, you’ll end up with less caffeine cup for cup. If you just dump beans into a grinder, though, you’ll end up using more dark beans than you would light ones (since they’re smaller) and could end up with a more potent brew. Confusing? Read a full explanation here.
  • Get the freshest roast possible. Look for a date on the package, and ideally, get beans that are less than 2 weeks old. 
  • Invest in a grinder, preferably a burr grinder, and grind beans right before brewing.
  • Use hot water.
  • Lightly pre-rinse paper filters (if you use them) to get rid off any taste they may impart.
  • Enjoy immediately. Coffee tastes best within 20 minutes after it’s brewed. If I have extra coffee, many times I’ll put the carafe in the fridge and use it later in the day for iced coffee.

P.S. MGM’s whistle? As soon as I find its hiding spot, it’s going straight into the trash.  


2 thoughts on “Coffee, Please

  1. you’ll hate me for saying this, but I love cheap strong coffee. a gas station chain here called Royal Farms has great coffee and the cafeteria at JH Hospital brews maxwell house and it is glorious….. when I am at home, i just put some grounds in a mug and pour boiling water over it and i’m done. I realize of course this makes me white trash, but I don’t care. 🙂

  2. Enjoy your Sanka! Believe me, my standards aren’t too lofty. If it’s the middle of the night, I’ll drink whatever sludge is left in the breakroom pot without question.

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