A beginners guide to coffee drinking

   After spending the weekend in Lancaster, PA while vacationing with extended family, I was reminiscing about one of the activities: drinking coffee.

    We were talking about the best flavors of coffee, brewing techniques and the equipment we used at home. Humans, like any living creature, are ones of habit. Coffee is no exception. For some reason, I feel compelled to share my meager if not useless knowledge with the novice coffee drinker.

     First, the source of the coffee is very important. If you don’t brew your own coffee, you have to be selective where you purchase it. Almost every gas station on the planet has something that does involve coffee beans and a brewing process. However, that liquid should only be consumed under controlled conditions.  Those conditions would include dissolving your stomach, participating in a bet or when the Slurpee machine is broken. Truck Stop coffee tends to be good.  McDonald’s coffee is functional, but fast food restaurants in general are risky coffee stops. They are risky because those pots tend to get made by people who don’t drink coffee.  Dunkin Donuts offers some pretty good brewage, as was Starbucks. Having worked at Denny’s Restaurants, I can vouch for that stuff as being good too. A note to the handful of readers who made it this far: a good cup of coffee is still an accomplishment. You should simply stay clear of the bad stuff.

      Next, the stuff you add can make a difference. The first category is dairy. The most important thing to remember is not to use anything less than whole milk. Half-n-half creamer is the best. The sweetness of the cream rounds out the flavor of the coffee. The trick is to use a creamer that actually had something to do with a cow. Powders or imitation milk things are not only evil, they completely obscure the natural flavor of the coffee. Besides, flavoring your coffee with flavoring found only in the creamer could get you beaten in most coffee shops. The sugar category allows for much more lattitude with consumption. However, artificial sweetners do not capture the disaccharidic pleasure of sucrose. Aspartame/NutraSweet, with heat & age, can breakdown into formadehyde (the carcinogenic liquid once used to preserve dead animal specimens). I would also stick with regular sugar as we have a clearer view of what the side effects are.

       The container in which to consume coffee is also somewhat important. Ceramic or insulated mugs are very good, but you still need to be careful. If you have an annoying picture or quotation on the side, the beating rule could take effect. On the other hand, you have almost guaranteed that your mug won’t get taken where you work. Styrofoam cups are good for travel. Unfortunately, they still tend to be dangerous. They may not feature stupid pictures or slogans, but some people still manage to dump them on their laps while driving. A good rule of thumb is to not put anything on your lap while driving. Just ask Hugh Grant.

      Finally, caffeine has been proven to not be too bad. Studies show that your alertness increases 15 minutes after consumption…and energy levels up to 4 to 5 hours. It also shows temporary boosts in memory. Coffee also has some anti-oxidant capabilities. Other positive things coffee can do for you is to give you the ability to put dark rings on notebooks, newspapers and important reports that you are expected to hand in to your boss. It gives you something to talk about with coworker with, as well as a solid reason to use the bathroom excessively. It has remarkable power to stain your teeth and give you really bad breath. It’s also really good with pie.


7 responses to “A beginners guide to coffee drinking

  1. Coffee puts the system under the strain of metabolizing a deadly acid-forming drug, depositing its insoluble cellulose, which cements the wall of the liver, causing this vital organ to swell to twice its proper size. In addition, coffee is heavily sprayed. (Ninety-two pesticides are applied to its leaves.) Diuretic properties of caffeine cause potassium and other minerals to be flushed from the body.

    Get the real scoop on coffee at http://www.CaffeineAwareness.org
    And if you drink decaf you wont want to miss this special FREE report on the Dangers of Decaf available at http://www.soyfee.com

  2. I’m all about Gevalia made with love my me, but in desperate times have gagged down the gas station brew.
    I’m a fat free half & half with a shot of hazelnut syrup.

  3. Suzanne,
    I was contemplating what you said while I was consuming my coffee this morning. It made me really think about the daily threats I face.
    I was going to have fresh fruit this morning, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to risk sickness and birth defects by the stuff that has pesticides on it or risk sickness and death caused by the lack of it. I figured since I grew up in the midwest where pesticides washed off the fields into the groundwater AND consumed a great deal of fresh fish from Lake Erie which is teeming with heavy metals like Mercury; the fruit probably wouldn’t hurt anything. I am really hoping the fiber and anti-oxidants outweighed the bad stuff.
    I also tried to take comfort in the fact that even with several Federal agencies designed to protect the consumer, I can still put my family’s life on the line everyday with a substantial list of poisons, toxins and metals that have been floating around our planet for decades. I make it a point to watch my calorie intake as well as cholesterol. My wife and I are also trying to pass on our fairly healthy eating habits to our 3 children. Unfortunately, corners have to be cut somewhere. I am willing to take one on the caffeinated chin on this one.

    I love coffee. People have been loving coffee for millenia. That’s all there is to it.

  4. “All Things in Moderation”.

    Wise words.

    Coffee is complex stuff, and I wouldn’t wish Gevalia, Starbucks, McDonald’s, or Denny’s coffee on my enemies.

    “Fresh coffee”. What is it really? Fresh being, the water just made contact with coffee grounds and some of the coffee was dissolved into the water?

    Is it coffee that is ordered online in a tin labeled “illy”, and then ground just before brewing?

    Is it coffee that was roasted within the past six months and then ground just before brewing?

    Answer: D – none of the above.

    Roasted coffee will stale in about two weeks. Ground coffee will stale in literally minutes. (a sealed container can only do so much to prevent chemistry from taking its course).

    Get a new perspective of what’s considered a “Fresh Cup”, or “Fresh Pot” of coffee.

    And if you want to explore the world of Specialty Coffee, here is a guide to help you along your journey.


    (no, it’s not spam.. it’s a legitimate coffee terminology guide)


  5. As a professional chef I use arabica beans grown on the big island of Hawaii, french roast preferably( dark roast) finely ground almost to an espresso consistancy brewed in a simple drip pot.
    Anything other additives is sacrilige.
    Its like putting coke in a fine brandy

  6. Anything other additives ?
    I need to cut back.

  7. Has anybody forgoten Tasters Choice instant, or Folgers flavor crystals ? Rocket man down the hall to the shitter.

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