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Caffeination Theory (for beginners)

9 February 2012

One of the many replacements for my trusty Babylon 5 mug. It's... it's just not the same.

I’ve, of course, mentioned my love for coffee. And by love for coffee, I really mean “complete dependence on coffee to live, breathe, and do any sort of work.” I’m not picky about my coffee… well, not overly picky. The office I work in has some truly horrible stuff that tastes like it’s been stewing in burnt green pepper skins, no matter how fresh you make it. But mostly, I’ll drink anything.

Still, there’s a process to making a proper cup of coffee. If you make it yourself, it’s easy enough to control, but what about if you’re out and about? What’s the best writer’s coffee you can buy on the open market?

I have my preferences, of course. When I lived in Tampa, FL, I found that the Cubans made a hell of a coffee. Not the cafe con leche, but just the little, nuclear-strength black coffee they made was outstanding. Also, Cafe du Monde in New Orleans makes a hell of a cup. Again, not the cafe au lait — just the black coffee. I’m not one to put much in my coffee, obviously — just a teaspoon or two of sugar, and I’m good to go.

Of course, when working as a writer, you can’t drink nothing but coffee. You need to space it out for maximum efficacy. And don’t do what I do sometimes (space it out with energy drinks), or you’ll end up an insane person who writes 300 or more words about coffee. I find that the good ol’ cheap case of water works well — for every mega-cup of coffee, down one 16.9 ounce bottle of water. Sure, you’re running to the bathroom all the time… but you’re properly caffeinated and hydrated, and ready to go out and create.

So what about you, folks? What’s the best coffee out there to buy by the cup? What about the stuff you make at home? What’s your favorite brand there?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 February 2012 1157

    The coffee that my wife and I have been making at home is – http://www.mayorgacoffee.com/ (We get it at of all places, Costco).

    Its a great coffee not to acidic (but just bitter enough for her).

    • 9 February 2012 2124

      Oooh. Mayorga has a Cafe Cubano. I’m tempted… have you tried that one at all yet?

  2. 9 February 2012 1201

    I stock up on coffee that’s on sale (usually thru Amazon), and then I cut it about 1/2 & 1/2 with Folgers or Maxwell House (stocked up on whenever it’s on sale locally)

    Right now I’ve got 3 34.5 oz tubs of Maxwell House Master Blend, 2 12 oz. bags left of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf French Vanilla Arabica, and my newest addition, 11 8.8 oz bags of LavAzza Crema E Gusto that’s supposed to be for Espresso machines but can be made in a drip coffee maker.

    Sometimes the expensive coffee on sale winds up being slightly cheaper per oz. than the regular name brand coffee I cut it with!

    • 9 February 2012 2125

      I’ve made my own blends at home before (mainly out of the necessity of having random odds and ends left over from two or three different coffees), and I’ve gotten mixed results — but yours is an interesting idea. Do you find one “cheap” coffee works better than another as a base?

      • 10 February 2012 1240

        Life is too short to drink shit coffee, so I try to stick with the national brands (like the aforementioned Folgers and Maxwell House). But I adulterate my coffee with sugar and creamer pretty heavily, so it tastes good.

        The good coffee is a bit strong, and I feel it would ruin me for the watered down restaurant coffee I order on occasion, so I see it as a good way to get the caffeine, and a good flavor to it that’s not just “coffee.”

  3. 9 February 2012 1214

    Yes, our work coffee is the worst coffee I’ve ever tasted. I’m one of those rare writers who could never drink a cup of coffee again and be fine. Water is good. But…I LIKE coffee, so I have some each day.

    It used to not be this way, as you know. I get up before my wife on work days, so if I made coffee, it would be cold when she woke up. But once you recommended a Keurig system, I’ve been drinking coffee again (Green Mountain Espresso Blend). I usually have a cup in the morning and one after lunch. Then it’s water and tea the rest of the day.

    • 9 February 2012 2127

      Oh, the Dark Magic. Such is the stuff of legend.

      Seriously, I think they have to TRY to make the work coffee as bad as it is. That can’t occur in nature.

      As far as Keurig goes, I think the one I drink most often is the Emeril’s one. Granted, the Dark Magic is great, but I really like that one in whole bean form, where I can consume it by the pot rather than the cup. Yeah, I have a problem.

      • 10 February 2012 1244

        Saw somewhere that those Keurig cups work out to something like $51 a pound for coffee. Really? You buy $150 machine to blow your money on mediocre coffee (for the price). This is why if you want to go cup by cup, you should get a reusable filter so you can actually drink real coffee and not cram your money down the garbage disposal. $51 a pound would buy you a hell of a lot of expensive (and better than any K-cup) coffee at a store.

  4. 10 February 2012 0324

    Sorry, no coffee for me. Never developed a taste for it. When I’m writing, though, I do drink gallons of iced tea (unsweetened, of course). This necessitates writing in the mornings.

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