On the Lighter Side

Coffee ABC’s

Disclaimer: Okay, I admit it — this piece is old and has made the rounds among friends, family, and fellow coffee lovers quite a few times since it was first written. But still, I think it belongs here. If I were to rewrite this now, I would probably change a few things (like Z, for instance!), but I know this is a classic, so I’ve added edits instead of redoing the original. Enjoy…

A is for Arabica, finely roasted.

B is for Bunn–the best and fastest coffeemaker I know of. (2017 edit: My current coffee maker is a Bonavita 1900TS, and I love it. I think it’s better than Bunn, since Bunns sometimes push the water through the grounds too hastily to extract the full flavor. The Bonavita is simple, but it brews a darn good cup of coffee. For $189, I expect nothing less. (Aren’t wedding registries the best?) (2019 edit: Well, the Bonavita bit the dust a mere year after writing this, so I’m eating my words, but at least I’m having them with coffee. Hamilton Beach coffee, to be precise. It was Consumer Report‘s highest rated “budget” option for last year. After a recent, pricey out of state move, oh brother, how I needed it. How’s it working? Well, no complaints thus far.)

C is for caffeine–if it doesn’t have caffeine, it’s not coffee as far as I’m concerned. (Still true.)

D is for Dunkin’ Donuts!! (2019 edit: If you can find a Dunkin’ Donuts that will serve you a decent cup of coffee anymore.)

E is for espresso MMMM (and Eight O’ Clock, which is going to be your best bet when searching for decently priced, good quality coffee you can find at pretty much any grocery store.)

F is for full-bodied flavor

G is for Gevalia, which in my opinion is not half bad.

H is for half-and-half: a coffee essential. (I have tried to quit. I just can’t.)

I is for instant. Don’t ever be confused; it’s not coffee!

J is for nicknames of coffee, like “java” and “joe.”

K is for Kona coffee. (The gold standard. Accept no substitutes, like “Kona blend” or “Kona style.”)

L is for large. Don’t get your coffee in any other size. (Unless, of course, you’re ordering at Dunkin’ Donuts; then it behooves you to order a small. The reason for this is that their small size cups are made of paper, whereas the mediums and larges are made of styrofoam. I can’t be the only one who doesn’t care for petroleum product aftertaste.)

M is for morning coffee. Better to leave for work in your pajamas than without the morning coffee!

N is for No Sugar, it kind of ruins the flavor.

O is for the best time to have coffee–often.

P is for pie. Never have it without coffee.

Q is for quakers: unripe coffee beans

R is for robusta, which allegedly has half the quality but twice the caffeine of arabica beans

S is for Starbucks and I recommend it. (I’m going to have to retract this one, people. Starbucks coffee tastes like bile. I can still recommend them for a vanilla frappuccino, but that’s about it.)

T is for tar. You could fill potholes with the strength of coffee some people make. (However, weak coffee is a far more common occurrence. This is unfortunate, considering that one can add water to strong coffee, but there’s nothing you can do for a brew that’s too weak.)

U is for UGQ, or Usually Good Quality. I heard somewhere that this is a widely-used coffee term, but who knows? They might have been fooling me. (I think they probably were.)

V is for variety. I have a lot of old favorites myself, but it is always good to try new coffees and see how you like them.

W is for whole-bean, maximum flavor.

X is for xanthic–a color your coffee should not be. (I couldn’t think of anything else for this one!) (And I still can’t!)

Y is for Yemen Mocha, which I’ve never had but sounds interesting–and is incidentally the only thing I could come up with for y.

Zzzz’s are what you will most likely not catch after having coffee, so the rumor goes. (And it is only a rumor!)

[Originally published July 2003]

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