Why good coffee?

I started this blog as a public service for people who already know good coffee and happen to be moving to or passing through Davis or Sacramento. As it turns out, most of my visitors are actually people in search of good coffee, but don’t necessarily know what it is.

It’s hard for anyone to explain why anyone should care about good coffee. Most of the world, but Americans especially, are used to bad tasting coffee. People usually drink it out of utility, the caffeine helps you stay alert. Caffeine is also addictive, so some drink it out of habit. I rarely drink coffee for utility and I do not have a physiological or psychological reaction when I stop drinking caffeine for a while, so I’m pretty sure I’m not addicted either. I drink coffee because it’s delicious.

Very few people drink coffee for the taste; most people use an excess of milk and sugar to mask the terrible bitter taste of bad coffee. Good coffee can (and should) be drank without anything to mask the naturally complex flavors. People are often surprised that coffee isn’t supposed to taste exceedingly sour, bitter, charcoal-y, or rancid. Instead, you start to taste citrus, chocolate, nuts, berries, and earthy flavors. You notice the pleasant mouthfeel and aftertaste that is completely different than the common “coffee breath” taste. If that sounds good to you, you should try good coffee.

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Unfortunately, if you’ve seen the cafe ratings, you know that Davis does not have an establishment where you can walk in and order a good cup of coffee to experience for yourself. I’m starting to repeat myself, but the best way to get good coffee is to visit Chocolate Fish over the weekend and just enjoy a cup of drip coffee. Talk to the baristas, they are all very friendly and more than happy to talk to you about coffee and how to taste it.

Once you’ve had good coffee for a while, you will never be able to drink bad coffee again. If you live in Davis, that will quickly become a problem. In my next post, I’ll explain the basics of home brewing.

I’ll leave you with this great podcast interview with Brian Franklin, owner of AA Cafe and roaster. In it, he explains why you should care about good coffee. Interview with Brian Franklin

2 Comments

  1. Posted May 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I kind of get what you’re going at, but I’ve always disagreed with the notion that “once you’ve had good coffee for a while, you will never be able to drink bad coffee again”.

    Those people I’ve always considered to be fair-weather coffee fans. What they like is a small, narrow subset of coffee possibilities. We always love the good, better stuff. And if we have the opportunity, we’d be mad not to upgrade.

    But to turn up our noses and avoid it altogether past a certain point? Then it’s not about liking coffee anymore… only a certain kind of coffee prepared in a certain specific way. I may prefer a DRC Burgundy at $2k a bottle. But if someone offers me some two-buck Chuck at a dinner, I’m suddenly not going to say I hate that stuff.

  2. coffeesnobdavis
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Hey Greg, I’m familiar with your site :) I used it years ago when I was new to the city. Sorry for the late reply, WordPress thought your comment was spam.

    I love coffee, I don’t love bad coffee. If you consider that “fair-weather”, then I guess I am. I’ve never changed my position on good coffee though, so I don’t think “fair-weather” is a good description. I enjoy coffee prepared in almost every way, so at least I’m not a fair-weather coffee preparation fan.

    But I’m not sure you can compare two buck chuck to crappy coffee. Two buck chuck has fooled wine experts. It’s cheap and simple wine, but it’s drinkable. That is not the case with your “average” coffee. By “average”, I mean most coffee that actually tastes bad, offensive, and rancid to me.

    If I am a guest, that changes things completely. If I’m a guest and someone offers me average coffee, I certainly don’t stick my nose up; of course I drink it, I’m a guest.