Coffee. Mmmmm. There’s nothing like it. We are almost guaranteed a great day if we wake to the smell of a fresh-brewed pot. Just the smell of coffee percolating can draw us to the kitchen, even if you don’t like coffee.
It was with these thoughts that a taste test of coffees was performed. The idea behind the test was that there is one thing on which most people would agree – good coffee is good and bad coffee is bad. That was wrong. BOY, was that wrong. While doing the testing, “good” coffee was probably one of the most subjective things in the world and no two people can agree on exactly what goes into making coffee “good.” Even among “bad” coffees, there were so many opinions, there was no consensus.
Here are the nationally-available coffees tested: Starbuck’s whole bean, Eight O’Clock whole bean, Folgers, Maxwell House, and Wal-Mart’s store brand. The same roast was used from each brand – the darkest available or French roast; in an initial survey, most said they preferred darker, richer coffee. Flavored coffee was not tested, because among “true” coffee experts, flavored coffee doesn’t pry the eyelids open first thing in the morning. “Fresh brewed” coffee from 7-11 convenience stores was also added to the mix. Let the games begin.
To say there was no agreement was an understatement. Twelve people tasted the coffee samples. Each person tasted all the coffees in the same combination, 3 at a time. The test consisted of a combination of the “good” coffees with one of the preconceived “bad” coffees. Winners and losers of each round were tracked and then everyone was brought back for a final test of the top three and bottom one.
The results? No winner. The losers? The convenience store coffee – that, at least, was certain. Even the Wal-Mart brand coffee won over 7-11, but even that had proponents.
What’s the bottom line? Your coffee is the best coffee in the world for you. If you love freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee, that’s terrific. If you love strong cheap coffee, go for it. The results of the testing, though, all point to one thing – it’s time to stop discriminating against those on either end of the spectrum and let the controversy die. Embrace those whose opinions differ from yours in what constitutes “good” coffee. Don’t chastise your friends who love store brand coffee, saying they’re a lower form of life. Don’t look down upon those who “waste” money on more expensive coffee.
It’s definitely time for coffee equality, equal rights for all coffee lovers.