How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Let’s see.  It’s been a while.  Actually, it’s been like….never.  I’m not sure I’ve ever made coffee.  Ok, I have mixed 1 teaspoon of Sanka into a cup with hot water for my parents after dinner in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but that might be it.   However, I have seen many people make coffee so I think I got this.   It may not be “perfect”  but it’ll be totally adequate.  (I know the title says “perfect” but this is free, so  “perfect”   is allowed to take on a touch of mediocrity.)

I digress.  Let’s start with beans.  You can easily buy these at a store.  Some taste better than others.  Look around and see what other people are buying and whatever you see the most of, buy. Your chances of having it be better that the one you blindly choose because it’s on sale are much higher. From what I’ve read, it’s important to make sure the beans are “Fair Trade” meaning  the folks in Chile  who planted, cared for and harvested them beans were paid what they goddamned deserved  So, you got your beans.  Oh, and I think they should be roasted but not overly so.  That way they are more flavorful.  (For more info on this, please google “How roasted should my coffee beans be” – this essay is more about making the cup of coffee, not  on the intricacies of roasting, however, I  have seen some research on the benefits of green coffee beans.  Did you know coffee beans are originally green and look a little like long ass split peas?  Who knew?)

Next you take those beans, which are perfectly roasted because you looked that shit up and now know about roasting coffee beans, and throw them into a grinder.  A blender can also work but those blades need to be sharp otherwise you will be stuck with water trying to pass through a big shell and that doesn’t work.  Believe me.  I did actually try this once when I attempted to make brownies with coffee beans and there were big crunchy ass bits in the brownie which made me look like a total amateur.  I know we are talking about coffee here, and you aren’t planning on eating the beans, but I just thought I’d tell you because the grinding principle still applies.  So don’t cheap out on the grinder. 

You should now have some nice ground up coffee beans. Don’t miss an opportunity to inhale at some point because, holy good mother of god, that stuff smells friggin' amazing.  You throw that stuff into a filter (and if you don’t already know, you  can buy a reusable filter so 100’s of trees don’t get chopped down to support America’s coffee habit. http://www.amazon.com/b?node=14162591)  and place that eco-filter into a coffee pot of sorts. 

Boil up some water, which I imagine doesn’t take much explanation and pour that fluid of life over the ground up coffee beans slowly and delicately and intentionally.  I’m not totally sure why, but it seems like when you do things intentionally and slowly, they almost always turn out better, so slow down and pay attention for crying out loud as it may make your java even more awesome.  Depending  on how strong you like your liquid adrenaline, you can keep the coffee in the water a little longer.  I wouldn’t do it for too long because it might get somewhat bitter and bitter tastes often make us feel bitter and no one wants to be around a bitter person.

Ok- now that you have brewed the coffee, you can add the “accoutrements”.  This includes things like milk (Don’t fail to go for organic milk so you don’t get a bunch of nasty extra shit in your beverage like growth hormones and pesticides and antibiotics).  If dairy milk makes your bowels gurgle,  you can also try adding “alternative milks” like almond, hemp, coconut or the “creamer” versions of those milks which some people have told me are fantastic and others have made scowling faces when they described their experience.  You be the judge.  I’m not here to tell you what to do, just offer options.  But don’t be scowling until you have tried something, my friend.   Some people also heat the milks and then throw in a blender or a “frother” and make pretty pictures on top of their mug of Joe.  

You may also want a bit of sweetness in your coffee.  My thoughts: less is more.  1 teaspoon = 5 grams of sugar.  You don’t need more than 1 teaspoon of sugar, seriously.  That white stuff will catch up with you.  Copious amounts of sugar plus caffeine on an empty stomach on a regular basis will fuck your shit up. You can also try maple syrup or honey for a bit of a different enhancement.  No scowling allowed please, just try it for God’ sake and then start your scowling!  Or go hard core and really taste the crap out your coffee with NO extra accoutrements.  This is called drinking coffee “black”, which sounds bold and superhero like.  

  Adding a touch of cinnamon also seems interesting, but I just happen to like cinnamon and I don’t drink coffee.

Enjoy your brew. 


  1. LOL! Mary, very funny! Sooooo close, but the true coffee purists out there will have something to say about your approach! Very cute essay. Enjoyed meeting you in Melanie's essay writing class.



    1. Thanks for reading, Kathleen! I totally appreciate it. Great to meet you too. Had a ball in Melanie's class!