Tuesday, January 29, 2013

on being a coffee addict

With the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice having been yesterday, I should probably be posting about tea. I've posted about tea on here before, though that was at the beginning of this blog. I guess I'll have to make a new tea post! But today is about coffee.

I have lots of thoughts about coffee.
My main thought about coffee is that generally I like it all.
Basic filtered coffee.
French Press coffee (definitely a favorite)
Light roast.
Dark roast.
And everything in between.

If there's a way to make coffee, chances are I'll like it. (I'm not too keen on flavoured coffees, though.)
I even like chocolate-covered coffee beans!

The thing is...coffee isn't cheap. Nate and I were discussing coffee and prices yesterday (yes, that's how important coffee is to us!) and we both came to the conclusion that at this point we are better off buying better quality coffee (we had just been purchasing the containers of pre-ground Hills Brothers Coffee) and paying a bit more. We've been consuming less coffee already this year than we were last year. Part of this is probably because we're eating better! Whole foods FTW! Anyway. I prefer purchasing whole beans and grinding them myself; I have a sweet little grinder that works great. (That's also the best way to prepare coffee for the French Press because it needs to be a coarser grind.) It's a little bit more work, but honestly the coffee tastes so much better. So the consensus is that our future coffee purchases will be whole bean only. This kind of leaves out flavoured coffees, but those aren't really that great. More on that in a moment.

As far as whole bean coffee goes, I still do like Hills Brothers. Starbucks is good, too, but I've actually gotten to the point where I don't want to spend money there. Not that they really bother me or anything; the place is just too tempting. And I prefer independent coffee shops. There's just a cooler atmosphere. (Sorry for sounding hipster there; I never really liked being a mainstream consumer so yeah.) But I've been researching different kinds of coffee lately, because I'm a nerd like that. Based on what I've tried in the past and what I've been reading online, fair trade and organic are seriously the way to go. Not only for the reasons most people buy fair trade and organic, but because that coffee is inevitably amazing. I'm actually super interested in purchasing some coffee beans from Grounds for Change because it sounds like exceedingly good coffee. I'm sure that in the future I will be reviewing various roasts from various places.

Of course, I don't have a problem purchasing coffee at the grocery store. That's fine. I'm there a few times a week anyway; Nate called me a "European food shopper," which I take as a compliment. He meant it as one! Besides, shopping for small amounts of food at least a couple times in one week makes it easier to spend less money, at least for me. Anyway. I don't buy coffee at Wal-Mart anymore, though. Who knows how long it's been there...and I don't buy food at Wal-Mart to begin with, so why would I buy coffee? In fact, I avoid Wal-Mart for the most part.

So, flavoured coffees. I used to buy them with wild abandon. Well, not quite wild. And not quite with abandon. But I would occasionally snap up the packets that would make one pot. But what I quickly discovered was that unless there was peppermint in the coffee, I couldn't really taste the flavours. And sometimes all I could taste were the flavours; it seemed like the coffee was watered down. (I found out that this is because in order to flavour the coffee properly, it has to be barely roasted. Ugh.) And if I want flavours I can just add creamer or syrup (of which I will now be making my own). And then I stopped purchasing creamers because even that didn't taste right.

Yes, I am a coffee addict, but not because I need the caffeine. I just like the taste and experience of a delicious cup of coffee. Nate is also a coffee addict, but more so because of the caffeine. I have noticed that he doesn't need as much, though. We have almost completely stopped buying soda (mostly we use it for mixed drinks and that sparingly), and he doesn't complain of caffeine headaches as often. I sincerely hope this is because of my cooking and food choices!

Anyway, to wrap up a long and involved post, I want to challenge you if you are a coffee drinker. Try grinding some whole beans yourself. Maybe even try a French Press. And look into the world of fair trade and organic coffees. You just might find your new favorite roast.

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