Starbucks v. Mr. Cynical - A Coffee Battle Royal

A man can dream, can’t he?

I dared to dream this evening. A small dream, minor-league at best. I wanted to arrange the Perfect Pot Of Coffee for Miss Creant to awake to in the morning.

When I moved to Chicago from Denver recently, to live with her in a pre-nuptial state of sin, I made it a point to bring with me my brand-new Black & Decker Versabrew Plus 12 Cup Programmable Coffeemaker with me. This, I did to replace her perfectly serviceable, yet insufficient by my standards, Mr. Coffee 4 Cup Coffeemaker.

See the puny 4 cup carafe! How small! And it’s not programmable, either! How could a man allow her to live in such squalor?

Her coffee maker was still being used as of this morning. Not any longer, I vowed to myself. I would grace her with the Coffee that would change her life! She would exalt me in the highest, realizing that I was only foisting my coffee maker on her because I WANTED THE BEST FOR HER.

I recalled buying a package of Starbuck’s coffee from the store the other day. Sure enough, it sat sealed in the freezer. Attempting to make sure that I added just the right amount of grounds to the filter basket, I sat down to read the package instructions.

We’re off to a good start. The basics. They’re good to work with. They’re nice and basic, for one.

We’re in trouble already, Kemosabe. Maybe it’s not exactly science, but by god, there’s going to be some standards of measure used around my goddamn kitchen.

My first problem : I do not know how many fluid ounces are in a cup. A quick question thrown out in chat nets me the answer: 8 fluid ounces in a cup.

Problem the second: I suck at math. I take the 8 ounces per cup, and multiply it by 12. That’s 96 ounces of water. I write this down on a piece of scratch paper, because I’ll lose track of it, and suddenly, I’d be singing about 96 luft balloons or something, instead of making coffee.

96 divided by 6 equals 16. In this 12 cup coffee carafe, there will eventually be 16 6 ounce servings of coffee. There’s too many numbers already. I feel like Rlphie in the cartoon where the math problems on the chalkboard come to life and start attacking him.

If there’s supposed to be 2 tablespoons of grounds per 6 ounces of fresh, pure water, we’re talking 32 tablespoons of grounds.

Not being one to like to stand around and count, I take the intellectually higher road, and convert tablespoons into cups. TWO CUPS of grounds. The package is asking for TWO CUPS OF GROUNDS to be placed in the filter basket assembly.

I’ve never been good with spatial awareness. Ask me to pack a trailer, and it’ll be filled half-high, with boxes shoved in wherever they’ll fit. I just can’t picture volume. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I always had locker-room shyness, but that is a different story for a different day.

In spite of my shortcomings, I suspect that making two cups of grounds fit into the filter basket assembly might be a bit on the difficult side.

Later, I was to find out that it was also on the “impossible” and “messy” sides as well.

After cleaning up the mess I made, I put 1/2 cup of grounds in the filter basket. If it’s not strong enough, she can make her own damn coffee. I don’t even drink the stuff.

Stupid coffee.

What on earth would she want 12, or even 16, cups of coffee for in the first place?

Never mind. File under “Things that only happen when trying to do something nice for the SO”, also known as “But I was trying to be good!”

Starbucks? Why there’s the problem right there! Throw that over-priced pretentious crap in the garbage and hasten to your nearest Dunkin’ Donuts – yes, Dunkin’ Donuts – for a pound of beans that make the finest coffee on the face of this, or any other planet.

So…did she like it at least???

Problem #1: Your 12-cup java junkie special is set up to provide 12 6-oz cups of mud, not 12 8-oz cups. So all you would need is 24 tablespoons for a full pot. The other thing to do is find yourself a good coffee measure, available at most coffee specialty stores. Then it’s one measure for every 2 pseudo-cups you want to make, a full pot = 6 measures.

Problem #2: For a perfect cup of joe, you can’t use any simple machine. You must invest in a French press, grow, roast, and grind your own beans, distill your own water, use free-range filters, and have a calibrated thermometer available to ensure proper brewing temperature.

As to who would want 12 or 16 cups of coffee? Me, on a typical morning, that’s who. Bwa-ha-ha.

D² coffee is fine, as is Starbucks. I myself like Lion Coffee, staright from Hawaii.

Personally, I like Trader Joe’s French Roast coffee. I put two scoops into my French press, which will fill my 14oz. cup twice. I wet the grouds and let them swell while the water is boiling. I’ll have to try it in my Gemco not-automatic drip maker. (i.e., you pour boiling water into the basket yourself. No electricity.)

I also like to make espresso with T.J.'s French Roast on my stove-top espresso pot. (Which is a must for camping!)

For anyone questioning the value of a large coffee maker, I recently found another one when I came into the office Monday morning to find exactly one big mugful of hot joe in the 12-cup pot I share with another guy. It was only later that I learned that he had made a pot the prveious friday, and after having one cup had forgotten to turn off the machine.

Mmmm. that Jewel brand coffee gets downright chewy after sitting on a warmer for 70 hours or so! (But that didn’t keep me from drinking it!)

Another French Presser here.
And I buy the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, too. And sometimes Starbucks. Sometimes I even buy that Eight O’Clock brand from the grocery store. I like a dark roast.

It’s the French Press, though, that makes it sooooo good.
It’s so far above and beyond drip coffee, you can’t even compare the two.

What’s that coffee with the commercial where the guy goes all the way home just to make that special brand of coffee? Anyone ever try it?

70 hour coffee? bleeeeargh! bleea bleea bleea bleeeeargh!

I come from England. I don’t understand fluid ounces. I think I need to go and do some measuring with a jug to understand what sort of cups you mean.

Thinking about it for a second, I remember that my Italian stove top espresso maker is a 6 cup version, and that means 6 tiny wee pixie size Italian espresso cups. I just know how much water to put in to fill a North European espresso cup, or to 2/3 fill a big mug.

Mr. Cynical,

I’m not a coffee drinker, so I have no advice, admonitions, scolding, etc.

I just wanted to compliment you on your post. Very entertaining. I giggled a lot.

–scout (a fellow “Live-r in Sin”)

well, as I sit here enjoying my lovingly made cup of coffee, I almost hate to remind my beloved Mr. C what I do to my coffee. I drown it in 4 (count 'em, 4) packs of equal and a ton of fat free 1/2 & 1/2. I’m not even sure it counts as coffee anymore by the time I’m done with it.

(and for the record, I broke into the Starbucks yesterday and used it in my little puny coffee maker because the “VERSABREW”
scares me)
None the less the coffee as I have altered it, is excellent and the fact that my beloved was put himself through the horror of math at all hours of the early morning, just makes it that much better.
(by the way honey, we have a French Press, I just don’t know how to use it)

I think that’s Gevalia, isn’t it? It’s like a club you have to join. They give you a free coffee maker and then send you a certain amount of coffee each month. My mother did it, and it was nothing special. Not as good as Dunkin’ Donuts. Certainly not worth going all the way home for. :rolleyes:

The French Press is easy to use. Add the coffee, add boiling water, let it sit for about 4 minutes, press down the plunger thingy and it’s coffee!
The hard part it taking it apart to clean and getting back together correctly.

Coffee, Schmoffee!

What Every one wants to know is how is that pre-nuptial state of sin sex?

Re; Gevalia.

My inlaws swore by Gevalia for the longest time. Then, for whatever reason, they switched to another brand which they like better…brace yourselves…Amway’s brand. (Since they are dealers, they get the cheapest price and still get it delivered by those slack jawed lemming cult-like people.)
Carry on.

There is a coffee roaster about six blocks from where I now sit…custom coffee blends, roasted to order…