I like coffee.
I know, so quirky and relatable, definitely not like the other guys that don’t like coffee.
But seriously, I am absolutely in the denial phase of addiction. It’s one of the things keeping me going — the morning ritual of making a cup for myself every morning and the feeling of focus that comes with it… unbeatable.
Whether it was intense gaming sessions as a teenager, cramming sessions in high school and college, or just needing to get through work without going into a coma, caffeine was actually always there for me.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve been chasing good coffee.
That pursuit has produced some truly awful coffee. Some weirdly sour, some too bitter to drink. Some exceptional with cream and sugar, some that cream and sugar can’t even save.
It’s the world’s most complicated bean juice.
And it all started when a friend of mine threw a French Press into my shopping cart and told me to go make my own coffee. Thanks Natalie.
A Little Bit of Math
Starbucks’ black coffee starts at around $2.00.
Keurig cups are around $0.60 per K-Cup, but cost insanely more weighing in the overwhelming guilt of knowing the number of resources producing those single-use pods.
Nespresso goes for over $1.00 a pod.
The cheapest beans I could find on Amazon come from Amazon… the company, unfortunately. Each cup of my coffee uses around 15 grams of coffee, and the bag contains over 900. $16 for the bag, divided by 60 servings equals $0.26 per cup.
Specialty coffee can go for over $1 per 15g serving, but it’s up to you how much you want to spend.
To keep things short, 1 cup of coffee per day will cost $60+ at Starbucks, $18 with Keurigs, $30+ with Nespresso, $7.80 and $22.48 with inexpensive and specialty coffee beans, respectively.
So, you TOO could save money on your monthly caffeine addiction by making your own. And the best part about it is, you never have to ask the barista to spell your name right or remember the whipped cream on top ever again.
Of course, I say “save” money, but in reality I’ve been hoarding beans from all over the world, which isn’t the cheapest.
To make excellent java at home, you only need three things: good coffee, good water, and something to make it with.
There are so many ways to make coffee, it’s insane: French Press, Aeropress, Moka pot, drip machines, espresso machines, pourovers, Chemex, percolators — the list goes on.
Grind the coffee fresh. That means whole beans into bean particle within a week of you brewing it, ideally.
Finally, your water needs to taste delicious on its own. I know it sounds insane, but there is such a thing as good tasting water and you need to use it in your coffee.
Finally, I’ve been using a French Press for 6 months. There are a LOT of different ways for you to make coffee in one, but the one recipe I’ve been using is the James Hoffman Method.
The harmony of bean, water, water temperature, and brew method come together in so many different ways.
It gets complicated.
I think it goes beyond just coffee. Obviously, I’m using this entire process as an example for anything else, whether it be painting, bringing plants into the house, or even cleaning the house.
I am someone who likes to chase good stuff. Mastery. Perfection. The stuff that you can smack your lips together with your hand in an okay sign and…
Sorry. Was that too Buzzfeed?
I’ve tried canned coffee, jugs of coffee, instant coffee, preground coffee, but there’s nothing quite like doing it yourself.
Plus, it’s nice not having to walk into a store to get the mesmerizing cafe smell, I can just grind and brew and get my house to become the cafe.
I think it’s more of a lifestyle principle. Sure, I could just settle for tea bags or crack open a Redbull every morning for my caffeine fix, but for me, the more difficult, the more exciting the journey.
There’s something about overcoming the horrifying mistakes and fine-tuning things until they’re just right — the satisfaction is undeniable.
There’s something about entering a world where you know absolutely nothing and being humbled for a while, then starting to explore things on your own. Coffee has always been this massive giant in my world where you either settled for ‘meh’ or paid a premium for the good stuff.
In my mission to dive in headfirst, I’ve begun collecting coffee from around Missouri. Kaldi’s, Northwest, and Blueprint in Saint Louis, and Messenger Coffee Co. in Kansas City. But even beyond just the beverage itself, the community of people, is an entire essay in its own right.
The cafe’s that you can sit in and take in the smells and sounds while you mash away at your keyboard, those cliche coffee dates that are low stress — some things I definitely took for granted.
Ah shit, here we go again
This pandemic, I’ve been taking something simple and seeing if I can take it to the next level. Call it impulsive learning, digging deeper, whatever you want.
In college, some of my professors had adopted the Kaizen Method, translating to “incremental improvement” or “good changes”.
I’m sure some of you have seen the memes around about how people are expecting to come out of quarantine with a dozen new skills, a profound meditation regimen, and an immaculate personal schedule.
I think the opposite is occurring right now, where we’re slowly breaking down in isolation.
Isolation breeds misery. I’d say that I’ve been in isolation for three months now. And I’m miserable.
After hitting rock bottom over and over again, I came to a similar conclusion to How to Buy Your Happiness.
My UberEats budget was ENORMOUS. I rarely left the house, relying on Instacart and Amazon to do my shopping. I was engulfed in a vicious cycle: solitary confinement of my self-inflicted prison sentence.
You can have other people do everything for you except make you happy. Misery is a personal crusade.
What in the world happened to coffee?
In the war against instant gratification, I think it’s time to rediscover the hard way of doing things. Again. Patience is a virtue that has been dismantled by the millisecond response times of the internet.
So, why don’t we try one small difficult thing? One thing that might just suck a little bit going through it, but in the end, it’s far better than we’d ever imagined.
Go make your own bean juice.