For most of my life, I loathed coffee. Burnt, bitter, nasty tasting sludge not good for anything except cleaning wheel bearings. Yet, it seemed that every kid and his brother, sister, aunt, uncle, best friend, and worst friend was totally obsessed with their morning cup of Joe. What was I missing? Somewhere, somehow, there just had to be coffee that tasted as good as it smelled. So I went on a "Mission From God" (for you Blues Brothers fans), to find the best coffee for people who don't like coffee.
Grandma's Fresh Roasted Coffee
Why does coffee taste so bad? Well, it didn't always taste bad. If you went back to a little over a hundred years ago, you'd find that a vast majority of all coffee was roasted at home. Yep! Your Grandma used to buy green, un-roasted, coffee beans, which stayed fresh for months. Then each week, she'd pull out her cast-iron skillet and fresh-roast just enough beans to last her family for just that week.
With roasted coffee that fresh, Grandma provided a coffee that was smooth as silk. Some of the beans she bought had notes of chocolate; other had notes of citrus, others had notes of spice. What was Grandma's secrete? First the beans were fresh roasted. Secondly, Grandma didn't over roast the beans. The darkest that Grandma roasted her beans was a dark brown.
Grandma knew that all the flavor and caffeine was contained in the bean's oils. So, she gently roasted her beans to a dark brown, never black, thus preserving those wonderful coffee oils. Unbeknownst to her, she was also preserving the health benefits of the oil's bioflavonoids and antioxidants.
WWI Doughboy Coffee
If Grandma could make coffee worthy of a king, then why the plethora of bad burnt and bitter industrial coffee sold in America today? You can thank the US Army for that one. When America finally got into the fist world war, the US Army decided to send roasted coffee with the Doughboys to Europe. The problem was they couldn't keep the roasted beans from spoiling.
Then some bright engineer came on the solution of burning the snot out of the beans and packaging them into vacuum sealed tin cans. And Voila! The beans survived. But the soldiers nearly didn't. The coffee sent with the solders was barely drinkable. It was very bitter and very burnt and very nasty. But after two years of drinking the stuff, our soldiers came home wanting more. Thus the birth of the industrial coffee industry, cranking out tons of burnt and bitter industrial coffee, which is what America wanted.
Charbucks' Better Burnt Beans
Fast forward to the 1970's and you'll find a tiny little coffee shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market selling better burnt beans. Charbucks became the "in" coffee of its age. Instead of industrial coffee sourced from God knows where by the likes of Hills Brothers, Maxwell House, etc., Charbucks gave its customers choices of burnt beans from countries around the world, like Brazil, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, etc. Unfortunately, they still burned the snot out of these beans.
Oh, and the beans were supposed to be "fresh". Well that depends on what you consider fresh. Charbucks and their follow-on wannabees measure fresh in months. Unfortunately, for their customers, coffee starts going stale and bitter in about 4 weeks. And no amount of space age packaging can keep coffee fresh.
Great Coffee Starts At Home
Who makes the best coffee? Can you make coffee as good as Grandma? "You bet your sweet bippy" (for you Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Fans) you can. In fact, there are very few coffee shops or five star hotels, or Mitchelin star restaurants that can make coffee as well as you can at home.
Is it tough to make great coffee? I mean coffee that even you will love. Actually, great coffee isn't that hard to make. With a few tips that we'll cover here, you can quickly and easily be making coffee that's absolutely divine.
For more details on how to make great coffee that even you'll enjoy, check out our FAQ tab and read a few of the articles listed there, especially the article on "Coffee Brewing Equipment", which includes several videos.
The Best Coffee Beans For People Who Don't Like Coffee
To make great coffee, that is coffee that's smooth as silk with great flavor, you must start with great beans. I've tried coffee from nearly every coffee growing region in the world. With all that experience, in my humble opinion, the smoothest, non-bitter, best tasting beans, that are reasonably priced come from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica.
I've compared these beans to some of the most expensive coffee beans on the planet; like Jamacian Blue Mounting or Kona Coffee. And guess what? Beans from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica are every bit as good as these very expensive beans, and are one fifth the price.
Gently Roasted Coffee Beans
Although Grandma used to roast up some pretty darn good coffee beans, in today's day and age, we don't expect you to take the time and effort to roast your own beans, although you certainly could. Instead, that's what we do.
Industrial coffee companies are far too interested in keeping their board of directors happy than trying to keep their customers happy. And that suits us just fine, because like Grandma, here at Lake City Coffee, we understand that roasting low-n-slow is the secret to keeping those coffee bean oils preserved, thus providing for you the smoothest, most naturally sweet, and delightful tasting coffee that you're likely to find anywhere.
The Fresher The Roast, The Better The Coffee
Here's a fact that few people know. All coffee starts going stale and bitter within 4 weeks. There's little that can be done to stop this process. If you want truly great coffee, that's not bitter, then you want to buy coffee that was roasted days ago, not months ago. Unfortunately, a vast majority of coffee sold in the US was roasted months if not years ago.
That's why we roast and ship our coffee every Tuesday. Heck! The coffee inside the Priority Mail box is still warm when we deliver it to our local post office. You might have noticed our motto "From Our Roaster To Your Table in 24-72 Hours".
After much experimentation, I finally developed a way to keep most of that "first week" fresh taste. Read my article "How To Keep Roasted Coffee Fresh For Months".
How To Grind Great Coffee
The first rule of making great coffee is to grind your own coffee. If you buy pre-ground coffee, then don't expect even decent coffee. Grinding your own coffee takes all of about 2 seconds of your time to press a button. The big advantage of grinding your own coffee is that you can control how fine or how course your coffee grounds are going to be.
By changing the grind, even a little bit, will change the taste of your coffee. Or adding a few more beans or a few less beans to your grinder can, and often does, make a big difference. The key here is to experiment. There's a good chance you'll hit the jackpot the first try. If not, you'll likely have the perfect process down in less than a week.
For more details on grinding, check out these articles:
How To Brew Best Coffee For People Who Don't Like Coffee
There are a lot of ways to brew coffee. IMHO, the two best ways of brewing great coffee is using the AeroPress and the French Press. If all you have is a drip coffee machine, then use that. It'll do in a pinch, but think about upgrading to a French Press or AeroPress, both of which are often under $50.
Both of these methods are fast, simple, and inexpensive. Best of all, they're almost idiot proof. The very first cup of coffee that I made was with the AeroPress.
For more details on brewing, check out the following articles:
Lastly, take a look at my Coffee Brewing Equipment Page, which is under the FAQ tab.
Lake City Coffee
The irony of Lake City Coffee is that 10 years ago, I hated coffee. Now I'm a master coffee roaster and coffee expert. Go figure. God has a way of proving us wrong when we say, "I'll NEVER..." You know what I mean. Fortunately, Alisha and I (Russell) are blessed to be serving you some incredible coffee.
One of my favorite parts about this business is when we receive emails from people saying, "I purchased your coffee for me. Now my spouse, who used to hate coffee, is now drinking all my coffee." So, if you're looking for the best coffee for people who don't like coffee, I have a sneaky suspicion, that you've found in Lake City Coffee what you've been hoping for.