The Straight Poop on Java
Date: Fri, 12 May 95 13:35:39 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: The Straight Poop on Java
[I would have said "Straight Dope" but Cecil Adams is already using that,
and anyway, I didn't want to take a chance on summoning up Nancy Reagan
(or Ronald, for that matter). -psl]
Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Eric Allman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-By: Theresa Lessard-Smith <theresa@CS.Berkeley.EDU>
Forwarded-By: "Brian V. Smith" <email@example.com>
Editor's Note: Discussions on the Usenet coffee newsgroups can often go
on for months with no consensus ever developing. Just about any issue,
from how to store coffee to how to brew it, will generate controversy as
proponents of all sides become entrenched in their positions. In the end,
coffee is a very personal, subjective beverage.
But Ken Blair demonstrates what you can learn in the groups if you pay
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken Blair)
Subject: humor: how to brew great drip coffee
An ALT.COFFEE guide to the proper method of brewing great drip coffee at
home. Revision 4.03, 12/19/94. Prepared by Ken Blair
(email@example.com), based on months of ALT.COFFEE postings.
After reading ALT.COFFEE for many months, it is clear that there is proper,
definite, scientific, and methodical procedure to make the best drip coffee.
It is also clear that there are numerous misconceptions about the proper
way to go about it. This text is a summary of the right way to brew drip
coffee at home, according to the cyberspace coffee gurus on ALT.COFFEE.
First, start with a good quality, medium to expensive drip coffee maker.
A cheap, low quality, or even a cheap high quality unit can also be used.
Just be sure that it's a coffee maker. It is important to ensure that the
unit has been thoroughly cleaned after each use, because residue from
previous coffee brewing could distort the rich and robust flavor of the
coffee you are about to brew. If you're in a hurry, or don't care anyhow,
this step really doesn't matter. Just make sure you get the old coffee
grounds out of the coffee maker before you brew a new pot. Poor college
students may want to actually re-use old grounds, to avoid purchasing new
coffee. If should be noted, however, that re-using grounds more than 10
times could result in an overly bitter brew which might not be to your
Second, it is essential to select the proper filter for your coffee maker.
It is generally acknowledged that a metal type filter is far superior to
any other types available, because this type of filter will not impart any
strange flavors into your coffee. These metal types are often gold colored,
but silver colored ones can be found too. It is also generally acknowledged
that using a paper filter yields a superior pot of coffee, because metal
filters tend to let sediment pass into the coffee. Above all, it is most
important to remember make sure you're actually using a filter, or else you
might end up with a mug full of coffee grounds and dark colored water.
The absolute most important aspect of brewing great coffee is proper coffee
bean selection. It is imperative that you buy only whole, un-ground beans.
Buy only enough beans to brew one cup at a time, otherwise you aren't using
the freshest beans possible. Even if this means making 6 trips to your local
roaster to buy beans to brew a 6 cup pot, you will be assured that you have
brewed absolutely the best coffee possible. For some people who don't have
time to be buying coffee beans 6 or 12 times a day, it's also just as good
to buy a 7 or 8 year supply ahead of time, and store the beans properly.
See the section on bean storage, below.
This brings us to the aspect of where to get your beans. The only place to
purchase your beans is at a local roaster. By doing this, you'll be assured
that the beans are still warm when you take them home. When possible, buy
beans that have just been roasted, otherwise you are wasting your time. If
this is not possible, just buy some Folgers at the nearest convienence
store, and the time you have saved will be worth it. If you're not able to
grind your beans at home, then have them ground for you at the store, and
make sure that residue from hundreds of other types of beans is mixed into
your coffee as it goes through the store's grinder. This will ensure that
you get a totally unique blend of flavors, and your friends will be truly
impressed with your gourmet coffee.
To brew the best coffee, it is imperative that you choose your coffee beans
based on their country of origin. You should experiment and try several
different varietal beans until you find the ones you like. To brew the best
coffee, it is imperative that you buy flavored beans such as
hazelnut-mocha-cherry-lime or Irish Cream-raspberry-Pop Tart-Spam flavored.
If you don't buy flavored beans, you're wasting your time, and you're not
a true coffee pro. Once again, if you don't have time to select good
quality, fresh flavored coffee, you must select a good canned, mass produced
coffee from the local grocery store. Doing this is the only way to make the
best coffee. In summary, it is important to remember that you're using
coffee beans, and not pinto beans. Use of pinto beans could result in an
overly bitter brew, that might not be suitable to your personal taste.
For those of you who are interested in grinding your beans at home, there
are generally two different types of grinders: burr and blade. Generally,
it is accepted that the both of these grinders begin with "b", and both
grind coffee. If is entirely a matter of personal taste as to which one to
use, because both types are so much alike.
The topic of coffee bean storage is another highly debated topic, but if
you look at the hard, factual evidence, the answer is clear. Many people
claim that freezing your coffee is the best solution to storage. Many people
claim that coffee should not be frozen. Other people claim that air-tight
containers are the way to go. Well, after extensive
scientific-research-studies-experiments, it has been determined that
freezing, refrigerating, room temperature, and air-tight container are all
ways to store coffee. Above all, it is essential to make sure that you are
storing your coffee beans.
Finally, you must make sure that you are using proper a proper amount of
water and coffee when brewing. While it is generally accepted that one must
use water when brewing coffee, many people don't use the exact amount. To
make drip coffee, the proper method is to use exactly one standard coffee
scoop measure (between 1/2 tablespoon to 4 tablespoons) to each one exact
standard coffee maker cup of water (3 ounces to 8 ounces). This is the only
exact, correct, and proper method, and may of course be adjusted to your
After your drip coffee has brewed, you might want to add milk or sugar.
Just as with coffee bean storage, this is a highly debated topic. Some
people insist that adding milk or sugar covers up the robust aroma of the
coffee, while others insist that it is necessary to cover up the robust
aroma of the coffee because it is undesirable. If you do choose to add milk,
remember that there are several options such as skim, 1/2 percent, 2
percent, 4 percent, half and half, and cream. Be sure to make the proper
choice. Above all, when determining to add milk or sugar to your cup,
remember that you could be adding milk or sugar.
If you plan not to serve the entire pot of coffee right after it has brewed,
you must consider the options of storage of the brewed coffee and how to
keep it hot. While it is generally accepted that storage in a vacuum type
thermos or carafe is acceptable, it is also generally accepted that
microwave ovens are capable of heating up cold coffee. Environmentalists
will want to use a solar heating method by placing the pot of coffee in the
© 1995 Peter Langston