December 13, 2014
Usually I drink Coava coffee (recently featured on Seinfeld’s internet show) that I make with a Chemex/Kone setup, and it’s really good. But it takes time and effort that not everyone appreciates. Specifically, houseguests who aren’t picky coffee drinkers sometimes don’t want to endure the ceremony and it’s not fair to make them stand around in their bathrobes for 10 minutes when they would be perfectly happy with non-crazy-person coffee.
So first we bought a drip coffee maker, but it made coffee that smelled like plastic no matter what we did, so we threw that one in the trash and then spent some time carefully smelling coffee makers at Target, but ultimately decided that we didn’t want to take another chance since they all smelled pretty bad.
Instead we ended up with one of those Keurig single-cup brewers (which can make some exquisitely terrible coffee, don’t get me wrong, but bad coffee is a step up from plastic garbage bag water). And in the interest of science and our guests’ welfare I have been testing out K-cups and wish to share my findings and solicit suggestions from the internets.
Here is what I have learned thus far. This is the result of non-scientific and frankly grumpy testing by me as sole judge, jury, and at times over-eager executioner. So without further ado:
The following merit a rating of tastes like burning. All are unforgiveably vile.
- Starbucks House Blend and Breakfast Blend
- Peet’s Major Dickasons Blend
- Newman’s Own Special Blend
- Gevalia Colombia
- Caribou Caribou Blend
The following merit a rating of non-fatal:
- Community Coffee Breakfast Blend is actually drinkable. It’s not great, but it’s not aggressively caustic either. By far the best sealed-cup variety I have tried.
The following merit a rating of drink with caution. When I am lazy (not infrequently, as you may have guessed) I will drink these without complaining that much. A notable and perhaps key difference is that unlike the execrable participants in the upper list (which are sealed cups that are punctured on both ends) these are packaged filter cups that let the coffee flow out from the sides.
Trader Joe’s Medium Roast. This actually smells and taste like real coffee, and I would choose it over airplane or gas station coffee (or even Starbucks, honestly). These are also the cheapest ones I have tried (bonus).
Chock Full o’Nuts Midtown Manhattan is kind of weirdly nutty (hence the name I suppose) but it’s growing on me. The first cup is a challenge with any of these, but after that I stop noticing.
So if anyone on the internets has suggestions for what to try next, I will be happy to add to this list.