Considering Coffee

I was at a meeting with somebody today, and she offered me a beverage. “There’s cranberry juice, Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, some milk…” I don’t generally drink any of those things. Before I could stop myself, I said, “I usually only drink coffee, water and alcohol.” Then I realized how snobby that sounded, so I added, “But don’t think I’m a purist.” I don’t like the feeling I get from drinking soda so I only consume it if I’m feeling sick. Juices strike me as empty calories and I normally only drink them as part of the occasional cocktail.

But coffee? Ah, coffee. I have a big cup of coffee every morning–sometimes it’s decaf, but usually it’s the regular stuff. I love the ritual of grinding, brewing, smelling the coffee as it trickles into the pot, fixing a mug of hot milk and Splenda, and then pouring in the hot goodness. That first sip–oh, it steadies and satisfies and makes me feel ready to face the day.

I use this coffee pot, which I chose because it has a thermal carafe. The coffee loses a lot of heat to the carafe as it brews, which kinda defeats the purpose of a thermal carafe, so I try to remember to fill it with hot water and let it warm up while I grind the beans and fill the reservoir. I also dislike how difficult it is to pour the last cup of coffee out of the carafe due to the lip inside the carafe. Other than that this is a great coffee pot, and considering how bad my last coffee pot was I suppose I shouldn’t complain.

Sometimes I buy the in-house roasted coffee at the Costco in Sterling, VA, but that particular Costco is usually a madhouse and it’s the only one near my stomping grounds that brews its own. I also buy locally roasted Mayorga coffee when I see it at Costco. Sometimes I buy Trader Joe’s French blend in the big blue can.

Other times I buy a coffee treat for myself, and right now I’m in the mood to do so. Last time I bought myself special coffee, I ordered some goodies from Community Coffee, a Louisiana tradition. I loved the Louisiana Blend medium-dark, and I’ve been fond of coffee with chicory since I visited New Orleans several years ago. I like supporting Community, and I like their products.

I’m considering repeating my last order from Community, but I wonder if I am cheating myself by not trying Counter Culture Coffee from my native North Carolina. I’ve heard they set the industry standard for excellence in coffee. I checked out their website, but it just made me feel overwhelmed and unsure what coffees would be best for me. (As with wines, I am enthusiastic but not at all discriminating or knowledgeable about coffees.) Have you ordered from them, what did you buy, and what did you think?

Or should I buy my coffee from somewhere else? I’m only interested in mail-ordering coffee if it’s something I can’t get closer to home at a similar quality and price point. (Otherwise, why pay for shipping?)

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