Are You Buying Bad Coffee?

updated May 12, 2022
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The Huffington Post recently wrote a piece insisting most of us don’t know what bad coffee looks like. The article insists that, contrary to what so many of us may think, dark roast coffee is actually bad coffee. I couldn’t help but recall the uber-dark, oily beans that my parents always bought, and how at coffee shops today I always insist on “the darkest roast you have on hand.” But maybe I’m one of those people the author is referring to. Am I actually buying bad coffee?

I started drinking coffee pretty early on. Growing up in Northern California, the days were cool and foggy and everyone in my high school freshman class seemed to be drinking coffee, so I jumped on the bandwagon, too. We’d mix in packets of hot chocolate to make it taste better, and shop for edgy travel mugs that we felt we identified with. (Ah, to be 16.) Now I drink coffee much differently. It’s become a routine and a ritual and something to share with others. But this week, I started to wonder — yet again — if I was doing it all wrong.

The main point of the Huffington Post piece is that when a roaster decides to roast coffee darker and longer, they’re usually making a decision based on shelf-life (it lasts longer) and productivity (it’s easier to produce on a mass scale). But that doesn’t mean it’s better. In fact, apparently if the beans are quite oily, it’s a sign they’ve been over-roasted.

Second, writer Nicholas Thompson insists that once you grind up your coffee beans, their oils and aromas start to disappear immediately, leading to not-as-flavorful coffee. Apparently even after a few minutes, “ground coffee is compromised beyond recognition,” Thompson claims.

We’ve heard this before, actually, and we believe it to be true: the flavor of a pre-ground bag of coffee will just never be as good, and I’m starting to think twice about the kinds of beans I buy now. We have a burr grinder at home and usually grind our beans with each batch of coffee we make, but lately time has been an issue, so I’ve been grinding large batches that last us a few days and setting them out in a jar to speed things up. Perhaps I’ll rethink these habits. If it means noticeably better coffee, I’m sold. What about you?

Read More: Do Me a Favor. Stop Buying Bad Coffee by Nicholas Thompson | The Huffington Post

Related: How Do You Make Your Morning Coffee?

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