Friday, August 28, 2009

The South's Finest Coffee My Ass

I ran out of coffee a couple of weeks back. I don't drink a lot of coffee, so I tend to buy the good stuff. I've got a burr grinder on my kitchen counter and I'm used to thinking of the whole bean coffee you can buy at Starbuck's (or in most grocery stores now) as being near the lower end of coffee that I'll drink. I actually won't touch a cup of black coffee from a Starbucks. The stuff they brew is horrendous, but some of the specialty coffees they to take home and brew aren't bad.

Considering where I live, finding decent coffee can be difficult unless you have time to wait for the mail truck to arrive. Wal-Mart does sell some decent whole bean coffee. Where I live, Wal-Mart is the high end grocery store. Want organics? They've got their own line and sell a variety of other organic brands. Want some specialty ingredients? They may have it. Want good produce? You're still screwed. Anyway, Wal-Mart has their own line of fair trade and organic coffees and they also sell the Starbucks stuff, so I usually pick up my coffee there when I don't feel like paying shipping or handling or waiting. Unfortunately, I wasn't shopping at Wal-Mart when I bought my last bag of coffee. I was shopping at Harvey's because we didn't feel like waiting in line at the mouth-of-hell mart. If Wal-Mart is my area's high end grocery store, Harvey's is the retarded redneck cousin that you only see during family reunions. You want organics? You're screwed. You want pork stomach, pig tails, trotters, tripe, pickled or salted pork products that are safely stored at room temperature? You want rabbit or quail? Harvey's is your place. Honestly, I'm sure you'd find most if not all of those ingredients being used in high-end restaurants in New York, but around here, it's seriously country and I'm one of the few people here who've been in the outside world enough to recognize it.

By the way. I'm in no way denigrating quail or rabbit meat. Quail is damn tasty. I might be denigrating the pickled pigs feet, however.

But I digress. I think this post was supposed to be about coffee. While I was browsing through the mounds of salt-cured pork belly and pickled eggs looking for a box of cereal and a jug of milk, I came across the only bag of whole-bean coffee in the store. I can't remember the brand, but the bag was a vivid red and proclaimed something along the lines of "The South's Best Coffee". I was a little wary. The South isn't really known for coffee, but there are some really good boutique roasters in the more urban areas. Maybe this is just one of those companies making it big, I thought. The fact that the bag of beans was priced less than $4 didn't hurt the decision. Sure, it increased the chance that the coffee would suck, but it also made the investment in exploration easier on the wallet. Besides, what if this turned out to be an awesome coffee? I'd feel like being the first wine geek to discover Two Buck Chuck. Tasty and cheap is always a good thing, at least until it turns out to be tainted with heavy metals or strychnine.

It wasn't. Good that is. I don't know about the heavy metals or stychnine yet. The coffee is crap. Thin. No body to balance the bitterness. It leaves a sour aftertaste. I might as well have bought Folgers. It would have probably tasted better. K, even after her normal liberal dose of creamer, poured her cup down the sink after just a sip. Now I just have to decide if it's drinkable enough to finish the bag or if I need to go spend more than twice that amount I paid for this coffee to buy a bag of decent joe.


courtney said...

Maybe you can mix the bad stuff with some good stuff. I used to mix cheap coffee with good coffee to make the good stuff last longer, and it's not bad.

Jacob said...

Very fine idea. I might try that, although it seems slightly evil to dilute good coffee like that.

Hank Gay said...

As I sit here sipping my freshly ground, full bodied Rwandan coffee, I almost feel guilty.

A Free Man said...

Have you tried Peets? Mail-order only in your neck of the woods, but among the best I've had. I buy my coffee at the Central Market in the city. It's cheaper, and better, than the grocery stores. All the Starbucks down here shut down about a year ago. I'm happy about that.

Jacob said...

I like Peets. I've got their website and a couple of other smaller roasters in my bookmarks for mail order.

It's so much easier with tea. I don't have any decent options of ti kuan yin oolong tea anywhere near here, so I just go to Upton's Tea website and order there.

By the way, if you're in the US and want good loose leaf tea at a significant discount (even after shipping) than your local specialty tea store, go to Uptons. Incredible site.

Julie said...

I don't drink coffee but I've become a supplier to my cousin because he loves the Costco stuff. Suggestion being, buy it in bulk, the good stuff will last longer.