Roadside Coffees to Avoid

Dumping on Starbucks has become such a snob sport that there’s mounting pressure to make it a medal-awarding event at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Although I understand the concern of those who worry about the homogenization of the planet, you’ll get no snarky anti-Starbucks remarks from me. As capitalists go, Starbucks has more social conscience than most but, more to the point, it brews a reliably decent (though not transcendent) cup of Joe—especially if you ask for dark roast. I draw the line at Yuppie pretentiousness and refuse to order a “Grande,” a “Venti,” or any other term other than small, medium, or large, but when I’m on the road, I seek out Starbucks because at least I can drink a cup without reaching for a carsickness bag. Starbucks is like Subway—good of kind.

I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately and can offer a public service guide of what not to drink under any circumstance. Below are “for external use only” toxins whose ingestion could result in the need for a liver-stomach transplant. I mention only coffee, defined as a beverage in which water is brewed with roasted and ground coffee beans. There is no such thing as “blueberry” or “French vanilla” coffee. Ditto any liquid into which flavored Coffee-Mate or other such oxymoronic substance is added. If you dump syrup, whipped cream, or additional flavor of any kind to a cup of Joe, stop kidding yourself; go to the cupboard, and eat several tablespoonfuls of sugar and be done with it! But never partake of any of these–

                  1. Seattle’s Best: Hands-down the worst brew in North America and a lie from the outset since Starbucks is also Seattle-based. It’s a toss-up which is worst, the thinness of the brew or the utter vileness of it. The only resemblance between this and coffee is that Seattle’s Best is (sort of) brown.

                  2. New England Coffee: This one is all over my region and damned if I know why. It’s disgusting and seems to have been roasted with some sort of artificial sweetener that destroys whatever coffee taste might have been embedded in the original beans.
                  3. Dunkin’ Donuts: “America runs on Dunkin’?” How? It is utterly tasteless. Total crap—like the donuts, which are calories without a cause.

                  4. Most diner coffees: See those little pots on the warmer? These are death to coffee, whose oils break down under heat in a matter of minutes. If you see an oil slick on the top of the pot, don’t go there! Coffee not drunk immediately should be poured into an insulated carafe. Most diner coffee will give you a tummy ache faster than you can say, “Check please.”

                  5. Green Mountain Coffee: Okay, I love Vermont and I admire its branding efforts but let’s face it, you’ve never seen Juan Valdez harvesting beans from Vermont’s shady hillsides. Many GMC offerings taste burnt and others cry out for assistance. It’s the kind of coffee that tempts one to add sugar and lots of milk. Once you’re at that point, why not drink a cup of Maxwell House?

                  6.  Autocrat Coffee:  I can’t believe there’s actually a company with the moxie (sorry to mix drinks!) to call itself this. It’s even harder to believe that it’s been around for more than a century. It comes from Rhode Island. My theory is that the mob runs it and tells people, “Drink this, or you’ll drink with the fishes.”

                  7. Carpe Diem Coffee: That’s Latin for “seize the day.” Seize your bowels is more like it.

                  8. K-Cups and its ilk: Expecting decent coffee to be brewed by pushing a button that injects hot water through a tiny plastic cups is like believing that Santa Claus really can squeeze through a chimney. These coffee systems” are simply rest area vending machines sans the smelly adjoining rest rooms. But they’re just as crappy as the latter. Any restaurant using these should prompt you to order bottled water instead.

Is it any wonder there’s a Starbucks on every street corner? I’m there. I’m anywhere that doesn’t sell Seattle’s Best or the next seven in the Coffee Hall of Shame! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let's just hope CR doesn't read this! You have just badmouthed Dunkin' Donuts coffee and he'll be mad and you don't wanna get him mad! For the reciord, I can't stand Starbucks coffee. Are we still lovers? Ok, eat gravel then!