"The fact is, I don't know where my ideas come from. Nor does any writer. The only real answer is to drink way too much coffee and buy yourself a desk that doesn't collapse when you beat your head against it."
— DOUGLAS ADAMS
Easy tweaks for better coffee at home
Average Josh tips for above-average joe <Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 10 of 10> Remember the “West Wing” episode that opened with Josh Lyman pulling yesterday’s coffee filter out of the kitchen trash to re-use for his morning brew? Yeah, let’s go ahead and use that as the baseline for no-nos when it comes to making coffee at home. Are you coffee […]
Give the gift of LOCAL coffee
<Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 9 of 10> This week, my longtime friend Josh Jensen surprised me with a bag of the new Stokey Dark Blend he just launched with Shane Thompson, owner of Swell Coffee. Talk about filling the appreciation mug for Thanksgiving week. Kim and I have loved every sip. Great friend. Great coffee. Grateful. As we teeter between […]
Should you tip at coffee shops?
And other questions of coffee shop etiquette <Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 8 of 10> A 2019 survey by creditcards.com found that 24 percent of Americans always tip their coffee shop baristas, while 27 percent never do. That leaves roughly half of us stuck in the land of “it depends.” Looking for clarity when you step up to the counter? Let’s […]
What’s the difference: cappuccino, latte, mocha, americano?
Touring four staples of the American espresso menu <Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 7 of 10> What’s the right way to make a cappuccino? What is the proper ratio of espresso to milk to foam? Should it include a dusting of cinnamon or chocolate powder? Is a proper cappuccino wet or dry? Cue Magic 8 Ball: “Reply hazy.” You may as […]
What is espresso?
<Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 6 of 10> Pop quiz: Espresso is … A. Another word for coffee B. A particular type of coffee bean C. A way to prepare coffee D. An Italian method for ironing clothes when you’re late for work The answer? C. (Though please send ironing tips. Takes me forever.) While espresso is just another method to […]
How do you take your coffee? Try these 10 ways
<Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 5 of 10> Comedian Brian Regan feels insulted that Pop-Tarts come with printed preparation instructions. “Can there be a simpler food item?” he says. “Like if the directions weren’t there, would someone be like, ‘How do I get that goodness in me?’” Not so with coffee. There seem to be as many ways of consuming coffee […]
5 factors of great-tasting coffee
<Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 4 of 10> Why does your coffee taste like it does, and how can you make it even better? In approaching such a question, a more sophisticated coff-icionado than myself may start with the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel. Containing 110 attributes of flavor, scent and mouthfeel, this circle is used by professional tasters to describe our […]
3 reasons to pay more for your coffee
<Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 3 of 10> I got my start on coffee like a lot of people do, as a substance to wince-and-swallow like a caffeine pill before a session of late-night homework. To be fair, some coffee tastes like steaming sludge, as if someone snuck potting soil into the filter. (Hey, it’s already been ground.) But when I […]
Growing up on the coffee farm
<Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 2 of 10> Imagine you are a young Arabica coffee bean, brimming with hopes and dreams. You yearn to make it to the big-time: say, served up at a specialty coffee shop in Seattle. You may as well aspire to be the starting quarterback for the Seahawks. If this is your ambition, the road will be […]
Where do coffee babies come from?
<Coffee for the Average Josh, Part 1 of 10> Before Mr. Coffee drip-dropped this morning’s pot, or your favorite barista handed you your latte … Before 12-ounce bags stocked grocery shelves, or your local roaster supplied the neighborhood drive-thru … Before the beans were roasted brown or even came to town … Where do coffee babies come from? When we are […]
New series: Coffee for the Average Josh
If you have a thing for Starbucks light roast coffee, my friend Jordan Farris advises to be careful how you order it. “I’ll take a tall, hot, skinny, blonde latte” just might malfunction a nearby steam wand. But what if you didn’t know Starbucks serves a Blonde Roast coffee — or what a steam wand is, for that matter? Enter a new […]
Crazy coffee orders that were actually placed
To introduce a new series on coffee literacy called Coffee for the Average Josh, I asked some friends about the craziest coffee orders they’ve ever received. The responses didn’t necessarily help me discover gaps in what people know about coffee, but they did prove that people have a sense of humor … “A 24 ounce caramel, creme de menthe, white chocolate powder, […]