My sister let me know not too long ago that her dear cornfed husband had purchased her a Keurig as a gift.

She then began extolling its virtues as if it were one miracle away from sainthood in every cup. In her mind, somehow a machine that pokes two holes in a little Dixie cup filled with coffee grounds and spits hot water through it was the next best thing since sliced bread (don’t get me started on how slicing bread isn’t all that great an invention, either.) Then of course the initiation began: do I own one yet? The answer was a resounding NO, because I’m an adult who loves making lots of coffee the right way.

Truth is, we have a Keurig in the office. And on more than one occasion I’ve waived the time-consuming process of preparing my morning joe in lieu of sleeping a little longer, and just popping a K-Cup of Peet’s in the machine after I clocked in. So I see the appeal, mind you. But in the long run, the cons outweigh the pros on this (and I’m not even talking about the $120 sticker price.) Therefore, in the interest of making this article longer than two paragraphs, let’s go ahead and examine in terms of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Par Example:

THE GOOD
I won’t even lie to you: it’s a quick cup of coffee with very little mess. And three out of five of my work mornings that has considerable desire, especially when you’ve gone past your own bedtime the night before trying to explain its importance to a three-year-old question-monger. Plus there are times when I’d like to switch it up a little bit with the roast. For instance, some mornings I might enjoy a nice dark roast. But when it’s time to pour a second cup, I may just want that one to be medium roast (I know; I’m a complicated individual.) I don’t have to tell you how doing something like that with the old Mr. Coffee is a big fat NOPE as far as time constraints and cleanup goes.

But for all its lauded purposes, for me, the good reasons to have a Keurig don’t even hold a candle to all the bad reasons to own one.

THE BAD
I’m no peacenik, although I’ve considered becoming a nudie pagan back in college (back then the idea of making a religion out of getting buttnaked in the woods and smoking hash just sounded like a great idea.) However, I’m well aware that our resources and space on this planet are limited, and have been found unrepentantly cutting up six-pack rings so our delicious little buddies in the seas don’t get their heads caught. Also I’ve borne witness to the environmental impact excess plastic can make. Back when I first moved down to Galveston Island a windy little storm known as Hurricane Claudette decided to show up. The next morning the seawall was COVERED in hundreds of thousands of cigarette lighters (none of which worked.) Just the idea that people were brazenly and thoughtlessly chucking their empty Bics out in to the Gulf disgusted me to no end. So, bearing that in mind, as well as noticing a distinct lack of a three-arrow triangle on any of these little K-Cups, just where in the hell do we plan on putting all this new form of landfill space? New Jersey? Canada? Actually, that’s not a bad idea; let’s go with that for now.

But all the hippy crap aside, there’s a far more important thing that we as coffee lovers should concern ourselves: THE FULL FLAVOR EXPERIENCE. Up to this point, Dear Reader, I have simply assumed most of you purchase your coffee already ground up for you, or you grind it at the store. And while it is admittedly more convenient that way, what you are doing is WRONG. Each roasted bean houses an enormous punch of awesome flavor, and if you have the right grinder, you can unlock that flavor potential to your liking (i.e. put it on the finer espresso setting for a muuuuch stronger cup.) The bean itself seals in that extra flavor; to grind it prematurely will certainly compromise taste and strength. Moreover, a lot of companies pre-grind as a substitute for quality, meaning they leave the hulls in during the process. All that does is take away from the flavor (plus it’s kind of a dick move.) However, if you buy whole bean YOU’RE the one in charge of seeing what’s going into the brewing process, and will likely spare yourself the misery of suffering through a boring cup of coffee. Now, I’m not saying K-Cups are guilty of this unforgiveable sin. But in my world, ‘preground’ always houses this possibility, so take from that what you will.

I’d take that further by encouraging you to purchase a French Press as well, as the filter in an automatic drip maker will not only keep grounds out of the pot, but will also keep a lot of flavor out as well. But let’s pretend we barely have enough time to grind the damn coffee, because we’re adults and have places to go (hence the appeal of a K-Cup.)

And need I say it? Who the hell just drinks ONE cup of coffee? If you’re only going to enjoy one cup a day, then more power to you, I suppose. Enjoy your ecosystem-destroying, cardboard-flavored Keurig juice.

And finally, we’ve reached the most important thing to consider regarding Keurigs, aka

THE UGLY

A buddy of mine woke one alcohol-bogged morning with these two things sitting right by his machine:

Guess which one he stuck in his Keurig?

‘Nuff said.

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  • reply Roger Mazzarese ,

    Hey. I say, a little “Ranch Coffee” never hurt anyone. Brings back fond memories of our wagon-ride out west, to find our fortune in gold. Brewing a pot over the campfire, while sharing stories, hopes, and dreams. Why, I remember . . . . . Uhhmmm – I just enlarged that photo……….. Nevermind :-(

    • reply Jason Laughlin ,

      Well, when you’re neck-deep in hangoverdom, this is not the kind of surprise one would anticipate. I don’t care how buffalo-ranchy-good it might be otherwise…

    • reply Scarydad ,

      For those who love a great, freshly ground cup or pot of coffee but have trouble with the grinding and doing stuff before they’ve had their coffee, I suggest the Cuisinart Grind & Brew. It is a drip coffee maker with a bean grinder in the top. You put your beans in the hopper, put your water in and set the timer. In the morning, the beans get ground and immediately sent into the filter. And,the filter is one of those fine mesh kind so you don’t filter out all the flavor. Coffee perfection. My wife bought me one years ago and it’s one of the best things I own.

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