I admit it: I'm a coffee snob. In my highly biased opinion, if you need to flavor your coffee with milk, sugar, or anything else, you're not brewing it properly.

Contrary to popular belief, coffee is not naturally bitter. What's bitter are the resins that build up inside coffee machines or inside coffee that's not freshly roasted (i.e. within the past couple of weeks) or freshly ground (i.e. within the past few minutes.)

Drinking freshly-roasted, freshly-ground coffee that's not black is exactly like pouring Sprite into a fine Bordeaux. What a waste!

With all that in mind, here are the 10 most important facts that I think everyone should know about coffee:

  1. The most important thing to know about coffee is that you're probably not drinking enough of it, according to scientists.
  2. Coffee is one of the most fabled drinks of all time, with all sort of peculiar facts, myths, and lore. 
  3. Coffee has crazy-good health benefits. Coffee makes you live longer, for instance. Coffee also makes you smarter.
  4. For tasty coffee, start with freshly-roasted, high-quality beans which you grind yourself within five minutes of making the cup.
  5. Automatic coffee makers make lousy coffee that gets worse as resin builds up in the plastic tray. Since this happens over time, most people don't notice. Ugh.
  6. The metal plunger in a French Press adds a funny taste to coffee. You'll get a tastier cup with a Chemex or Aeropress system.
  7. If you must use a French Press, the only way to get rid of the bitter resin buildup in the plastic is to boil it (a dishwasher is NOT hot enough).
  8. Coffee stored in a thermos with a metal interior will acquire a funny taste. If anyone knows where to get a ceramic- or glass-interior thermos, please let me know.
  9. Artificially flavored coffee is garbage. However, some people like drinking garbage. No harm, no foul, but ever don't hand me a cup of that gunk.
  10. Anything you can drink out of a can isn't coffee. It may be tasty and snack-worthy, but it's not coffee.

OK, those last two "facts" were more like my opinion that real facts. Nonetheless, I stand by them. Coffee, when brewed and served correctly, is fine art and thus a perfect subject for informed opinion. So there.