My Five Favorite Coffees


Please don’t say, “But you forgot such and such brand!”

I forgot nothing. These are my favorites, not a summary of every coffee ever made.

And please forgive the fact that my tastes are on a grocery-store level.

I grew up sans pretensions — but I’d never grow up without coffee, three glorious times a day.

Here goes:

(5) Illy

Most people rank this stuff higher, but I never found it extraordinary enough to be worth the extra cash. Still, I do love the description: “Enjoy the singular luxury of a flawless cup of coffee, the result of three generations of expertise and passionate pursuit of quality by the Illy family of Trieste, Italy, since 1933.” That’s a lot of expertise and passion! But what’s all the fuss?

(4) Folgers Gourmet Supreme

It’s “deep and full bodied” like I like my men. It woos, it coos, it delivers. It’s pretty damned serviceable, if in a middlebrow sort of way. And their Bistro Blend sounds enchanting as well. Like I like my vacations.

(3) Maxwell House Original Roast

This one lives up to the promise of being “smooth and balanced … full of flavor without bitterness.” How could it not be? It’s made from 100 percent Arabica beans! Anyway, this is a House I’ve always been proud to be a member of. Their java is one of the few dependable things on my shelf — and that’s from someone who’s full of flavor with bitterness.

(2) El Pico

The can describes it as “a rich blend of selected beans, roasted in the Latin style,” and they’re not lying. It really tastes mountain-grown, and even if it isn’t, it’s stimulating shit that’s not meant for wusses. El Exigente would surely approve.

And my all-time favorite coffee …

(No, it’s not Starbucks. Yuck.)

It’s …

(1) Chock Full o’Nuts Original Blend

Yes, it’s truly a “heavenly coffee.” With one sip, it brings me back to the old Chock Full o’Nuts counter restaurants, where the coffee was out of this world (and the customers were from outer space). Drinking it now is both a sense-memory experience and a whole new beginning.

Thank you, Chock Full. Thank you, coffees. I’ll never stop buzzing about the buzz you give me.