Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

How Not to Make Coffee

Albert Burneko, Deadspin:

The world has lots of very stupid ideas in it. One of them, one of the most harmful, is the prevailing idea of what it means for one thing to be technologically superior to another. Only a culture sunken to a really frightening and apocalyptic level of libertarian stupidity would regard the Keurig machine — a sophisticated, automated robot designed specifically and only to brew a single serving of coffee, rather than a big efficient pot of it; which presents only illusory ease and convenience only to whoever is using it at the moment of his or her use and to no one else, and only via fragile technologized mediations it wears atop its primary function like an anvil, or a bomb collar; which can be rendered literally unusable by the breakdown of needless components completely ancillary to that primary function — as a technological improvement upon the drip coffeemaker, or the French press, or putting some coffee grounds in a fucking saucepan with some water and holding it over a campfire for a little while until the water smells good. It is not technologically superior to any of those! It is vastly technologically inferior to all of them. It is a wasteful piece of trash. It is not a machine engineered to improve anything or to resolve a problem, but only and entirely the pretext for a sales pitch, a means to separate someone from their money.

Two things that Burneko does not cover in his otherwise comprehensive explanation of a Keurig machine’s failings: dosage and price per pound. Let’s start with dosage.

A K-Cup pod contains somewhere between 9 and 13 grams of coffee grounds. The coffee I make is a bit stronger than most people make, but it’s nowhere near knock-your-head-off territory; even so, I use about 20–22 grams of beans per cup in my AeroPress and follow a method similar to Kaye Joy Ong’s. But even if you like your coffee a little closer to average, you have to fall a long way to get to nine measly grams of beans. That and a Keurig’s low brewing temperature go a long way towards explaining why every cup of Keurig coffee I’ve ever had tastes like laundry water.

And then there’s the price of all of this — up to $50 per pound. There is almost nowhere on Earth you can’t get better coffee shipped to your door for less than $50 per pound. The Keurig is an utterly absurd way to brew expensive instant coffee not very well.

Update: It turns out that some fans of Sean Hannity are destroying their Keurig machines in a bizarre protest that they think offends liberals. This post has absolutely nothing to do with that. For extra credit, reflect on how absurd this update truly is.