‘Coffee Week’ Posts

Make Great Iced Coffee with Coffee Ice Cubes

There’s nothing better than waking up to a hot cup of joe on a cold winter morning. And while it’s also great during the warmer seasons, often times you may want a cooler beverage to get you through the day. Nowadays, you can drive by Starbucks or any fast food place that serves breakfast and ...

How to Find the Best Coffee Beans in Your Area

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Beans, beans the magical fruit. Image from flickr user nate steiner

When it comes to most things, the final product will be crappy if the initial ingredients are crappy, jungle juice being the exception. Because coffee is by now a twice-daily part of your life, shouldn't you treat it with some respect? Today, we'll be talking about getting the best beans in your area.

When it comes to coffee beans, there's the order of quality is usually based on where (non-geographically) the beans come from. In descending order: your backyard farm, a coffee shop that knows what it's doing (e.g. Intelligentsia, Philz, Blue Bottle), a fru fru grocery store (like Whole Foods or Bristol Farms), a local, mediocre coffee shop, Starbucks and its competitors and finally run-of-the-mill grocery stores (Safeway, Ralph's, Vons, etc.).

How to Make Killer Iced Coffee (it’s easy)

Don’t you dare put that pitcher of coffee in the fridge! My summer gets a little more winter-y every time someone does that — not the nice kind of winter — the sludgy, crappy part where all the snow is melting and ruining my life. “Fresh brewed coffee” is a cliche because coffee is so ...

Commie Coffee – is it a Fair Trade?

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Today, we're addressing "fair trade" coffee. Believe it or not, there's a workaround in how you buy your coffee that keeps it truly "fair."

The common misconception is that "fair trade certified" coffee is the best bean to go with from a social perspective. People trash Starbucks for poor Fair Trade support – but buy your coffee just about anywhere that has a billboard and you’ll be a part of similar corporate shenanigans.

First, here’s a little introduction. Before coffee gets into your cup, it’s grown, picked, processed, shipped, roasted and ground, in that order. Usually, a corporation stands in front of everything and just gives you the roasted, pre-ground (or even flavored) beans. And since they’re standing there, blocking the rest of the process, there’s no transparency. You get bags of beans that don’t denote roast levels or region specifics. You need something like “fair trade certification,” or you’d never know what’s going on. The certification guarantees that farmers (way back in the very first step of the process) were paid at least a “fair” price for the coffee – enough to live on. There's essentially a minimum amount of money that the farmers are gauranteed to have been paid.

Roasting Coffee at Home with a Popcorn Popper

Next week, we’ll tell you how to track down the best roasted beans in your area. But if your college is out in the boonies, like many are, there’s probably no locally-roasted coffee at all. In that case, you might want to treat yourself to some dorm-roasted coffee. It’s actually not that complicated. All you ...

Making a Better Latte with a Walmart Espresso Machine

Image from flickr user MiikaS My sophomore year, I woke up Christmas morning to an espresso machine. Hooray! I thought, my life would be filled with delicious lattes every morning with leaf patterns or heart patterns or whatever pattern I wanted to make with the milk. I plugged immediately plugged it in and made my first ...

Brewing Methods for Cheaper, Better, Faster Coffee

Why does Starbucks coffee taste different when we make it ourselves than it does in the store? It’s still the same over-roasted stale beans, but some how it tastes even worse at home. It’s because Starbucks coffee shops have some of the most kickass brewing equipment around.  (There are other factors we’ve already covered, too.) ...

13 Caffeine-Free Ways to Get More Energy

WAKE UP!It may be coffee week here at HackCollege (and don’t get me wrong – I heart coffee. I’m drinking it as I write this post), but coffee can become more of a crutch than an aid for a college student. When you wake up, many people’s first inclination is to get a cup of ...

The Basics of Good Coffee

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Photo from flickr user Ben Cumming.

This post is part of the on-going Coffee Week series.

Before we get into the nitty-grindy of making lattes and selecting the right beans, it helps to know the elements of a perfect cup of coffee.

Given the simplicity of coffee, one might think it would be difficult to mess up. But the elements of a good cup of coffee are also very delicate. Without the proper attention, you could easily make a crappy cup of coffee (and most people do, day in and day out without realizing it).

More coffee after the jump!

Introducing Coffee Week

Ahh, coffee. An essential ingredient of productivity, especially for students. The mixture of it’s chocolaty smell, it’s caffeine-bestowing abilities and its social aspects give many students a reason to wake up in the morning. Nothing can beat a great cup of coffee. Since we here at HackCollege are caffeine addicts, we’ve decided to put together ...