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What Is The Perfect Cup of Coffee? What Is The Perfect Cup of Coffee?
“Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.” attributed to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord on Coffee. Whenever I... What Is The Perfect Cup of Coffee?

“Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.” attributed to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord on Coffee.

Whenever I stop at a doughnut shop in the morning, I walk over and say hi to the old guys, enjoying their morning coffee with old friends. I am doing research to determine what group I am going to join. I am sure they have heard each other’s good stories many times. But that doesn’t stop them from gathering each morning. There is a feeling of humor, stability, and good times emanating from those regulars over coffee.

Seems like a nice way to start your morning – when I retire that is.
Trouble is if I join a group, there will have to be rules. For instance, no discussion of your latest medical procedures!

The real reason the old guys gather and linger is because coffee is a good social drink. You have to take time to sit and enjoy the cup of coffee because you can’t work and savor coffee. Besides, it cuts through the sweet donuts.

In addition coffee is additive. It stimulates the brain and you feel alive. You get a nice release of dopamine and warms you up.

What is the best coffee cup?

What is the best coffee cup? By that I mean the cup you drink your coffee from. A favorite fictional character Jack Reacher (author Lee Child) got me thinking about this question.

The best coffee is hot coffee. By the time the coffee becomes cold, it goes down the drain. So, a cup that keeps it hot for as long as possible is ideal. A good coffee cup delivers coffee at the proper temperature.

For me the ideal temperature is about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. When it reaches 130 degrees Fahrenheit it is drinkable but barely.

Here are my criteria for a perfect cup (IMHO).

A normal sized mug or cup in the 6-8 oz range. I avoid the oversized ones. By the time I can finish 12 to 16 ounces the last bit is cold or cool. There is no reason I can’t refill my cup over and over again and enjoy hot coffee. If you need to travel, put the reserve coffee in a good thermos.

I have measured the diameter of the top of countless coffee cups. The best cups are 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter. Two and a half inches is better than three inches! The reason for a smaller opening is that the small surface area loses less heat yet is sufficient to allow the aroma to enhance the taste.

Ceramic cups are the best. They retain heat and are neutral in imparting any additional flavor.
Glass is neutral but does not retain heat.

Paper is just pain nasty, loses heat and your lips stick to the rim. Plastic is not much better than paper. Double-walled stainless-steel cups are, again IMHO, second best and great for camping. It retains heat, will not break.

A commuter cup, built like a thermos in stainless steel (e.g., some YETI cups), will keep the coffee hot for hours but I find it too hot to drink straight out of the bottle. I need to pour it into a regular cup. The same is true for store bought coffee. As you walk out the coffee is well above 160- 170 degrees. The lid needs to be removed to allow the coffee to cool.

If you want proof, just look at a Denny’s coffee cup. They have to serve a good hot cup of coffee each and every time. It is ceramic, the sides are ¼ inch thick, the top is 2.5 inches in diameter and it holds 8 ounces when filled to the rim. Perfect. And they keep filling it up.

Coffee is brewed at 195- 205 degrees Fahrenheit. A thick-walled ceramic cup absorbs some of the heat bringing it down more rapidly into the 150-degree range and transferring heat back as the coffee cools. Adding cream will also  affect the temperature quickly.

The proper coffee cup allows you to enjoy your coffee. A ceramic cup, roughly 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter is ideal while a double-walled stainless-steel cup is perfect for outdoors.

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Tom Severin

Tom Severin is an International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers Association© certified professional 4WD Trainer and a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), and President, Badlands Off Road Adventures.