Coffee · Opinion

The Best Cup Of Coffee Is A Bad Cup Of Coffee

I read a blog a few weeks back, and unfortunately can’t find it again, about how sometimes the best cup of coffee is a bad cup of coffee. I was surprised that I agreed because the best cups of coffee have been bad. The best coffee wasn’t always the fancy artisan blends, but the coffee I needed in the moment.

So, I’m going to talk about the best cups of coffee I’ve had, and stare disdainfully at the empty cup of Nescafé Instant next to me as I do so, and the worst because my god sometimes bad coffee really is bad coffee.

1. Study Coffee

freelancer browsing laptop and taking notes in notebook during work
Photo by William Fortunato on

I refer to this one as “Study coffee.” During the dreaded Leaving Cert, my weekends were spent locked in a study hall located next to a shopping centre. Obviously, after studying for hours, I was in dire need of caffeine.

I looked awful because I had temporarily given up on appearance; I felt awful because I spent my only days off school doing more work. The highlight of my life was taking a 15-minute break where I would crawl to the kitchen with my oatcakes and my coffee as if I was about to literally drop dead without it.

This coffee was the cheapest of the cheap. I’m talking literal Euro Shop coffee here (which surprisingly doesn’t taste as bad as you’d think), and it was perfect. It was just what I needed to warm my soul and prevent me from passing out on my exam papers.

2. Bewley’s Hotel Instant Coffee

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I’m not overly fond of Bewley’s coffee, I don’t hate it, but it’s a bit too acidic for my liking. However, a few years ago, on a school trip to Galway as part of an exchange program, I took to the little sachets of coffee that are a beloved facet of every hotel room.

It was divine. For some reason, Bewley’s Hotel Instant is better than a “real” cup you get in a café, or maybe there’s something in the air in Galway that makes their coffee better than anywhere else because it’s never tasted as good since.

3. The “After A Big Meal” Cup Of Coffee

blue coffee cup with saucer filled with coffee on top of wicker table
Photo by Julia Sakelli on

There is nothing I want more than oily black coffee after a big meal sometimes. I think the oily texture and taste comes from literally sitting in the machine all night. As disgusting as it is, it somehow hits the spot better than desert ever could.

4. Tim Horton’s Machine Coffee

Tim Hortons smiley face coffee cup New York

We don’t have Tim Horton’s cafés in Ireland so I had to get it out of a self-service machine in Spar. Most people I know don’t actually like it, but I love it. I can’t even explain why but those latte’s are to die for, I normally don’t like bitter coffee but Tim Horton’s nails it. Unfortunately, the Tim Horton’s machines have been replaced by an inferior brand, so maybe I’ll just move to Canada.

Edit: I got to go to a real Tim Horton’s café in 2018 in New York.

5. Full Board Unlimited Spanish Coffee Con Leche

coffee next to travel notebook in spainIn my last blogpost I mentioned being in Torremolinos last summer. My parents made the smart decision of going full board in the hotel, which for me meant unlimited free coffee. A saying of mine is “free coffee is the best coffee.”

The coffee wasn’t the same as a latte or cappuccino as the consistency was different. I think it was scalded milk.

All along I’ve believed the purpose of putting milk into coffee is to cool it down, and for taste, so this was peculiar. It grew on me. Despite only being there a week the coffee at home felt weird for a while. I miss the abundance of free coffee every day, and piña coladas by the pool. 

6. The Coffee At Work

white ceramic mug on espresso machine filling with brown liquid
Photo by Chevanon Photography on

I don’t know what coffee we use at work but it is surprisingly good. I normally don’t get to work in the café section but they barista trained me so I make myself mochas all day. It makes spending all weekend stuck with screaming drooling kids bearable. A kids play centre is the last place you’d expect good coffee, but it’s the one good thing about the job. One of these days I think I might ask what the beans are and make it at home.

7. Cellar Door

Badger & Dodo mochas in cellar door, limerick

My favourite coffee beans in the world is without a doubt Badger & Dodo beans. I actually asked for a coffee grinder and specifically Badger & Dodo for Christmas this year. Aside from the tattoo kit I got at my dad’s work Christmas party when I was a kid (which to their dismay is probably why I love tattoo’s so much now) I consider it the best Christmas present I’ve ever received.

I fell in love with Badger & Dodo in a beautiful café called the Cellar Door. I spent a summer drinking mochas almost every day. It was cosy, unique, and felt like home.

Cellar Door has since closed down but it genuinely changed my life. Prior to its existence, I hadn’t much of a social life and next to no friends. I still have the people in my life, but no cup of coffee I made can compare to theirs. So there is a lot of nostalgia here but coffee was genuinely better than any I’ve drunk thus far.

The Worst Cups Of Coffee

1. Ikea

person writing on notebook while holding a cup of coffee
Photo by Cup of Couple on

You don’t go to Ikea for the food or the coffee, but it was brown water in a Styrofoam cup. I understand that they would be more concerned with their furniture and whatnot, but I had to throw it out.

I’m the type of person who considers it sinful not to finish a cup, so this says a lot.

2. Grumpy Mule In College

woman in red coat holding notebooks and coffee cup
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

This was not coffee, it was dirt in hot water.

3. Fancy Hotel Coffee

woman holding a cup of coffee
Photo by Engin Akyurt on

Earlier this month I was in Dublin for J1 interviews which were in a hotel. I’m not naming and shaming them, but I got up at about 6 am to get the bus to Dublin. I was still sitting in the hotel lobby at 4 pm waiting for my friend to finish up. As you can imagine I was barely conscious. As I approached the bar, my favourite scent hit me and it smelled heavenly.

I paid €3.50 for the smallest Americano I have ever seen. It tasted just as bad as Ikea. I didn’t even get a caffeine kick from it. For some reason, the coffee that smells the best tastes the worst as I remember having high hopes for the Grumpy Mule after how nice the café smelt.

4. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

Autumn starbucks cup with Aisling name on pumpkin spice latte

I’ve said before that while Starbucks does a good hot chocolate, their coffee is overrated. A Starbucks opened in town, and curious about the pumpkin pie latte craze I had to try one. I actually love pumpkin spice and make a mean pumpkin spice latte at home.

As basic white girl as it may be I was looking forward to this experience. I paid €4 to drink sugar-y milk, I don’t even put sugar in my coffee. I could not taste any coffee or pumpkin spice. I’m not even exaggerating, I felt like my stomach was lined with sugar and wanted to puke for the rest of the day.

What does coffee mean to you? Is the best cup of coffee a bad cup of coffee? Check out my Deathwish Coffee review too.

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4 thoughts on “The Best Cup Of Coffee Is A Bad Cup Of Coffee

  1. You definitely know your coffee! I kind of go with the rule of thumb that if it’s hot and I can have a lot of french vanilla creamer I’m good! This mama is usually in a much better mood after my coffee!

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