July 07, 2023

Wake Up and Smell the Truth: How Bad Coffee Is Taken for Granted

By Ronald Kelley
Wake Up and Smell the Truth: How Bad Coffee Is Taken for Granted


For an overwhelming majority of the population, coffee is part of a daily routine. Worldwide consumption is estimated at around 2 billion cups per day. If you are like me, you look forward to that first cup in the morning to get you going. But because grabbing a cup of joe and running off to our day is so much of a ritual, we often settle for a poor quality brew. And at the same time it's easy to overlook the negative impact that consuming poor quality coffee can have on our lives. In this article, we will explore some reasons why I believe that our daily coffee can be taken for granted and hopefully shed light on the consequences of consuming low-quality brews.

1. Sacrificing Quality for Convenience

In our fast-paced world, convenience often triumphs over quality. Instant coffee and pre-packaged coffee pods have gained popularity due to their ease of use and time-saving benefits. However, the convenience comes at the expense of flavor and freshness. Mass-produced coffee often lacks the complex flavors and nuances found in specialty coffee. By settling for the convenience of preparing a quick cup, we are missing out on the true coffee experience.

2. Unseen Health Risks

All coffee beans offer certain health benefits when consumed in moderation.  Yet there can be unseen risks in poor-quality beans, which may contain higher levels of contaminants, such as pesticides, mold, and toxins. Additionally, low-quality roasting processes can lead to the formation of harmful compounds, including increased levels of  acrylamide, which has been linked to various health issues. To be clear, all coffee contains acrylamide, but fresh roasted coffee contains far less than instant coffee, for example. The bottom line is that by disregarding the quality of our coffee, we might be compromising our well-being without even realizing it.

3. Impact on the Environment

The coffee industry, particularly mass production, contributes to significant environmental damage. Cheaper coffees often come from large-scale, monoculture farms that rely heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These practices lead to soil degradation, deforestation, and water pollution, posing a threat to ecosystems and biodiversity. By opting for better-quality specialty coffee produced through sustainable and ethical practices, we can support a healthier planet.

4. Economic Fairness

Another aspect often overlooked when it comes to where we source our coffee is the impact it has on the coffee farmers themselves. Cheap coffee tends to come from large-scale plantations that prioritize quantity over quality. These practices often exploit workers and pay them unfairly. By consciously choosing ethically sourced coffee and supporting fair-trade initiatives, we can contribute to a more equitable coffee industry and improve the livelihoods of farmers.

5. Missed Flavor Adventures

One of the joys of coffee lies in its diverse flavors and profiles. Poor quality coffee often lacks complexity, depth, and unique tasting notes that can be found in higher-quality beans. By settling for subpar brews, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to explore the world of coffee fully. Each origin, roast level, and brewing method unlocks a new experience, providing a delightful journey for our taste buds.

6. Underappreciating the Craft

Behind every cup of good coffee lies the dedication and expertise of coffee farmers, roasters, and baristas. Specialty coffee is the result of a meticulous process, from growing and harvesting the beans to roasting them to perfection and finally brewing a delightful cup. By consuming bad coffee without considering the craftsmanship involved, we fail to acknowledge and support the hard work of those in the coffee industry who strive for excellence.


I believe there are consequences to consuming bad coffee without considering its sourcing and quality. By sacrificing flavor, health, and the environment, we miss out on the true potential of this beloved beverage. It's time to shift our focus towards appreciating the craftsmanship, supporting sustainable practices, and indulging in the richness of high-quality coffee. So, let's wake up and smell the truth—bad coffee should no longer be taken for granted.

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