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What type of coffee would you good people recommend as a quick and easy caffeine dose for staying alert? (specifically this, although I am fond of the taste too as a secondary factor!)

I am currently just drinking some pretty meh instant coffee every morning, two generous spoonfuls keeps me alert but it's a chore and it's not very appealing. I've never had some of the more exotic stuff like espressos, are they financially viable or advisable for someone who isn't a coffee connoisseur?

  • It's mostly dependent on you. Your body reacts differently to caffeine than my body. – NealC Nov 2 '15 at 14:42
  • If you want a decent retail coffee, I actually find McDonalds to be reasonably Ok. It aint' great but for the price, it is quite Ok – Coffee Nov 16 '15 at 16:54
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    «the more exotic stuff like espressos» I believe this strongly depends on where you live. In my country, whatever is not espresso is not considered worth enough to be called coffee. ;) – Andrea Lazzarotto Nov 25 '15 at 16:47
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Many factors are at play here. I assume we are talking about morning coffee and not about something that helps to pull you through the night of studying. So, the easiest (minimal amount of work in the morning) would be a drip coffee. Definitely an upgrade from instant. Many of machines allow you to preset the wake up time, so that you prepare everything at night, and then you wake in the morning to a ready cup (or two) of coffee waiting for you.

If you actually care about taste and want something that won't just give you a kick in the head, but actually be a pleasurable experience - buy real whole bean coffee, and grind it yourself.

As to a way to make coffee - that is a purely opinion based question. Some people love espresso. I like my french press. Some love their morning cappuccino, etc. You have to experiment and find your drink of choice. But the first best thing you can do, is to buy a whole bean coffee and grind it yourself. The taste difference (specially after an instant coffee) will be enormous!

Good Luck in your coffee adventure!

  • I'll try out the drip coffee, thanks. Sounds good, and the prep is done the day before. Thanks again! – Malnurturedㅤㅤㅤㅤ Nov 1 '15 at 19:51
  • You'll have to be pretty organised to remember the night before. When I used to make drip coffee I would get it started in 30 seconds on my way into the shower, and grab my freshly brewed coffee on the way out of the shower. – Galax Nov 18 '15 at 0:09
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The quickest and easiest foolproof way to make decent coffee is to get a dirt cheap percolator for drip coffee. French presses are fine too but are a bit more work and if the grind is irregular or too fine you can get a mouthful of coffee grounds in your cup.

You can ensure good flavour by regularly (e.g. two-weekly) buying freshly ground beans.

The next step up would be to grind your own beans, even better if you can get the beans freshly roasted from a good local coffee roaster (try their products if you can, some may suck but good roasters produce wonderful freshly roasted beans with lots of aroma).

You should try espresso based coffee for a bit before you consider buying an espresso machine. A good espresso machine is very quick and easy to use once it has come up to temperature, cheaper machines require a little more work if you want to steam milk but are just as easy for espresso shots. I've got quite a fancy machine but I think that the majority of the flavour is made by the coffee, a good machine just makes the process easier.

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I heard from Dr. Karl, an Australian radio science presenter, that some studies have suggested that caffeine doesn't actually keep you awake at all. The connection is that the caffeine only relieves the craving for caffeine, and it was the craving that was making you feel artificially groggy or lousy.

This would seem to only apply to regular drinkers of course, and anecdotally there seems a wealth of testimony that says caffeine makes it harder for people to sleep.

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