How “Bad” Coffee Took Over America – Cheddar Explains

How “Bad” Coffee Took Over America – Cheddar Explains


I mean, like 90 percent of the coffee that’s consumed is bad coffee. Yeah. I don’t really love it which is the nice way of saying I hate it. Yeah, it’s bitter. Okay, bad. So my favorite cup of coffee is from the street cart right outside of my apartment. I mean, we all have our go-to spots for a good cup of coffee, whether it’s because it’s cheapest, fastest or we just like that taste the best. My go-to spot for coffee is a independent place with $4 cold brew. Probably, Starbucks just because I live in New York and there’s one on almost every block. Starbucks, closest to the office. Starbucks. Opinions aside, it got me wondering, what makes an objectively good cup of coffee? Objectively speaking, a good cup of coffee is sourced well, roasted well, and has a balanced flavor. A bad cup of coffee is the opposite, it’s the opposite of everything I just said, right? The majority of people that drink coffee drink bad coffee. The percentage of people that drink good coffee is under 10 percent. That’s because Americans never really drank good coffee in the first place. Oh boy. So we are doing a taste test, and there are three levels of quality which are low, medium, and high. We are basically going to smell the grounds, drink the coffee, and then compare. Let’s see who can pick out the good coffee and who’s been conditioned to like bad coffee. Wow. That’s like someone put a piece of charcoal in water and said, “Here, there you go.” So this one just tastes acrid and bitter and burnt. It’s very watery. It doesn’t go down smooth, it’s a sharp taste. I don’t want to finish drinking this small amount, let alone a whole cup. It’s not like drowned out with milk and sugar. I can’t. That tastes worse, and worse, and worse. Did I like that at one point? Ultimately, while most people think coffee is subjective, it is not. It either is or it isn’t. Like restaurants in New York City have a set grading system, coffee has its own grading system as well. All coffee is graded by certified Q-Graders who are certified by the Coffee Quality Institute. They had to take the equivalent of the bar exam for coffee, and analyze coffee through a process called cupping. It is based on a number of components. So those components are all graded, and if coffee scores an 80 or above, it is considered a specialty-grade coffee. There’s a line that happens at specialty, and anything that falls below it, it’s so bad, right? It tastes so bad. The majority of franchises serve below specialty-grade coffee. Yeah, that one’s a lot better, it’s about less acidic and it does not taste like what I’d imagine garbage juice to taste like. This one tastes a little more watered down, I think. I hate it less. The aftertaste’s nice. It’s definitely way better than that was. This is okay. For right now, people are drinking terrible coffee, and they have absolutely no idea how bad it is. It has a lot to do with marketing. One hundred percent Arabica beans sounds like it’s promising a really good cup of coffee, when really it’s just promising not to be the absolute worst. The language that people use. Heavy words, right? Like bold and dark. Well, who’s using those words? It’s not us. We’re not using those words. We become so accustomed to this language that we don’t know anything else. Until the Boston Tea Party in 1773, America was a tea country. But during the American Revolution, a large number of Americans switched to coffee because tea had become unpatriotic. Fast forward to the 1900s when it really started to become popular. Instant coffee started making the rounds during World War One. American soldiers were drinking the coffee daily to increase mental awareness and mobility during battle, and they needed something to make quickly in the field. This instant fix became addicting, and when soldiers went home they wanted something familiar and tasty. But as we all know, instant coffee isn’t exactly high-quality coffee. Honey, your coffee just doesn’t taste any good. If I tell you that this is the delicious cup of coffee and you taste it, you don’t know any better than it’s a delicious cup of coffee. You’re going to go, “Oh, interesting.” But then you have a feeling to it, right, and so we become accustomed to the warmth of it, to the caffeine high that we get from it. We can become conditioned in that. So this wave of instant coffee that entered the homes of millions across America was known as the first wave of coffee. The second wave of coffee came with the creation of Starbucks coffee in 1971. They introduced fresh-roasted coffee beans to the mass public and started to change the public’s expectations when it came to coffee. According to today’s standards, Starbucks doesn’t have the absolute best cup of coffee. But at the time, this was the best coffee that was accessible to the mass public. Starbucks cemented America’s coffee-drinking culture and paved the way for the modern specialty coffee industry to exist today which leads us to the third wave of coffee shops that are happening today. Smaller independently-owned specialty coffee shops are on the rise. From harvesting and roasting, to the cup that’s handed to you at the counter, these shops and roasters are paying special attention to the product that’s being delivered. This one tastes like a little bit of the acrid one, little bit of the balanced one, so maybe it’s the Goldilocks one. I don’t know. Is this the same one as the first one? No. This one tastes the most like water, which means I like it the most. I think this one tastes best. Does that mean this is the right one? Am I right? I am right. All right, that’s awesome. Lowest, middle, highest. Second best, worst. Best, medium, worst. Oh, I drink it all. One, two, three. Liking this one the most. Wow, so I liked the best coffee. What a sophisticated palate I have because all I drink is water. This one’s the best, this was the second best, this was the worst. When people drink a cup of coffee, they’re not focusing on those components of the coffee. They’re focusing on whether or not they can actually drink the cup of coffee. So what they do is they add milk, and they add tons of sugar, and they add all these other things to make it taste like what they believe coffee is supposed to taste like. From the wars to Starbucks, we’ve been conditioned to believe that the vast majority of coffee is good, but it’s objectively not. For me, I’m okay with that because street-cart coffee hits the spot. But for others, it might not be the case I hate coffee. I think it’s really bitter. I hate the way it smells, it’s brown which is not appealing. I don’t know. I don’t really care for caffeine or coffee or anything about this. 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100 thoughts on “How “Bad” Coffee Took Over America – Cheddar Explains

  1. One of the most condescending and pretentious videos on YouTube… like seriously if you pay over $5 for shitty Starbs coffee daily, and live in Manhattan on a trust fund thinking you know all about coffee… just no, re-evaluate your ignorance & shut the fuck up. No need to shove your hollow opinions into an eight min video. These people reviewing this coffee in this video are so out of touch, drawn out by their own bias and stupidity. It's all SUBJECTIVE. There is no logical reason to try & cherry pick events accordingly to justify the making of this garbage video. Just admit it, y'all are talking out of your ass. It is a shame I wasted 4 min on this video. Just purchase an organic bag of coffee for $8 to $15 dollars and it will last you up to 3 weeks. No need to waste your hard earned money every single day and throw away single use paper/plastic. These idiots really think they're changing societal taste with their shallow, snobby opinions.

  2. Cheddar – Some constructive criticism: don’t bury the lede. Virtually every channel does it’s best to force viewers to watch their videos as long as possible by promising to answer an interesting question (“How bad coffee took over America”) but padding the run time with everything BUT the answer to that question. I can only speak for myself, but that’s a big turn off.

    I generally like your videos, which is why I subscribed, but padding the run time is so rampant that I am unsubscribing from many channels that do it. I know that monetization favors longer videos, which makes the practice even more irritating.

    I think you will make more money over the long term if you do your best not to pad the runtime. I may be wrong, but I doubt it. I stopped watching this video at the 2:32 mark because it clearly wasn’t moving towards addressing the topic in your title.

  3. People put cream and sugar in coffee because they don’t like the taste. Coffee is bitter and people don’t like bitter people like sweet nobody decides to squeeze an entire lemon wedge in their mouth they would much rather have a glass of lemonade.

  4. if starbucks is your favorite coffee i dont trust your opinion im sorry but there is much fresher and better coffee especially in new york

  5. HA HA HA third wave going mainstream ( PLEASE DRING GOOD COFFEE ) also if you go to a coffee shop: 1.BE NICE TO YOUR BARISTA 2.BE RESPECTFUL AND AWARE OF THE SPACE YOU ARE ENTERING 3. ALWAYS TIP YOUR BARISTA. WE PUT A LOT OF LOVE TIME AND KNOWLEDGE TO GIVE YOU THE BEST COFFEE POSSIBLE

  6. I have tried Starbucks so many times I can’t remember and I feel like I just don’t like it McDonald’s over in this country England is not bad but I do like my Costa Coffee and when I go round to some friends house and they have a real coffee machine that’s good

  7. While I’m a coffee snob myself, I don’t like to tell people that their drink is inferior or superior or equal to mine. My parents like instant coffee, most of my friends like kureig coffee, a few use pour over method with crappy store bought beans, and very very few are like me and enjoy buying fresh local beans and grinding them with my burr grinder and using my aeropress to brew a nice strong and balanced cup. I agree that this video is dumb because it never actually explains what good coffee is or describes what it tastes like. In my humble opinion, good coffee tastes like a toasted dried fruit beverage. Yes that’s right, it’s supposed to be fruity and lightly acidic or citrusy. This comes from beans that are fresh and roasted medium light to medium dark. Too light tastes too grassy to me and too dark taste like burnt bitter charcoal. Let’s remember that coffee is basically a roasted cherry seed. The natural flavors should be fruit forward. That’s my 2cent. If light or dark-burnt coffee are your thing then do you boo.

  8. Don’t let people tell you what is “good” coffee. That’s how wine snobs were made. You decide what’s good with your money and personal taste.

  9. Reminds me of wine tasters who actually can’t tell tell the difference between low quality wine versus fancy wine. The coffee critics were annoying af

  10. I was a toddler when I started to love coffee; the aroma, the taste, the warmth. There was never a time when i wasn't begging for some. Now, I try just about every coffee that hits the market. There are some really terrible ones out there, but there are some wonderful ones too.

  11. McDonald's coffee mofooo, or the store brand from stop and shop or where ever if you're making at home, is my favorite. But I like my coffee as black as my soul soo..ya…lol. I'm sure that's all "bad" coffee, as is Starbucks, Dunkin, etc. But I cannot stand coffee from any place besides McD's, or gas stations. By far the most delish if you ask me.

  12. everyday i learn something about america that makes me question 1. if it’s even real 2. how the fuck americans live 3. how are they happy 4. wtf is american culture

  13. Saying that Starbucks is the reason for speciality coffee is an absolute fuck you to any country with a developed coffee culture, like idk maybe fuckin Italy

  14. Imagine being so pretentious that you'd say your own personal taste experience was objective. Literally the definition of subjective.

  15. I blame Starbucks for convincing us that French Roast is good coffee. Good coffee should be enjoyable without milk or sugar.

  16. Everyone else in the comments: "Oh my God This video sucks so much"

    Me: "I don't care f I just wasted eight minutes. Everything about the picture at 4:20 is perfect. Funniest thing I've seen all day"

  17. OBJECTIVELY, coffee is something that has emotional associations for some people. I've been drinking Maxwell House since I was old enough to drink coffee because that's what my mom always bought. This was before there were 100 different kinds of coffee on the shelf – there was basically Folgers, Maxwell House, and Community, plus a store brand that looked and tasted like sawdust.

    There is still an association with getting up early to have coffee with my dad before he went to work or, years later, stopping by to check on grandma and staying for a cup. The $20/lb stuff at the specialty store that is OBJECTIVELY better doesn't give me the same feeling.

    Some people like records even though CD's have a higher dynamic range and lower noise floor. Some people like their steak well done even though it takes like half a day to cook and doesn't have as much flavor. Some people like Folgers.

    Quit telling them they're stupid or uninformed – maybe they really do just like something different from you.

  18. These two assholes sound like they're being interviewed by the Bobs.
    "We tell you what coffee is better so your tongue doesn't have to!" What the hell is wrong with you people!"

  19. I drink coffee for the caffeine. And to take a shit. I'm not paying money to do either of these, so the office coffee is what it is.

  20. Fuck you cheddar you lying liars. You have lost all credibility, and definitely not because of this video. Reflect on what you did you lying liars.

  21. This is biased nonsense.

    1:43 “Let’s see who can pick out the ‘good’ coffee and who was ‘conditioned to like bad’ coffee”

    People like what they like. Very few people have finely developed pallets and are able to detect ‘cherries, chocolate with a hint of honeyed pear’ when they taste coffees or wines or scotches.

  22. No, people add sugar and milk if they want to, to make it enjoyable to them. It’s about preference. The two barista snobs are funny – I could see them crying about why people aren’t walking cross town to buy more and more of their premium and most excellent product, it’s CLEARLY superior to all other options!

    I’m sure that they gladly provide sugar and milk and cream and half/half and skim milk and soy milk and honey (three types) and cinnamon (Ceylon) and nutmeg and any other stuff people want to dump into their premium product – because it’s all about them turning a buck after all.

  23. What the hell even was this video? I like plain black coffee that is intensely bitter, most people I know don't. That doesn't mean that I like 'bad coffee' or that they like 'bad coffee' because taste is entirely subjective. My dad can't even taste bitter, so to him coffee that is meant to taste bitter might taste sweet or whatnot. Taste is entirely subjective, but it seems like the consensus on this video isn't. Bad video, 2/10.

  24. This was nothing more than an infomercial for the hipster 3rd wave coffee industry. Brought to you by the same kind of assholes who told you the tea you were drinking isnt good tea and proceeded to tell you that real tea is made from rose hips, ginger and chamomile, none of which are teas at all.
    The same kind of dipshits who will tell you a 1909 Schwinn bicycle is superior to a brand new Specialized.

  25. The comments are pretty spot-on here. Pretentious nonsense. Objectively better? Better for what? Are the objectively better coffees better at getting caffeine inside you? Because I'm pretty sure that's the entire point, and, as with whiskey, anyone who says they just drink it for the taste and not the effects is a liar.

  26. I was interested in what makes a good coffee and a bad one. Reading the comments I can tell I'd be wasting my time. I'm out

  27. I drink "cow boy" coffee, it's a low quality bean, but it taste better than some of the highest grade I've had

  28. I have never had a decent cup of coffee in America. In 1970 it was just shit. 2008 it was bad, 2012 it was not better and finally in 2014 I found a coffee shop in L.A. with a proper espresso machine run by an Australian barista. Perfect coffee. Then Gloria Jean opened dozen's of shops around Australia. That lasted six months and they left with their tails between their legs. GJ closed. Australians are spoiled for good coffee. No-one would touch filter or percolated rubbish. Even Starbucks here now use espresso machines, unfortunately the coffee is still no good. But we have hundreds of independent coffee shops serving perfect coffee.

  29. "Instant coffee started in World War One."

    shows pictures from World War Two

    I think non-sensical, pretentious vanity stories are worse than any drip coffee McDonalds is serving.

  30. Special agent Dale Cooper(Twin Peaks) talked about the virtues of a fresh cup of hot black coffee. That stopped me forever from putting sugar in coffee. Although I still use some half and half, because, unless it's coffee I made myself, it tends to drop my blood giucose.

  31. Starbucks failed in Australia, because their coffee was undrinkable. I don't why they bothered coming here, considering a high quality coffee culture has been around for decades. I did try one cup…. it was super-heated, brown colored water. That's about the kindest thing I could say about it.

  32. Lol. Americans like to think they make good coffee. Judging by all the negative comments sounds like quite a few are offended. Sure, you should drink what you like. But that doesn’t make it good quality by generally accepted industry standards. Would you say all wine is equal in quality?

  33. I drink cheap instant coffee. I microwave 2 cups of water for 3 minutes in a measuring cup, then pour that into a large mug containing 1 tsp of instant coffee (sometimes 1.5 tsp). And I drink it black. It still tastes better than Starbucks and costs 1/100th the price.

  34. This video wandered all over the place.
    Presented a premise that something is objectively true, but then polled an audience for subjective opinions.
    Offered derision for coffees that are not highly rated, but offered little with regard to highly rated coffees.
    Closing bit was in conflict to the premise that it’s objective: “Food cart coffee does it for me because it hits the spot”

    Alright, cool….all that to say “just enjoy what you like” ?

  35. Sorry to break it to you, millennials, but Starbucks is garbage coffee. Battery acid with brown food coloring is NOT coffee.
    Go to Europe or South America. Unless you drink foreign roasted coffee you are drinking sludge.
    Imho the coffee cart coffee she drinks from the cart outside her building will do just fine as a wake me up in the morning.
    Frightening to conceive that this is the generation that is set to run our country in 2032.

  36. What a load of BS. Couldn't watch this. If people like the coffee, it's good coffee. Who cares what the "certified" a-holes think. Equivalent of a Bar Exam. What a pile of crap.

  37. I wonder if coffee is one of those ingestibles that teases nearly every part of the tongue/nasal cavity? And a 'balanced' cup of coffee is 'objectively' a good cup of coffee, Goldilocks-styles? Perhaps the reason it's hard to make a hard-and-fast rule about it is because we all have inbuilt preferences. What tastes like swill to one person is ambrosia to another. I have a personal interest in it: I lost my sense of smell about a decade ago. Since that time my taste preferences have gone wildly awol. I can drink a glass of neat unrefined cider vinegar, and it tastes sweet and delicious to me. Regular chocolate tastes way, way too sweet for me now. Every chocolate under 70% cacao tastes too sweet: the less sugar the better. Raw onions, raw garlic, ooh yum. (Pity the poor wife.)

  38. I've gotten the impression most people who drink coffee now want what they had when they were children, just with a kick.

  39. “Hey peasant, that “coffee” you are drinking is actually just shit water, if you want to drink real coffee you can buy our extreme high quality luxury deluxe aromatic double roast that is harvested by Colombian supermodels for just 10 times the price!”

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