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5 Coffee Resolutions for the New Year

5 Coffee Resolutions for the New Year

Words Erin Meister

Every year we start out with the best intentions, but let’s face it: most of us make resolutions that are impossible to keep. This year, let’s start with small but meaningful changes—and get caffeinated in the meantime! Here are five simple resolutions to help you improve your quality of coffee life, and who knows, maybe that coffee will perk you up enough to tackle all those other big self-reinvention goals on your list.

1. Support Your Local Coffee Shop
When it comes to beans, the fresher the better. Coffee beans at grocery stores are probably sitting a couple aisles away from the canned pinto beans, so you’re scoring points for convenience but probably losing out on freshness. On the other hand, coffee from a good-quality neighborhood coffee shop will almost always have a “roasted on” date, which is the mark of freshness. Buying your beans within two or three weeks of that date is the first step to making sure you are getting the most bang for your buck.

2. Keep Your Beans Fresh
Unless you drink a lot of coffee at home, it might take two weeks to work through an entire pound of beans. Rather than buy in bulk and let your coffee get stale, ask your local coffee shop (see item 1!) if they will sell you smaller than one-pound quantities. But if you do end up stocking up on beans, make sure to keep them fresh by storing them in an airtight container.

3. Try At Least One New Brewing Method
Are you stuck in a coffee rut? Have you been using the same brewer for 20 years? Have you been pushing an “on” button for so long you forget how to make coffee by hand? This is the year to start experimenting! You don’t have to go all out and buy a ton of geeky gear to change up your coffee routine. A simple pour-over brewer is an inexpensive investment that can be a fun and interesting coffee-science project for the cold, gray mornings of January or February. Take an hour or so to brew some test batches and get your technique down, then you can change up your brewing routine during the week to keep things interesting. (Here are some more tips for brewing great pour-over!)

4. Embrace Decaf or Half-Caf
I promise: decaf doesn’t have to be bad! Most decaf coffee suffers from being old, stale, and poorly brewed because coffee shops and baristas don’t have any incentive to pay it the same attention as its more-popular caffeinated counterparts. Make sure you buy fresh decaf coffee (see item 1 again!) and buy a little at a time if you can (see item 2!). Grind it fresh and brew it with care, and you’ll find you can enjoy delicious coffee any hour of the day or night. If you’re not quite ready to take the decaf plunge, go with half-caf: a 50-50 blend of decaf and regular coffee.

5. Keep It Simple
We all like delicious fancy doctored-up drinks every once in awhile, but they make it easy to forget or forgo the simple pleasure of a cup of plain ol’ coffee. If you’re a blended-drink obsessive, try something like an iced latte or mocha instead. If you go for vanilla-caramel latte, try a brewed coffee with honey and a splash of milk. If you are a milk-and-sugar type, try a cup black, just once.

Cutting back on the sweet and flavored stuff is not only good health-wise, it can also help diversify your preferences so you can enjoy more varied flavors and coffee experiences, which will help make 2017 an exciting and delicious year of coffee adventure.

By Erin Meister

Erin Meister is a freelance writer for OXO. She is a specialty-coffee professional with 15-plus years as a barista, café manager, wholesale account representative, speaker, and educator; she currently sells green coffee for the Minneapolis-based importing company Café Imports. You can also hear her on weekly episodes of "Opposites Extract: A Debate Podcast about Coffee," available on iTunes.

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