I love coffee. I'm a self-confessed coffee snob and someone who obsesses over details. I roast my own beans, own six different brewing methods, and have a professional ceramic burr grinder on my Amazon wish list. However, since I turned 70 I can no longer tolerate the caffeine after 3:30, which is sad.
What's sadder, however, is just how many Americans drink bad coffee. It's not your fault. You don't know any better. You probably grew up thinking that this Folgers that's been sitting in the office percolator for four hours is just what coffee is. It isn't. Coffee is a marvelous substance, full of subtle flavors and nuance. It deserves respect.
Tottenham Hotspur played a match against Stoke City where they more or less dominated until the last 30 minutes, but errors and panic led to two late goals and they ended with a draw. Much like coffee, Tottenham is somewhat nuanced, and also can run the gamut from excellent to s**t.
So here are the Cartilage Free Captain writing staff's player ratings, to the theme of "Ways to Make Coffee."
5 Stars – Pour-Over
This is one of the easiest ways to make coffee, and still one of the best. Get a plastic or ceramic one-cup brewer for $5, a filter, some good coffee, and heat up some water. It's hard to go wrong. If you're careful you can get a full-flavored cup of coffee that will beat the pants off of anything you can buy at Starbucks. I'd recommend getting a Clever Coffee Dripper which has a neat little valve at the bottom that triggers when you place it on top of a mug. It allows you to control the brew time a little better. A pour-over can even make bad supermarket coffee taste a little bit better.
Hugo Lloris: Hugo was fantastic on Saturday, despite the late goals, neither of which he could do much about. Penalties are tough to save in the best of circumstances, and Diouf's equalizer was close enough that Hugo had no chance. He did, however, have a couple of fantastic stops of the course of the match and without him in goal we lose that match.
Mousa Dembele: Never let it be said that Mousa Dembele does not play hard. Dembele looks completely committed to the cause and was all over the pitch today, dragging defenders out of position, cutting inside, but not neglecting defensive duties. He completed 88% of his passes and had five tackles in midfield. He's rightfully keeping Eric Lamela out of the starting lineup, and while I like him better playing centrally, he's been a breath of fresh air on the right flank thus far.
Eric Dier: Another fine outing for Dier. He's not flashy, he's not dynamic, but he's been absolutely solid as a defensive midfielder for Tottenham's first two matches. On Saturday he was solid with his passing, and had two key passes that led to big chances. I keep cautioning myself that he's not really a DM and Dier keeps exceeding my expectations. So maybe this means he actually is a good DM... or can be.
Harry Kane: Kane's still not off the block when it comes to scoring, but not for lack of trying. He had one that was called back as offside, and otherwise ran his butt off trying to shake off double-teams and frequently dropped deep to bring in teammates. His importance was emphasized as his substitution was the exact moment that Tottenham started to trail off on the pitch. I get why he was subbed off, but he's so crucial to the success of Tottenham that basically, if he's not dead, he needs to keep playing.
4 Stars – Aeropress
The runner-up to this category was cold brew. Cold brew coffee is admittedly very good, and so trendy right now, but I'm limiting this to hot coffee applications. Come at me, bro. And few things are better than the Aeropress. Developed by the maker of the Aerobie flying disc, it looks like a plastic plunger but makes a very smooth cup of coffee, and even a passably good "mock espresso" if you can't get the real thing. Small enough to throw into a briefcase, so long as you have good coffee and hot water available, you can make a very good cup of coffee anywhere you are. Suggestion: buy the metal reusable filter instead of the paper ones.
Ryan Mason: In my post-match observations I gave a somewhat back-handed compliment to Mason, but the truth is he had a really nice match. He's an easy target sometimes thanks to the low bar that was set for him based on his performances last season. But Mason was a big reason why Spurs dominated the first half; his forward runs complemented Dier quite well, and his passing was good (though his long passing was not). He had a couple of key interceptions and clearances, too. Overall, a good day at the office for Ryan, and I'm sorry I was a jerk.
Christian Eriksen: Christian swapped roles with Nacer Chadli for this match which meant he wasn't as active around the box as what we're used to. Even so, his passing was very good and he had a few chances on goal that were saved by an excellent Jack Butland. I get the sense that he really hasn't found his groove yet, but he will, and then watch out.
Nacer Chadli (CAM): Chadli started centrally for this match and did very well. He was let down by a botched touch that effectively negated a scoring opportunity, but he made up for it later by nabbing the second goal. This was the Good Chadli™ that we love watching, who pops up in dangerous positions, and finishes chances.
3 Stars – French Press
Ahh, the French Press. For most people, this is the requisite first step in elevating their coffee game. And it does make a more flavorful and complex cup. The problem with the French Press is that most people don't pay enough attention to the details of coffee-to-water ratio, fineness of the grind, extraction time, and water temperature. Screw up any of these things (or forget about it and come back 15 minutes later) and your elevated coffee turns into a muddy cup of ick. Plus, the sludge at the bottom of a cup of French Press is the worst. It's a good "training wheels" coffee, though, and anymore French Presses are ubiquitous and easy to buy.
Jan Vertonghen: Jan looked solid enough and was very good with the ball at his feet, but he looked downright rattled when Stoke started their comeback. You could tell he was shaken, and a shaken Jan is not an effective Jan.
Kyle Walker: Kyle's threat comes when he's given free rein to run, and he looked good when allowed to do that. However, a bad challenge on Arnautovic limited his effectiveness, and he probably should've been sent off for a late-game tussle.
Ben Davies: Ben Davies still gives me the sense that he's merely keeping Danny Rose's seat warm while he recovers from injury. He wasn't bad by any means, and his cross into the box is what led to Chadli's goal, but I still wonder if things might have been different with Rose's more offensive style. Then again, Davies' defensive cover might have been why Poche went with him over Rose considering Eriksen started on the left.
2 Stars – Drip Coffee
For probably 80-90% of Americans, this is the way we drink our coffee every morning. It's now they do it at Starbucks, too. And it's not completely awful, but the problems are twofold: 1) most drip coffeemakers don't heat the water nearly hot enough (about 200º F) for optimum extraction, and 2) the requisite hotplate is a coffee flavor murderer. Ironically, I own a drip coffeemaker - the Bonavita BV1900TS, which has a number of features (including a robust water heater) that elevates drip coffee up to a 4-star level, and is a Godsend at 6 a.m. when I can barely complete sentences, much less calculate water-to-coffee ratios. You can mitigate the problems somewhat by pre-heating the coffee before putting it into the reservoir and by drinking it immediately. But standard drip coffee is pretty bad, y'all.
Toby Alderweireld: Toby wasn't all that bad on Saturday defensively. However, his dumb foul in the box that led to the penalty (and Spurs' eventual full capitulation) is the kind of head-bashingly stupid error that instantly negates all the rest of the mostly-good stuff he did the rest of the match. An uncharacteristically poor decision from our new Belgian. Don't do it again, please.
Nabil Bentaleb: Bentaleb wasn't poor per se as much as he was, again, shockingly ineffective. This might be a bit of a carry-over from his horror-show of a match at Old Trafford, but in limited minutes he did very little to reassure Tottenham fans that he's past whatever the heck it is that's keeping him from being the outstanding midfielder that he was last season. Something needs to change with Nabil, and fast.
Nacer Chadli (ST): After Harry Kane was subbed off Chadli was moved forward to replace him at striker, and it all went downhill for Nacer from there. If Chadli was the tip of the spear, it was no better than a Nerf spear. It's not really Chadli's fault that he's not very good at a position that he really shouldn't be playing at all, but if we're ever in a position again where we have to give Chadli extended minutes at striker, then I fear for our season.
1.5 Stars – Cowboy Coffee/Percolator
This is about as basic as you can get for coffee. Take coffee. Grind it. Throw it in a pot with water. Boil the f**k out of it. Drink. This is the stuff you drink when you're camping, view coffee as a caffeine delivery mechanism, or if like to chew your morning cup of joe. It sucks, but hey, I guess if you're trying to get the herd in before daybreak beggars can't be choosers, right?
Erik Lamela: At around the 80th minute, Erik Lamela received the ball in attacking possession on the right flank and completed a short pass to Kyle Walker. We will speak no more of his performance.
1 Stars – Keurig
"But Dustin," you say, "isn't Keurig just basically a drip coffee method?" Yes it is, only infinitely worse. Buy a Keurig machine and you're spending upwards of $100 for the right to have a coffee corporation take away everything that makes coffee actually good. Use a Keurig and you lose control of the water temperature, amount of coffee, amount of water, and extraction time. Also, you're locked in to using these godawful plastic "K-cups" which are invariably filled with bad, pre-ground coffee, are DRMed so that you can only use certain kinds of cups, and which you then throw away, making it horrible for the environment. And now they have pods for tea and "cider" applications that uses the same proprietary tech. Keurigs suck. They're ripping you off and actively preventing you from drinking good coffee.
Nobody on Tottenham Hotspur was as bad as coffee (or anything else) made in a Keurig.