The variance in the quality of coffee is sort of surprising, when you think about it.

All coffee comes from roughly the same places. Sure, there is a some variance in quality. Some is good, some is excellent, some isn't fit for human consumption. But most coffee is sort of "average" quality.

From the raw beans, it gets roasted. Then it gets ground and made into coffee. These steps seem to be the part that really matters. From the starbucks "ultra-bitter blend" to the folgers tasteless blend, there seems to be no limit to the ways coffee flavor can be destroyed.

I've found that the water matters: when I use filtered water, it makes a big difference in the quality. I've found the temperature of the water matters: when I boil water on the stove or in a water heater, the coffee seems to be much better.

Tonight, I am drinking coffee made in french press. I don't know the brand. What I do know is that pretty much any fresh coffee bean properly ground and using the right temperature filtered water will taste a hell of a lot better than a great quality pre-ground coffee made with tap water using a inexpensive drip coffee maker.

You would think, considering that it is the main drink for most of America for hundreds of years, that we'd have figured it out by now. But all you need to do is stop by your local Starbucks to see how far we have to go.