TASTE
09/02/2014 07:35 am ET | Updated Sep 02, 2014

11 Reasons Diner Coffee Is Way Better Than Fancy Coffee

Flickr: Jeremy Brooks

In case the smell of freshly-roasted coffee beans on the corner of your street hasn't tipped you off, or if the growing number of baristas per capita hasn't signaled the alarm, you should know: coffee isn't what it used to be.

There was a time when coffee was just that, coffee. It wasn't a pour over. It wasn't freshly roasted. It didn't have undertones of orange zest. And it never had a smoky finish. It was just weak, strong or burned. And you could get it anytime of day at your local diner. Today, coffee has gone gourmet and many fine cups from roasters like Stumptown and Blue Bottle are proof of that.

But no matter how pure a brew those fine baristas make, they can never take the place of diner coffee -- no matter how hard they try. Here's why:

  • 1 Two words: FREE. REFILLS.
    The coffee's so cheap (read, bad) that people are happy to give it away. And we're happy to take it.
  • 2 You can buy a cup with the change in your wallet.
    Flickr: James LeVeque
    Or two.
  • 3 It is brutally agressive in flavor.
    SO strong it's practically burned. Actually, sometimes it is burnt. But that's why it's so successful at waking you up in the morning.
  • 4 And sometimes it's so weak it's basically just brown water.
    Which means we can drink an entire pot to ourselves -- and that's one of the greatest experiences in the world.
  • 5 You don't need a scale to make it.
    Guesstimate. IT'S OKAY.
  • 6 You can add a ton of sugar to it and no one will judge.
    Actually, you need to in order to make it palatable.
  • 7 It's served in the thickest, greatest mugs made on earth.
    Flickr: Max Kiesler
    Somehow, the shape of the mug makes the coffee taste 100 percent awesome. It's like magic.
  • 8 The use of half and half is not only common, but expected.
    Go bold, or go home.
  • 9 It's always brewing.
    And hot.
  • 10 It will never disappoint you.
    Because you have zero expectations for it. Lesson: If you set the bar low, you'll always be pleasantly surprised.
  • 11 You can order it any time of the day, with any meal you want.
    And it's understood: YOU NEED YOUR FIX.

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