Worth It: Coffee Strong Enough for the Extreme Caffeinator

Illustration for article titled Worth It: Coffee Strong Enough for the Extreme Caffeinator

Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn't get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that's how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our daily recommendation of random things that we've actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we'd actually tell our friends about. And now we're telling you.


My journey into the depths of caffeine dependency began in a rural Wisconsin gas station in 1999. My friend Rachel asked me if I'd tried this new thing called cappuccino. "It's like coffee," she explained, "but it doesn't taste terrible." It was basically lukewarm liquified candy, but I drank it. I drank so much of it. Gas station French Vanilla hot brown sugar water— how sweet and coffe-innocent I was.

I'd stick with watery crap until two years later, when I'd get a job working at a coffee shop called The Chattering Squirrel one town north. I experimented with making my own drinks, tried espresso for the first time. Became mildly reliant on something called a "Mexican Hot Chocolate," which is a mocha with cinnamon flavored syrup. But then there was a big tornado, and the entire town blew away. Including The Chattering Squirrel. (Another story for another time.)

From there, I became more hard core about my caffeine. I was in college, and I had Serious Studying to do, the kind of studying that takes place in the student center and is actually more like looking around to see if anyone you know is there, and then going and gossipping with them. First I migrated to flavored lattes. Then to unflavored lattes. Then to coffee with a shitload of cream and sugar in it. Then onto a Cafe Americano with cream and sugar. Cafe Americano with only sugar. An entire pot of coffee with a packet of Equal. My tastes moved further from gas station coffee machine fare as the years progressed. Over the course of the last year or so, I haven't had the time or excess energy to trifle with additives— I want my coffee black, and I want it strong enough to curl my eyebrow hairs. That's where Intelligentsia's Black Cat Sapsucker Espresso beans come in.

It's not cheap and it's not for the faint of heart, but for my money, it's the strongest, most kick you in the ass by way of your face caffeine fix out there.

It's roasted in Chicago, which makes me feel good because the perpetually guilty liberal in me feels like she should buy local products. It's bold, strong, but smooth flavor is sippable and tasty. According to the website, it's not designed to be made in a French press, but I do it anyway and I haven't died or anything. Espresso fans love it, and brave insatiable coffee drinkers crave it. It smells incredible. It isn't overly harsh or bitter. It's got a sort of chocolate smoothness to it that I haven't found in any other coffee. Black Cat Sapsucker Espresso Beans brew the hard stuff— tooth staining, muddy, thick coffee. But for a caffeine fiend, it's the best there is.

Black Cat Sapsucker Espresso Beans, $18/12 oz, Intelligentsia.com

Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don't send us stuff.



You can totally make that in a press. It's a blend of Ethiopia, Bolivia, and Colombia. Espresso's just another brewing method. That particular blend isn't roasted very dark, so in a French Press, Cafe Solo, pour over of any kind, or just a good ole countertop coffeemaker, it should taste sweet, juicy, and vibrant.

Have you had a chance to get to one of the shops (or a wholesale account of Intelligentsia) to try it in a cappuccino? It's lovely. If you like Sapsucker, you might also like the Koma or Shegole from Ethiopia that Intelli has now. Or the Anjilanaka from Bolivia.

It's not snobbery by any means, either. Okay, that's totally what it looks like when a cup of coffee costs almost as much as a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Almost. Still- It's cool to support companies that support their producers and work simply to increase quality through transparency. Coffee's expensive! Intelligentsia gets so much crap for pricey drinks and whole bean coffee, but the company has a pretty cool buying model that is one of the highest standards in the industry. (Direct trade and In Season models).