Judging Java: 7-11

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

1/2 out of 5 Globes


The classical music blared as I walked into the Wood Street 7-11. Entering one of the most uniquely depressing places in the City of Pittsburgh, I thought to myself “what am I doing with my life?” I looked around for a second, and found the coffee counter. I contemplated which of the blends I should pour myself, ultimately settling on the medium roast. I paid, and on the street, took my first sip, after which, I said to my roommate, who accompanied me on this journey, the following statement: “awful, awful, awful… awful…. Awful.”

This can barely be called a cup of coffee. It is the bare minimum, the bottom of the barrel, legitimately an affront to the people Ethiopian village of Oromo who first grew coffee. If I were Spanish, I would say “este café es terrible” which means “this coffee is terrible.”

In terms of flavor, this cup tastes like someone took a pot of coffee, dumped it into a cardboard box, let it sit out in the rain for a few nights, then took it back inside and served it to me. Then, there’s the aftertaste, which tastes like if you mixed dust from an air conditioning unit in a hospital with the soapy water used to blow bubbles. It’s a taste so distinct yet disgusting, and unfortunately it’s one you still taste for a long time after finishing the cup.

I was not expecting 7-11 coffee to be good. It’s 7-11 coffee, I knew it was not going to be good. But I was expecting it to at least be worth drinking. Even the worst cups of coffee I’ve ever had I still drank with a smile, because at least I was getting some caffeine out of it. This cup is painful to drink.

What I especially did not expect, was that this cup would make me consider the very nature of this column. I thought that it would be a journey to find the best cup of coffee. And while I’ve had some enjoyable blends, most cups are subpar. And this cup was just miserable.

I may never find the perfect cup of coffee, it’s in and of itself an enigma. It hypothetically can’t even exist, because on one hand, coffee scores are relative, they’re opinions, but furthermore, there could always, hypothetically, be an improvement.

And while I may never find the best cup of coffee, I can confidently say that I have found the worst. I debated giving it 7/11s out of 5 Globes, but this cup doesn’t even deserve the extra 1.5/11s it would get from rounding up from the ½ globe out of 5.

I would give this zero Globes if I could, but I cannot, because that would mean that they failed to give me a coffee. The only way something could get zero Globes in this column is if I asked for a coffee and they instead gave me a bowl of spaghetti. So I settle for the ½ Globe.

If I had to say something nice about the 7-11 coffee, it’s that I’ll never have to drink it again.