Better Coffee, Better Life. Papa Juan.

Juan Villela

I come from a long line of coffee lovers. My ancestral land in Central America has been growing delicious coffee for centuries. And it’s enjoyed practically at any time, if not with every meal. But somehow, I end up finding sub-par coffee from some overpriced online vendor claiming to have the best coffee known to humankind for the low price of $39.99/bag. That is absurd. “But Juan,” I hear you say, “why not just buy a cup at your local coffee shop?” And to that, I say, “I’d rather die.” I’ve invested too much time, effort, and money into my coffee gear and learning how to make it perfectly to my liking to let some punk make my delicious liquid energy. So here’s a breakdown of the gear I have at home, the coffee brands I’ve tried, and what I’m currently drinking.


The Gear

You probably don’t need any of these things to make good coffee. I made good enough coffee for years with just an AeroPress. But if “good enough” isn’t enough for you, you’ll want to invest in better tools. I started with the espresso machine and whatever came with it. And that was alright, except it was hard to make a consistent cup. I would tweak a few things here and there, but it needed to be corrected. After a long YouTube rabbit hole, I landed on replacing the portafilter with a bottomless one and bought a distributor and tamper. The new portafilter required tweaking with the grind settings to get the pressure right. With the other two tools, I started to get a consistent cup that was tastier and creamier.

My partner then found a blog post about a dude claiming that a stirrer and contact screen was necessary if you wanted “a beautiful pour.” I do not know why I need my coffee to look pretty, but she bought them anyway. And it does make a difference. It’s not palpable, but it’s enough to help with the consistency problem. The last thing you want is for your coffee to taste weird on a Tuesday morning with only a few hours of sleep, 20 emails, and a 2-hour conference call staring you down.

The Coffee

This was the hardest part. I’ve never been a Starbucks guy but originally bought their dark roast bags. Then I heard about Trade Coffee in a podcast, which changed everything. After a few months, I found a delicious US-based brewer that sold bags from their site. So I canceled Trade and started buying Klatch Coffee. I loved it and had no complaints for almost a year.

Then, one day, I made the mistake of looking up how much I spent on coffee in a year and promptly started looking for more affordable options. I went through a few mediocre brands before landing on Yes Plz. Again, I believe from a podcast recommendation: ATP. And it’s been great! It has a nice variety, is reasonably affordable, and has reliable shipping.

But then, Hank & John Green came out with their one coffee subscription because of the same frustrations I’ve had over the years. The company does right by the farmers and has delicious coffee. Theirs is by far my favorite. It has been consistently tasty.

All the options I mentioned are great, and I’d recommend any of them. But ACC is my #1 recommendation.


What do you mean why? Coffee is love; coffee is life. And a perfect cup of coffee can quickly put you in a good mood. I’m not advocating for excessive coffee consumption or toxic behavior like “Don’t talk to me until I have my coffee.” But just like a great meal makes anyone happy, a good cup of joe will give you that positive energy you need for the day.

“It’s a good time for a cup of coffee.”

–my father-in-law, at any time during the day