QUAERITUR: How should seminarians make Mystic Monk Coffee?

From a seminarian:

I’m a seminarian studying at a certain ____ seminary (guess). I
have begun the practice of drinking Mystic Monk coffee. I’m am curious about the means by which you brew your Mystic Monk coffee. I have a standard Black & Decker auto drip coffee maker, but I find that it makes terrible coffee. It’s never hot enough, and when I let it sit so that it becomes hot, it burns. What coffee maker/method would you recommend? As a frequent coffee drinker, this is quite a crucial
issue. After all, what else will get me out of bed in the morning?
It’s not like we have Lauds chanted in Latin!

Drip coffee is acceptable provided the heating element will heat the water sufficiently.  It should be just under the boiling point, say around 200° F.    And make sure your coffee is ground for a filter.  The coarseness of the grind makes a difference.  I don’t have any suggestions for a brand of coffee maker. For a drip, I have had better luck with Cuisinart than with B and D.  You can always do this manually, with a plastic filter folder and water heated on a stove.

I am sure readers have their own suggestions.

Burned coffee is among the most vile substances on the face of the earth and it is an affliction resulting from the sin of our first parents.  It is to be vilified.

I also use a French Press from time to time as well as a stove-top “moka” pot style “espresso” maker.  It isn’t espresso, but it is very sturdy.  I do not have a good espresso machine.

The rite of making coffee should involve some Latin, you know.  In the morning, I suggest chanting:

?. Noli diligere somnum ne te egestas opprimat aperi oculos tuos et saturare panibus.

If you have guests, they may respond:

?. Propter quod dicit surge qui dormis et exsurge a mortuis et inluminabit tibi Christus.

You may chant both yourself.

The coffee is then consumed (there may be a pause for the pouring, but from the pot directly into your WDTPRS mugs, and not from mug to mug).

If cream and sugar are to be added, the adding is completed at this time.

The coffee having been consumed, use your laptop – or desktop as an option, or a hand held mobile device as it is pastorally appropriate – and, thinking about the appropriate liturgical color for the day, order more Mystic Monk Coffee through Fr. Z’s link.

I hope that helps.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dr. Chipotle says:

    I have a generic drip coffee maker that does not get the water nearly hot enough. So what I do is to boil the water in an electric kettle and then put an ice cube (to cool it down slightly from 212F) and the boiling water in to the water chamber of the coffee maker. It comes out much better this way than depending on the heating element in the coffee maker.

  2. shermshermy says:

    The Technivorm Moccamaster makes coffee at the perfect 200 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also very quick at brewing a pot. In the US, is it now available through Williams Sonoma. I strongly recommend fresh grinding, as well.

  3. Prof. Basto says:

    “If cream and sugar are to be added, the adding is completed at this time”.

    QUERY: So, is it illicit, per the rubrics, to place the sugar at the bottom of the mug, before pouring the cofee?

  4. Prof. Basto: Notice that I have the word “completed”. That leaves open the possibility of putting in the additives before or after, so long as you are done for the moment of the drinking.

    This could be where the older way exerts a gravitational pull. Some people put the additives in the cup first so that they don’t have to leave room, the coffee having been poured.

    This is one of those maniple issues. Just do it.

    Fr. Z, by the way, prefers his drip coffee black, without adulterations.

  5. Tom in NY says:

    Ad Laudes:
    V. Deus in adjutorium meum intende
    R. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina
    V. Quaesumus, Domine, creaturam caffeinam
    R. Ad tibi laudem faciendam
    V. Gloria Patri….
    R. Amen

    Ps. LXII
    Deus, Deus meus, * ad te de luce vigilo.
    Sitivit in te anima mea; * quam multipliciter tibi caro mea!
    Caffeinam caro mea sitivit, ad te praeclariter contemplandum….

    Salutationes omnibus.

  6. MaryMaria says:

    I have found that when making coffee and tea the only way to go is with distilled water. Mystic Monk is the best!!

  7. Arieh says:

    Mystic Monk coffee is fantastic (thank you Fr Z), and is best prepared in a French press. I take my water to just boiling, pour it over the grounds in the press, stir for 30 seconds, then let it sit for 4-5 minutes. Makes perfect coffee every time.

  8. Gaz says:

    Life’s too short for instant coffee!

  9. stpetric says:

    The liturgical color for the morning coffee seems obviously to me to be black. Cream and sugar are for the squishy.

    And I heartily endorse shermshermy’s advice about fresh grinding.

  10. S. Murphy says:

    Can’t beat a low-tech espresso-maker:

    (Unless you’re in a dorm-room and don’t have a stovetop. ) But they do make little propane camp-stoves that are just right for this.)

  11. Toan says:

    Fresh grinding recommended. As of late, I have been using regular Finum tea baskets: http://www.amazon.com/Finum-Brewing-Large-Basket-Black/dp/B000J3JFJU

    They’re cheap and very handy, especially if you are only making coffee for one person. If you’re making coffee for more than one, I recommend the french press.

  12. GirlCanChant says:

    So we have had the Extradordinary Form of the bagel (back on one of the New York trips; I’m too lazy to look it up) and now coffee drinking! How much longer until we get waffles involved?

    I can see it now: Breakfast in the Extraordinary Form by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. Sounds like a winner to me!

  13. Dr. Eric says:

    Does anyone know of a monastery that makes tea or cocoa? I despise coffee, but I would love to support a monastery.

    (My brother and my colleague, Dr. Steve, are getting Mystic Monk Coffee for Christmas.)

  14. Beau says:

    “directly into your WDTPRS mugs”
    Uh-oh…I hope I’m not doing something heretical! I don’t have a WDTPRS mug, [That is bad!] but I did get a couple of those two-handled mugs from the monks. Hopefully they’re an acceptable substitute until the situation can be corrected!

    I couldn’t agree with you more about burned coffee Fr. Z. I’ve often thought that drinking a cup of cold coffee would be a good penance for some particularly heinous sin, but I guess some people like cold coffee (…shudder…)

  15. Henry Belton says:

    Ignore every other comment here. Go old school and buy a stove top Pryex coffee pot on Ebay. The sound of the steady stream of hot coffee traveling up the pump into the basket, early in the morning can’t be beat.

  16. Lirioroja says:

    I don’t know where this seminarian lives, but I’ve see those stove-top coffee makers Henry Belton describes in my local $0.99 stores here in NYC. Perfect for a seminarian’s budget.

  17. MikeM says:

    I second Fr. Zs recommendation of Cuisinart for drip coffeemakers. I’ve used a number of their models and they heat the water just right.

  18. antanas says:

    NOW, I have a problem…
    I’m one of that very tiny group of people in the world who thinks that “burned coffee” is… well… tasty.
    How serious is my sin, Fr? [There may be just enough time for you to repent.]

  19. Animadversor says:

    1) Make sure the coffee has been roasted recently.
    2) Grind it just before you brew. I recommend a burr roaster, especially the hand-cranked variety, but a blade roaster is better than pre-ground.
    3) As for the method of brewing, I prefer a vacuum pot. They are available in both electric and non-electric models and make the best non-espresso coffee I have ever had. Unfortunately, it is better—at least for me—to use this method only when already fully awake, resulting in a problem!


  20. GrogSmash says:

    Perhaps “Say the Black, Do the Red” could be incorporated into the rubrics and instructions for the Extraordinary Form of Heavenly Monastic Nectar?

  21. pyrosapien says:

    Great post Father! Bad coffee is definately a sin…

  22. I have a Hamilton Beach BrewStation drip coffee maker that I purchased while at seminary, and it seems to do a wonderful job of preparing my morning Mystic Monk Coffee to my liking. Admittedly, I’m not a coffee snob, but do enjoy a good cup. The BrewStation has the advantage of dispensing into a WDTPRS mug without removing the pot. I’ve never had a bad pot of coffee with this BrewStation, except when using poor-quality water on those occasions when distilled wasn’t available.

  23. Charliebird says:

    I love being Catholic! Everything good in life becomes a means of worshiping the Trinity! (provided you are clever enough…and a bit quirky…but perhaps just whole)

  24. Dorcas says:

    except when using poor-quality water on those occasions when distilled wasn’t available.

    No, Fr. Corey, you’re no coffee snob. :)

  25. lucy says:

    I use my Keurig brewing station. I purchased the little mesh basket that allows you to use the coffee of your choice. I did away with the silly plastic thing they want you to use with said basket and instead cover with a double layer of foil and insert into the machine. It seems hot enough, though I do not know the exact temp. I prefer to put the sugar in the cup before the coffee begins to drip into the cup.

    Mystic Monk rocks!

  26. priests wife says:

    I guess I am officially a catholic nerd that smiles at Fr Z’s rubrics for making coffee

  27. teaguytom says:

    I guess we are behind the times. We use an old Farberware stove top percolator like my grandma has been using for 60 some years. I don’t like coffee, but apparently my dad thinks it tastes good that way.

  28. Random Friar says:

    Hard water (no surprise in an old seminary) can really mitigate the fullness of flavor. Good water and a French press (easily done for $10) are key. Plus, when you have company over, a decent French press does not really come off as too “upper class,” or perhaps a good, classic percolator.

  29. bnaasko says:

    Seriously, I would recommend that this seminarian make his plight known to a local Knights of Columbus council. I’m cinfident there will be a coffee loving Knight who will buy him a better coffee maker.

    I use an insulated french press.

  30. MJ says:

    The way I make coffee is really easy, and it is soooo good! I learned this from someone who said this was how they learned to make it in Germany.

    I use a non-electric coffee maker like this one: https://shop.melitta.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=64+0616&Cat=

    Put the filter in, put the grounds in, and pour the already-boiled-in-a-tea-pot hot water (distilled!) over the grounds and let it seep into the coffee pot. It’s ready to serve in minutes, and tastes amazing!

  31. nhaggin says:

    I keep an electric kettle in my office and have used it to prepare coffee in a drip-type coffee filter holder and a French press. Press is by far the winner for rich flavor and body, but requires more effort to clean than the filter holder. CoffeeGeek has excellent instructions for using a filter holder, and Arieh has already talked about using a French press.

  32. Supertradmum says:

    I hate drip coffee and only use a 1950s percolator I got from my mom or the traditional French press type of coffee maker, which uses only coffee and boiled water. As seminarians usually do not have much money, I suggest either going to the GoodWill and finding an old percolator, or getting a French press for about 15 USD. Good luck and skip the drips.

    If you are allowed to have electic kettles in your room, the French press is the best.

  33. Bob says:

    The best coffee is that from a stove top percolator so that one can control both the temperature and time of percolation. I use a stainless pot felled for 6 cups and perc for exactly 7 minutes. The leftover coffee goes in a thermos carafe.

  34. Supertrad: I cannot condone percolators. They boil coffee. Very bad.

  35. ghp95134 says:

    Fr. Z. states, …from the pot directly into your WDTPRS mugs,…

    Preheat your ceramic mug with hot water BEFORE pouring in your coffee. Otherwise you will lose heat via conuctive heat transfer. (“Conduction occurs when two objects at different temperatures are in contact with each other. Heat flows from the warmer to the cooler object until they are both at the same temperature.”)

    –Guy Power

  36. Supertradmum says:

    Father Z.,
    I shall give in on your point, as I do prefer my cafetiere. However, do not most drip makers cook the coffee? I personally like the taste of percolated over drip coffee.

  37. lucy says:

    I agree with Guy Power ! I always heat my travel ceramic WDTPRS cup with hot water before pouring in the liquid gold.

  38. Mary says:

    My brother is a one of the Wyoming Carmelites. :-)
    This is how we make our Mystic Monk Coffee at home in Australia…

    1) Boil the water. After boiling let the water sit for 2 minutes.

    2) Add ___ amount of coffee to the plunger as recommended by the instructions on your Mystic Monk coffee bag.

    3) Fill up the plunger with hot water and let the coffee stand for 4 minutes.

    4) Push the plunger down really slowly.

    5) You are ready to pour your coffee!

    TIP: For creamy coffee, use equal amounts of coffee and milk (warming the milk up separately will ensure your coffee is not made too cold by adding all this milk).

  39. WaywardSailor says:

    “Burned coffee is among the most vile substances on the face of the earth and it is an affliction resulting from the sin of our first parents. It is to be vilified.”

    Sounds like your inner Stephen Maturin speaking, Father!

  40. Wayward: Which we all know that the only reason Preserved Killick was preserved as the Captain’s steward is because he knew how to make coffee properly.

  41. PeonyMoss says:

    Another vote for the monks’ very own French Press/ travel mug offered at their website. The French press is a great way to make coffee.

  42. Marcin says:

    I am utterly confused by your typographical sloppiness. The rubrics should be in red!
    I pray it’s not a modernism-inspired departure in order to muddle the holy waters of “say the black, do the red”. For a man can’t live on substance alone, but on every form that comes with it.

    And certainly you are right, Reverendissime Pater, in detesting burnt, or reheated coffee. It is a diabolic concoction that makes a man ill in his body and spirit.

  43. frjim4321 says:


  44. frjim4321: Please do not shout at us.

    Of course there is decaf. What things you ask.

    As to the Keurig thingies… there is a reusable version.
    Reusable Keurig

  45. frjim4321 says:

    oops just typed a mailing lable and caps lock stuck . . . I agree CAPS in email is like shouting

    ok . . . i might just try that . . . will it be better than Emeril’s Jazzed Up Decaf? To date, Emeril’s Decaf K-cup is the best I have ever tasted. Although I will be the very first to admit that ANY decaf will never be as good as real coffee. Whatever they do to take out the caffeine also takes out the flavor!

    About 2 years ago gave up caffeine on doctor’s orders . . . one of the the hardest things to do . . . really miss the flavor of real coffee, but I sure get a super night’s sleep!

  46. There were basically two methods to remove caffeine, which is hard to dissolve: a chemical method, which made some pretty nasty brew, and a water/steam method, after which they needed once again to infuse essences back into the bean. Something is lost in each method.

    It’s rather like the LAME-DUCK ICEL (artificial chemicals applied to make a substance that no longer resembles the original) or the Liturgiam authenticam version (which strips out less of the essential content). It might be that the tinkering being done is analogous to adding artificial flavors… mint, and all that rubbish. The unadulterated Latin gives you the very best, of course.

  47. Desertfalcon says:

    I have a French press that I use from time to time, but for convenience I use a drip maker. The Cuisinart is an excellent machine but ugly as sin and expensive. I have tried out many machines through the years and have honestly found that if you want to save yourself a heap of green and still have a good cup of coffee, buy a simple Mr. Coffee 12 cup AD machine with NO bells or whistles. No clock or cleaning cycle models. Just the plain Jane at about $20 bucks. I’ve timed it and tested the brewing temp and it is as good as any $100 machine you will find. And if you get a bad one or it goes bad…chuck it, it’s only $20 after all.

  48. frjim4321 says:

    I must admit, that was clever.

  49. frjim: You sound slightly surprised!

  50. biberin says:

    I see that no one has yet suggested the cold brew method, which makes a smoother cup. 1lb fresh ground coffee soaked in 11c filtered water at room temp for about 12 hours. Strain and refrigerate for up to two weeks. It is very concentrated and makes a lovely milky coffee, hot or iced.

  51. biberin: Thanks for the reminder about the cold method. I haven’t done that for a long while.

  52. AnAmericanMother says:


    Thanks for the tip. We are thinking about a coffee machine for the office, and if three of us split $20 that is a REAL bargain!

    We will be able to afford LOTS of Mystic Monk Coffee (I am already singing its praises to my office mates, the Baptist is on board and the Presbyterian is wavering . . . :-D )

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