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    My Morning Cup

    Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch

    My Morning Cup features the coffee rituals that most of us have. People from all walks of life — from US senators to ballplayers, subway drivers to college professors — have submitted entries that will run each day.

    Here, we reached Jim Koch, the founder and brewer at Samuel Adams, through a spokeswoman by e-mail.

    Jim Koch


    Sam Adams Founder and Brewer

    Describe your coffee routine. Where do you frequent, what do you like?


    I like to drink beverages that are brewed. Coffee is a brewed beverage just like craft beer so I think we share a passion for quality ingredients, flavor, and the art of brewing.

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    When I’m home I start the day with an espresso. We also have a single serve coffee maker, and sometimes I’ll have a decaf Peet’s Coffee. I travel a lot and am constantly on the road visiting bars, restaurants, and liquor stores. When I travel I am not that picky about my coffee — I’ll drink motel coffee in the morning.

    Make or buy?

    Both! I love Peet’s Coffee, and we’re lucky to have a Peet’s store right in Newton. At work, I usually stick to strong decaf, and I take it black. I’m pretty naturally caffeinated.

    If make, what coffee do you use and how do you make it?

    I’m usually in a hurry so I don’t want to spend a lot of time making coffee. I’d rather spend the time brewing beer. So I use a Nespresso machine and a Keurig to make to-go cups. Peet’s is one of my favorite coffee brands. I like the French Roast and Major Dickason’s Blend. Their pods have more coffee in them so I get a richer cup of coffee. Yes, I’ve opened their pods and compared. Like I said, I’m a little obsessive about brewing, even coffee.

    If buy, where? What time? Do baristas know you?

    An amazing coffee shop is Voltage Coffee and Art, based in Kendall Square in Cambridge. The founder, Lucy Valena, is a small business in our Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program and makes some of the best coffee around. She’s as passionate about coffee as we are about beer.

    What’s your order?


    Everything she brews is delicious, but I usually stick to an espresso.

    How do you take it?

    Black, no sugar.

    Iced or hot?


    Alone or with company?

    With company. Coffee, like beer, brings friends and family together. When getting together, friends will say, “Let’s grab a beer,” or “Let’s grab a coffee.”

    Where do you drink it? Seated or on the go?

    Everywhere! At home, in my car, at the brewery, before meetings, in flight, or at the office. After I’ve just finished a 9 a.m. taste panel where I’ve sampled 20 different beers — coffee is the essential next liquid. I don’t drink coffee before our taste panel because I don’t want anything to affect my palate, so I save it for after taste panel.

    What’s your stance on decaf?


    I don’t discriminate against any coffee — and really enjoy decaf coffee. Brewing isn’t the only parallel between coffee and craft beer. Thirty years ago, when I started Samuel Adams, the quality of available decaf was almost as bad as the availability of good beers. Then, right around the time people started to become interested in craft beers, I started to hear restaurant servers say that they offered “brewed decaf” — which was a big step in the right direction. Today, drinkers have traded up both with coffee and craft beer, and the country is a better place for it.

    Describe the most memorable cup of coffee you’ve ever had.

    Many of my great memories involve coffee. One of the most memorable cups of coffee was when we were in the process of brewing a coffee stout a few years back. I sampled many different batches of coffee prior to nailing down the final recipe for our beer. We brewed a Black and Brew Coffee Stout that combined deep roasted coffee with a rich, full-bodied stout. For the authentic coffee flavor, we used 1.5 pounds of Sumatran coffee beans per barrel to create a depth of robust roasty character. At Samuel Adams, we are constantly experimenting with different ingredients (including coffee) and that experimentation and innovation is what makes being a craft brewer so exciting, whatever you’re brewing.

    To submit your own My Morning Cup entry, e-mail Matt Viser at