Good coffee can be really good, while bad coffee is Bad To The Last Drop. It might be very cheap and/or very poorly brewed coffee, or it can be ersatz substitutes for coffee that just don't make the grade.
To some extent, even good coffee is an acquired taste; many people load it up with cream and sugar when they first start drinking coffee for this reason. That's not this trope. This is when the stuff's so awful that if the drinker wasn't in the midst of a Must Have Caffeine moment, it would be thrown out.
Sometimes subverted by coffee purists who argue that coffee should be cheap and poorly brewed, and call anyone invoking this trope on such beverages a snob.
The trope name is an allusion to the Maxwell House slogan "Good to the Last Drop".
While this trope most commonly features coffee, any bad non-alcoholic drink can go here. Bad alcoholic drinks should see the Sister Trope, A Tankard of Moose Urine. Klatchian Coffee may overlap with this, or simply be another Sister Trope.
A 1979 Yuban coffee commercial has a wife lamenting that her coffee is so bad, her husband "never has a second cup of coffee at home."
Parodied in Airplane!. "Jim never vomits at home..."
Anime and Manga
Fullmetal Alchemist has a running gag of the coffee in military headquarters being awful. And the one at the Northern HQ is not free.
One Piece: In Ace's cover story, the Marines on their ship are complaining about the coffee being really bitter and all-around distasteful. (Adding milk, courtesy of one Marine officer's dairy farmer daughter, seems to improve the coffee ... which as noted above is Truth in Television.)
In Zoids: Chaotic Century, Fiona's Trademark Favorite Food is salt. She puts it on or in everything she makes, including the coffee. Van normally likes drinking coffee, but can't drink anything she brews up because she uses salt instead of sugar.
Preacher: When a federal cop tells the state cop their coffee tastes like someone came in it, he replies that they were so excited to finally get a 'real' cop that they just couldn't contain themselves.
In The Flight Of The Alicorn, Blueblood regularly burns his coffee while he's brewing it. Turns out he's never had a good cuppa in his entire life, so he thinks coffee is supposed to taste that bad. It's a revelation when Rarity brews him some good coffee.
One The Three Stooges sketch has the Stooges attempting to open a diner by building it themselves. One of their first customers complains about his coffee, so Moe drinks from the mug to see what's wrong. He grimaces, then says, "That's not coffee, that's paint!" He grabs another coffee mug, drinks from it, and makes an even worse face: "The paint was better." He takes another drink from the mug of paint as the scene ends.
Austin: Oh well then it's not just me. [Drinks] It's a bit nutty.
We don't know because it's never tasted, but in Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid Rigby makes Swede a cup of his "java," which consists of an entire bag of coffee grounds and two raw eggs (including shells). But Rigby & Swede are shot before they drink it.
A running gag in Men In Black 3 has Agent K lamenting every morning that "This coffee tastes like dirt", to which Agent J (in the present) or Agent O (in the past) would reply, "It should, it was just ground this morning." (This joke clues O in on the fact that J actually knew K, after K was killed in the past by Boris the Animal.)
In Elf, Buddy sees a sign on a Greasy Spoon diner declaring they have "the world's best cup of coffee", and he naively believes it. Later, on his first date with Jovi, Buddy tries to surprise her with coffee at this diner.
Buddy: Reach out in front of you and take a sip. Don't look.
[Jovie is blindfolded. She sips the coffee and makes a face.]
Jovie: It tastes like a crappy cup of coffee. [Removes the blindfold] It is a crappy cup of coffee.
Buddy: No, it's the world's best cup of coffee!
In the Buster Keaton comedy short "The Navigator", a pampered heir tries to make coffee for the first time in his life; he uses ocean water. He adds a spoonful of sugar, tastes it- then dumps the entire container of sugar in his mug.
In the In Death series set in the 2050-2060s, genuine coffee is an expensive luxury that only the rich can afford, most people making due with an artificially flavored substitute. Lt. Dallas's coffee is like the nectar of the gods by comparison to the usual cop coffee.
Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road. The protagonist Oscar Gordon describes coffee as coming in five descending stages: Coffee, Java, Jamoke, Joe, and Carbon Remover. Carbon Remover is this trope.
In the Discworld, we have the brew provided by Sham Harga, the one-cook biohazard who runs the renowned eatery, Harga's House of Ribs. Sam Vimes likes the coffee here, which is indescribably foul.
There's a tea example in Exile's Valor — Alberich got some vile drinks as part of the Sunsguard, but even he considers the herbal teas at City Guard stations undrinkable.
Live Action Television
Barney Miller: The coffee is almost always horrible. Everyone thought it was the way Nick made it, until one time when Nick felt unappreciated and Wojo made some.
Nick:makes sour face All this time I thought it was just me.
Castle: Rick claimed that the coffee in the squad room tasted like a monkey had peed in battery acid. It was so bad he bought the squad room a cappuccino maker.
One episode of Kojak had an elderly woman come to the station to give a statement. While there she asked for a cup of coffee, and upon tasting it gently tells the detective interviewing her that it's absolutely terrible.
In the sci-fi series Starhunter, Percy comments on how bad the coffee in her cup is. She is seen chewing it.
Stanley in Rizzoli & Isles makes really bad coffee. Jane accuses him of putting his sweat socks in the coffee maker.
Blackadder the Third: Blackadder gives one of his circuitous insults to Mrs Miggins, owner of a coffee shoppe.
A cup of your best hot water with brown grit in it - unless, of course, by some miracle, your coffee shop has started selling coffee.
B.J.: This coffee is terrible, even by my standards!
Hawkeye: And this is coming from a man who drinks lime koolaid with strips of bologna in it!
Klinger: Colonel, how would you like a delicious cup of coffee?
Potter: I'd love it!
Klinger: Me too, this stuff stinks.
Potter: I told 'em strong, not lethal!
Narrowly averted in an episode of Night Court. The case of the night concerns the ashes of a man named Herb, whose two wives each want to keep the ashes. They are temporarily in Harry's custody. Meanwhile Harry's coffeemaker is on the fritz and the building manager Art fixes it. Later Harry finds the urn empty.
Art: Oh sorry, your honor, I had to use that herb tea to test the coffeemaker.
Harry: Art, that wasn't herb tea, that was Herb.
Cut to Dan frozen in place with a cup just about to touch his lips
In the song "I Don't Want No More of Army Life", one of the verses goes:
Oh, the coffee in the army, they say it's mighty fine.
Looks like muddy water, tastes like turpentine!
The bus drivers in Crankshaft endure Lena's notoriously bad coffee (which is still better than her unspeakable brownies).
The Deadlands setting has a spell called "Coffin Varnish" note an old term for bad coffee , which conjures coffee of this kind.
One of the "MessageMates" (small programs which display a short humorous animation and end with a message ... and try to infect your computer with spyware), titled "Bad Coffee", is about the characters complaining that the coffee they're drinking tastes like "monkey piss" and then discovering an actual monkey inside the coffee vending machine.
In The Order of the Stick's graphic novel "Start of Darkness", Xykon is something of a bad-coffee fan, as drinking a really horrible cup of coffee reminds him of all the good coffee he can compare it to. He's infuriated when he tries his first coffee after becoming undead, and can't taste it at all, good or bad.
In one strip, Vaarsuvius pranks Belkar by leaving out "Explosive Runes" brand coffee that he filtered through Roy's sweaty socks. Then, after a disgusted Belkar goes to read the brand of the coffee, he is (nonfatally) blown up.
Monsters, Inc. subverts this trope by showing a scene in which Waternoose turns the spigot on a "coffee" machine, and a thick sludge slowly oozes out of the machine.
In one "Mr. Know-It-All" segment of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bullwinkle goes to a coffee shop and waiter Boris suggests "Cafe Minuto". Bullwinkle drinks it and cringes, then Boris says it "should be bad to last drop."
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