Chuckie: It is mud.
Good coffee can be a connoisseur's delight, while bad coffee is Bad to the Last Drop. It might be very cheap, very poorly brewed, or very stale coffee at a cafeteria, 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. Guys who swear by Real Men Take It Black and forgo the cream and sugar will find they have a bitter cup of brew if the java is subpar. The most corrosive brews may melt the spoon.
Sometimes subverted by characters 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". It often occurs in settings in the military or wartime, particularly in faraway postings or at sea, or, in science fiction, in space. The unpleasant coffee is often described in colorful and unflattering language (mud, tar, dirt, shit...).
While this trope most commonly features coffee, any bad non-alcoholic drink can go here, such as tea. 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. Descriptions of such beverages may be some variant of "It Tastes Like Feet."
- A spot for Skechers shoes has comic book character Too Much Coffee Man freaking out because he has no filters for his coffee maker. He uses a shoe instead. The results are obvious; the taste of the coffee dubious.
- 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! (with the same actress). "Jim never vomits at home..."
- Fullmetal Alchemist has a running gag of the coffee in military headquarters being awful. And the stuff at the Northern HQ is not free.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: A scene in the Anime shows Joseph Joestar and Mohammed Avdol sitting on the floor doing a tea ceremony. With all of his Anti-Japanese sentiment glory, Joesph decided to make instant coffee instead. As soon as he took a sip of his coffee, Joseph commented how Japanese coffee taste awful until Advol reminded him that it was American coffee.
- This is Ms Smith's reaction in Monster Musume when she tries drinking a cup of the cheap instant coffee served at a police command center. On the other hand, she thinks that Kimihito's coffee is the best brew ever, which confuses the heck out of him because it's the cheap instant stuff.
- 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 Phantom Quest Corp., Detective Karino works in the police's U Division, which deals with the "oddball" cases. As such, its budget is absolutely pathetic. Not only is the office is too small..but his chief also complains about the lousy quality of the powdered tea they get.
- In Zoids: Chaotic Century, Fiona's Trademark Favorite Food is salt. She puts it on or in everything she makes, including the coffee. This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but we're not talking about adding a pinch of salt to the water before boiling like some coffee connoisseurs do. Van normally likes drinking coffee, but can't drink anything she brews up because she uses salt instead of sugar.
- Big Finish Doctor Who: In "The Heavenly Paradigm", the Master is disgusted by the coffee being served in 1970's England, and advises Cole Jarnish to wait till the mid-1980's before trying any.
- In Warren Ellis' run in Excalibur (Marvel Comics), there are a few lines indicating that Moira MacTaggert's coffee wi just awful (issue #88, in special, is a bit of a ragfest).
- The very first lines spoken in Planetary, in a crappy diner in the middle of nowhere:
Elijah Snow: Coffee tastes like your dog took a leak in it.
Waitress: Dawg's gotta go someplace.
- Preacher: When a federal cop tells the state cop their coffee tastes like someone came in it, the state cop snarks back that they were so excited to finally get a 'real' cop that they just couldn't contain themselves.
- Cleaís view on Earthís coffee supply in Strange (2022). Itís impossible to get the good stuff on this planet (and possibly in this dimension). Fortunately, she has other options.
- The bus drivers in Crankshaft endure Lena's notoriously bad coffee (which is still better than her unspeakable brownies).
- In Irma's diner where Jon complains about the drink he was sold; he couldn't tell whether it was coffee or tea because it tasted like turpentine.
Irma: Oh, that's our coffee. Our tea tastes like transmission fluid.
- Another one in Irma's diner has Jon ask if the refills are free before tasting the coffee.
Irma: Interesting question... No one's ever asked for a second cup.
- In Irma's diner where Jon complains about the drink he was sold; he couldn't tell whether it was coffee or tea because it tasted like turpentine.
- 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.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager Parody Fic "The Killer Dame", Captain Janeway has a Heroic BSoD when she realises the only coffee available in the World War Two holodeck program is ersatz coffee made from crushed acorns.
- In the Mountain Murders series of WWE alternate universe fics, Trina Conley is known at the Davis Police Department for her bad coffee.
- In Origin Story, Alex Harris is a "definitive coffee snob" who usually enjoys a special Indonesian coffee blend that costs $35 a pound. In Chapter 30, she is drinking a cup of coffee she bought at a New York City deli while staking out a bad guy's job. She specifically remarks that she knows the coffee is Colombian because "it tastes like the oily mud the beans were grown in."
- In A Slice of Life, Princess Celestia's royal coffee-maker, Soggy Grounds, apparently has the special talent of making bad coffee.
- Explosive Situation:
Despite having the best medi-wizards in the world, millions of Galleons in charitable donations and a period of peace that had left the hospital almost devoid of patients most days; they sure had some fucking horrible coffee, Ron thought.
It was like a monkey had peed in battery acid. Ron had always found Harry's muggle analogies hilarious, but in this case, he felt it to be actually true. It burned roughly as it drained down his throat but it had the desired effect of keeping him as far from sleep as he could get.
- 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. This is expected of Monsteropolis coffee (much as smelling bad which normally calls for the use of odorants).
- In The Polar Express the hobo offers the protagonist a "cup of joe", he gags on it, then the hobo takes his socks out of the coffee pot.
- Parodied in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, when Austin reaches for the coffee pot and pours himself a cup without looking, not realizing that he actually grabbed Fat Bastard's stool sample which was (for some reason) boiling in a similar pot right next to it.
Austin: Cor! This coffee smells like shit!
Basil: [notices stool sample] It is shit, Austin.
Austin: [assuming he was speaking metaphorically] Oh good, then it's not just me. [drinks] It's a bit nutty.
- Charro!: Jess meets up with his sheriff friend Dan and has a cup of his coffee. They then engage in friendly banter revolving around the latter's coffee being so terrible that it supposedly serves as a Cool and Unusual Punishment.
- We don't know because it's never tasted, but in Dead Men Don't 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.
- 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 Godzilla (1998), the lead French investigator finds the New York coffee his assistant gives him to be awful. He still drinks it.
- In Gremlins one of Mr. Peltzer's inventions (which always work great at first) is a coffee machine that, when used, dispenses brown sludge with the consistency of hot tar.
Mrs. Peltzer: I don't think we can drink this...
- Harper begins by showing the low-rent life of Paul Newman's title detective character as he wakes up. He sees he's out of coffee, so he uses yesterday's grounds in a filter pulled from the trash. He doesn't like the result.
- In Love Finds Andy Hardy, older sister Marian, charged with fixing the meals when mother Emily is away tending to her own ill mother, makes atrocious coffee. Andy and the judge, seeking not to hurt her feelings, pronounce it excellent. This almost causes the new cook to quit when she comes to work, tries Marian's coffee, and pronounces it "mud."
- 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 the Buster Keaton comedy 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 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the "tea" that Shansa offers her guests is pallid green and has a noticeably phlegmy consistency. Barbossa declines the drink.
- In The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Mrs. Hudson serves Holmes a cup of tea he can only describe as "disgusting".
- In Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022), the opening scene has Doctor Robotnik trying to make coffee out of mushrooms, since he's been trapped on a planet filled with nothing but mushrooms for nearly a year. Naturally, he immediately spits it out for its horrid taste, and we get a Failure Montage of him trying multiple ways of making it work... with similar results.
- The Three Stooges sketch "Of Cash and Hash" has the Stooges running a cafe with their usual screwing-up. One of their customers complains that the coffee tastes like paint, so Shemp drinks from the mug to see what's wrong. He grimaces, then says, "It is paint." He grabs another coffee mug. "That's the coffee." When Shemp drinks from it and makes an even worse face. He goes back to the cup of paint: "This is better."
- This old "waiter, waiter" joke:
Customer: Waiter, this coffee tastes like mud!
Waiter: Hardly surprising, sir, it was just ground this morning.
- * Also:
Customer: Waiter, this coffee tastes like turpentine!
Waiter: I'm very sorry, sir. You must have been served tea by mistake. Our coffee tastes like acetone.
- Aubrey-Maturin: Ordinarily, Captain Jack Aubrey (RN) and Dr. Stephen Maturin are connoisseurs of "the right Mocha." However, months at sea sometimes lead to misfortunes such as rat droppings infesting (and getting ground up with) the beans.
- In A Boy Made of Blocks, Alex drinks coffee at the Minecraft competition that tastes like it was made with unfiltered Thames water.
- 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. (To the extent that when Harga actually cleaned the coffee urn, Vimes found the resulting coffee too weak, or, in his words, "love-in-a-canoe" coffee. It's fucking close to water.)
- 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.
- Heralds of Valdemar: There's a tea example in Exile's Valor ó Alberich got some vile drinks as part of the Sunsguard, but even he considers the herbal teas at City Guard stations undrinkable.
- Hickory Dickory Dock: When some of the residents of the student hospital suggest a coffee break, Nigel says "If you can call this fluid they serve—coffee."
- Honor Harrington: In Cauldron of Ghosts, at one point two minor characters have a conversation about the coffee served on Havenite ships. One of them insists said coffee falls under this trope:
For years, I had a secret belief that the reason we had such a hard time fighting the Manticorans was because of the Navy's coffee. The deterioration that crap must have produced in the brains of our officers and ratings didn't bear thinking about.
- Horatio Hornblower suffers from the problem of very finite coffee supplies at sea. Usually, what he gets to drink is burnt bread and hot water. When a Turkish official visits his ship in Atropos, his diplomatic facade is perfect except for a brief moment in which he tastes the coffee that Hornblower serves.
- Imperial Radch: In Ancillary Justice, Radchaai have strong opinions about what does and does not qualify as "tea". Most of what's served in "uncivilized" space doesn't.
- 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 do with an artificially flavored substitute. Considering that the ersatz coffee on tap at Cop Central is notoriously bad even by this lowered standard, the top-quality real coffee that Eve's multi-billionaire husband Roarke supplies for her is treated as more precious than liquid gold.
- In John Dies at the End, David compares the taste of John's coffee to a cup of battery acid that someone had pissed in and then cursed at for several hours.
- Laszlo Hadron and the Wargod's Tomb: At one point, Laszlo wakes himself up with a mug of a Navy Starfighter Corps blend called "fighter fuel". The first swig makes him grimace.
- In Spirit Hunters Sura manages to make tea with the color and consistency of pine tar.
- Angel had Angel Investigations' godawful coffee become something of a running gag since none of them could afford the good stuff.
Angel: I think my oesophagus is melting.
- Back In Time For Dinner and the follow-up Further Back in Time for Dinner has an Australian suburban family recreating life as it was lived in past decades, with a particular focus on food. In the 1910s episode—the decade coffee started catching on in Australia—the mother prepared coffee following a recipe from a period cookbook. It involved cracking a whole egg, including the shell, into the pot and adding a pinch of salt to the water. The reactions of the family members who did not no what was in it when they take a sip is priceless: especially the father, whose job involves supplying coffee to cafes.
- Barney Miller: A Running Gag, usually with Det. Nick Yemana. 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.
- In "Rain", Yemana picks up a coffee pot that is being used to catch rain water leaking from the roof and uses that rain water to make coffee.
- And during a water shortage, Wojo tries a coffee substitute: hot Dr. Pepper.
- One time Barney took a sip and nearly gagged; Nick had replaced the coffee with ginseng tea. (To be fair, if you're expecting coffee, tasting anything else could be a shock.)
- In "Fear of Flying", Yemana's coffee is used to induce vomiting and save someone who had attempted Suicide by Pills.
- The Beverly Hillbillies: Possibly the first instance of this trope on a television series, as it pertains to coffee. Elly May was a Lethal Chef and her coffee was highly viscous and nigh indigestible.
- A couple of examples from Blackadder:
- In Blackadder the Third'', the title character gives one of his circuitous insults to Mrs Miggins, owner of the local coffee shop.
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.
- In Blackadder Goes Forth, Captain Blackadder asks Private Baldrick to make coffee, asking if it can taste "a little less like mud this time". Baldrick answers that this is difficult, as it is mud — due to shortages on the front line, they ran out of real ingredients years ago, so in typical Baldrick style he's been using mud as a coffee substitute, in addition to which he is also using ersatz milk (phlegm) and ersatz sugar (dandruff). Blackadder is happy to let Baldrick make a mug of this for Captain Darling, but even he draws the line when the latter asks for some of "that brown stuff you sprinkle on the top".
- In Blackadder the Third'', the title character gives one of his circuitous insults to Mrs Miggins, owner of the local coffee shop.
- 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.
- Crusade: In Visitors From Down The Street, Captain Gideon laments the poor quality of what passes for coffee available aboard starships (it was established on Crusade's predecessor Babylon 5 that real coffee is prohibitively expensive to get off-world). He goes on to voice suspicions that they only caffeinate the stuff to mess with him, thus setting the Conspiracy Theorist tone for the episode.
- Daredevil (2015): According to Foggy, Karen's coffee-brewing skills leave much to be desired:
Foggy Nelson: If we're gonna be Nancy Drewing together, I think a certain level of honesty is required.
Karen Page: What, you don't like my coffee?
Foggy Nelson: No. I hate it. [Karen can't help but stifle a laugh] I appreciate the effort, but the technique or lack thereof—
Karen Page: My god, you are such a dick!
Foggy Nelson: On occasion, some dickery might leak out. That doesn't mean I'm wrong.
Karen Page: Oooh. It means something.
- Ellery's coffee in Ellery Queen. In one episode Ellery's father (who, it should be pointed out is a homicide detective and therefore used to bad coffee) takes one sip and pours his cup down the sink. After a moment's thought, he follows this by pouring the entire pot down the sink.
- In The Expanse, coffee in The Belt and outer planets is so notoriously bad that the Lang Belta term for it is "owkwa kaka": shit waternote . When the main characters take control of a Martian corvette, Holden believes he has discovered the holy grail: a coffee maker stocked with bags of real Martian coffee.
- General Hospital: Brenda serves Sonny coffee, which he declares to be "the worst coffee I have ever had in my life."
- On Gilmore Girls this is a running joke; almost nobody but Luke can make coffee that's up to the girls' standards, and no one else can handle it at the strength they make it themselves.
- On Gimme a Break!, Chief Kiniski was on a stakeout and his partner drank from the thermos of coffee he brought (which was made by one of the daughters). He asked if it was supposed to be coffee. Kiniski looks at it and says "I think so. Turpentine doesn't have grounds in it."
- The Christian Western series The Gospel Bill Show has as one of its running gags that the title character, The Sheriff of the town of Dry Gulch, is lousy at making coffee.
- Green Acres: Another early instance of this trope on a television series from producer Paul Henning. Eva Gabor's character, Lisa Douglas, was terrible at all things domestic and her coffee was no different. It would come out of the pot in a thick black sludge in many, many episodes much to her husband's dismay.
- In The Haunting of Bly Manor Dani Clayton, an American working as an au-pair in an English manor, cannot make tea, to the point that everyone in the house gives her a Flat No by the third or fourth time she offers. Her coffee also leaves much to be desired.
- In this Horrible Histories sketch concerning historical food, the German soldier the host is interviewing tells her about ersatz coffee, which they make with coal tar, nuts and sugar. The soldier didnít think it was that bad, until they ran out of nuts and sugar then had to mix the coal tar with turnips.
- Kamen Rider Build: The coffee brewed by Soichi Isurugi, protagonist Sento's benefactor, is tragically bad — especially since he owns a coffee shop. In fact, the main characters would rather bring in canned vending machine coffee than drink Soichi's; on the other hand, since Build's secret lab is located under the shop, maybe it's a good thing that they don't get much business. Eventually it's revealed that Soichi is possessed by an evil alien, who naturally doesn't understand (or care) what humans consider tasty. In the final episode, after the Big Bad has been defeated, Sento discovers that the real Soichi's coffee is actually very good.
- 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.
- The Last of Us (2023): Joel offers Ellie a sip from a canteen filled with 20-year-old coffee. Like her video game counterpart, she also thinks it tastes like burnt shit. Joel just keeps chugging it anyway.
- M*A*S*H had several examples. In one episode, it's commented that the coffee is improving, because it's less purple.
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!
Winchester: The undrinkable washing down the inedible.
- Said almost word-for-word in Season 5's "Bug Out", only Hawkeye says "vile" instead of "bad".
- Midsomer Murders: While drinking a cup of canteen coffee in "Down Among the Dead Men", Barnaby asks:
"Is this coffee or silt?"
- Monty Python's Flying Circus: "Conquistador coffee brings new meaning to the word 'vomit'." (It's a sales pitch.)
- 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]
- A non-coffee example would be some of Mrs. Davis' concoctions on Our Miss Brooks. Mrs. Davis' coffee was usually fine (the time she made "Bulgarian Coffee" notwithstanding). However, being a Cordon Bleugh Chef, Mrs. Davis sometimes makes horrid liquid (albeit non-alcoholic) drinks that are truly Bad to the Last Drop.
- Stanley in Rizzoli & Isles makes really bad coffee. Jane accuses him of putting his sweat socks in the coffee maker.
- On Schitt's Creek Johnny finally samples some of The Rosebud Motel's rocket fuel coffee and finds it disgusting. Stevie had warned him that nobody ever drinks it.
- In the sci-fi series Starhunter, Percy comments on how bad the coffee in her cup is. She is seen chewing it.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has a couple examples:
- In the episode "Babel", Sisko orders a coffee from the replicator in Ops, and his immediate reaction to its taste is to call Chief O'Brien over to fix the replicator. Unfortunately, when he does fix it, O'Brien inadvertently causes a Bajoran booby trap (intended for the original Cardassian occupants of the station, but long abandoned and forgotten) to activate, unleashing an aphasia virus upon the station. Once the device is removed and the virus cured, though, the replicator goes back to dispensing bad coffee. (It gets fixed eventually.)
- In the episode "Profit and Lace", the Ferengi commercial beverage "Slug-O-Cola" is advertised as "The Slimiest Cola in the Galaxy". While highly popular with Ferengi, one suspects it has poor market penetration in other venues.
- Neelix likes to experiment with coffee in Star Trek: Voyager. "The Cloud" has him invent a glutinous "better-than-coffee substitute" that drives Janeway to redouble her search for energy supplies. During the "Year of Hell", he tries again with a concoction made of ration cubes.
Seven: It is offensive. Fortunately, taste is irrelevant.
- On White Collar, Peter is disgusted by the coffee coming out of the office machine so he takes the time to disassemble it and give it a thorough cleaning. Neal remarks that the coffee tastes a lot better as a result.
- In the song "I Don't Want No More of Army Life", one of the verses goes:
The coffee in the army, they say it's mighty fine.
It's good for cuts and bruises but tastes like turpentine!
The coffee in the army, they say it's mighty fine.
It looks like muddy water and it tastes like turpentine!
- Kate Bush's "Coffee Homeground": "Well, you won't get me with your Belladonna, in the coffee"
- Polish World War I soldier song "Ciężkie czasy legionera" implies this with the following verse:
Z czego robią naszą kawę raz, dwa, trzy?
To zupełnie nieciekawe, raz, dwa, trzy
or "What's our coffee made of, it's really not interesting at all
- Happens on Cabin Pressure:
Arthur: Here you are, skipper. Nice, hot cup of coffee.
Martin: [takes a sip] Ugh, it's cold!
Arthur: Nice cup of coffee.
Martin: It's horrible!
Arthur: Cup of coffee.
Martin: I'm not even sure it is coffee.
- The Deadlands setting has a spell called "Coffin Varnish,"note which conjures coffee of this kind that doubles as a Hideous Hangover Cure.
- In the GURPS setting Transhuman Space, "Martian coffee" is slang for "really bad coffee" (because of the poor water quality in the Martian colonies). The colonists tend to spice it very heavily to mitigate the taste.
- Dungeons & Dragons: In the Forgotten Realms setting, poor quality kaeth is known in the southern Sword Coast as ortulag, a word that roughly translates to "chamber pot rinse warmed over".
- Look Homeward, Angel: The guests at the Gant boarding house, who are in general awful whiners, complain about the coffee.
Mrs. Clatt: I don't know what Mrs. Gant makes this coffee out of. There isn't a bean invented tastes like this.
- Kyoko in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth makes coffee with seaweed and red bean paste. Just one sip knocks the player character out cold.
- Cups of Coffee in Earthbound 1994 heal a piddling 12 HP, making them worthless even in the beginning of the game where Bread Rolls and Hamburgers are readily available. That they're dropped by Scalding Coffee Cups, implying that you're drinking what was once an inexplicably living creature, doesn't help either. The flavor text suggests that there's actually nothing wrong with the coffee itself, but that Ness and his friends don't like it because they are children:
"If you drink this, you recover about 12 HP. I guess it tastes good to adults."
- The Last of Us Part II: Ellie can't understand why Joel would want to drink coffee, given that she thinks coffee tastes like "burnt shit," an opinion shared by Dina. However, it has been a quarter century since the last coffee beans were roasted, so they may have just gone bad.
- In the Future Chapter of Live A Live, the first thing Cube learns to do is make a cup of coffee, which he inevitably makes so repulsively strong that nobody wants to drink it. It culminates when Corporal Darth, who went from hating all robots to becoming Fire-Forged Friends with Cube, asks for a cup in the end and actually likes the disgusting bitter taste. Then again, considering everything else that happened during that chapter, it's possible that drinking bad-tasting coffee was probably the least of Darth's concerns...
- In Max Payne, Max makes a stop during his one-man war on the mob at an all-night diner where he drinks several cups of coffee that in his own words "tasted like engine oil."
- One of Cole Cassidy's lines in Overwatch at the start of a match in the Route 66 map while the team is in a spawn point that is a diner is "Yeah, I wouldn't drink the coffee. Always tasted like boiled dirt."
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, the coffee that Lethal Chef Armstrong serves is, in coffee addict Godot's words: "worth a sip just for the experience." Just a single sip...
- We Happy Few: Overlaps with Uncoffee—The populace of Wellington Wells make do with "toasted chicory" but you can find actual coffee within the upper echelons of society. It's not bad as such; just very inferior.
- AstroLOLogy: "The Perfect Bean" begins with Virgo going to a café where she's served a cup of coffee that smells good and has attractive foam art, but, judging from her reaction, tastes terrible. The next place she goes to is no better.
- 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 Awful Hospital, the "Blackish Foam" served by Joe (formerly known as Jay) counts as coffee insofar as it's served at a cafe, and turns out to be exceptionally poisonous when applied to an open wound.
"...it smells like burnt tire rubber with just a hint of something like cold bacon fat. The only thing you're certain of is that this will never enter your mouth."
- In this page from Blood Stain, Elliot can barely drink Serge's coffee, but since she's a new employee she doesn't want to rock the boat, so she says that it's great.
- Elliot's not any better at making coffee. When she made some at her old job as a waitress, it made her boss' hair fall out.
- In Freefall, after Florence the Bowman's Wolf expresses concern about coffee being possibly toxic to her, Dvorak synthesizes a canine-safe substitute. It smells like a frightened rabbit, which is distinctly appealing to her wolf instincts, but the taste drove her to scald the taste off her tongue with regular coffee.
- The Order of the Stick:
- In the 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, and if it's really bad these reminders are more like desperate flashbacks trying to forget the taste. He violently flies off the handle when he tries his first coffee after becoming undead, and can't taste it at all, good or bad. Before they met him his minions occasionally used the coffee from his favorite place as an improvised weapon.
- In one strip, Vaarsuvius pranks Belkar by leaving out "Explosive Runes" brand coffee. V filtered the coffee through Roy's sweaty socks, to ensure Belkar would be disgusted enough to grab and read the coffee can.
- In Schlock Mercenary, a particularly bad cup of coffee is described as tasting "like caffeine lost a knife fight with the color brown".
- In Something*Positive, Aubrey complains that the coffee in a donut shop "tastes just like a diaper smells." Flinging the cup to the ground, she claims that she could "menstruate a better cup of coffee." When the cashier tells her to leave or he'll call the police, she counters with, "When it comes to bad coffee and donuts, whose side do you think a cop will be on?"
- Satirical Twitter feed Swear Trek commemorated April Fools' Day 2017 with a series of GIFs of different characters from Star Trek (and some other sci-fi series) captioned to describe how awful the coffee was that day by increasingly disgusting comparisons, including Janeway comparing it to "a Gorn's ballsack", Luke Skywalker saying it was "Jawa pee" and The Doctor calling it "Yeti piss".
- Steve 1989 MRE Info: Steve runs a Video Review Show focusing on military rations. Occasionally the powdered drink mixes included are just nasty. Steve expresses a consistent dislike of any drinks that have overpowering flavor and seems able to immediately identify artificial sweeteners in energy drinks.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Good tea is one of Iroh's greatest passions, and he's very particular about it. Nevertheless, when his nephew Zuko tries to brew him a pot as a kind gesture, he happily drinks it, makes sure Zuko can't see him grimace, and surreptitiously dumps it out. He's much less subtle when he goes into a restaurant in Ba Sing Se that serves terrible tea, declaring that it's nothing but hot leaf juice.
- Bob's Burgers: In "The Unnatural", Tina becomes hooked on coffee after trying espresso. At the end of the cartoon, she's so desperate to get her to fix she drinks the cheap coffee out of the pot from a nearby motel lobby, despite it being a week old and having cigarette butts in it.
- DuckTales (1987): In ''Aqua Ducks", Gyro Gearloose invented a new type of health drink that, in Launchpad's words, tasted like "old tires." It turns out that vulcanized rubber was a major ingredient.
- In the Rated "A" for Awesome episode "Sleep Smart", Cashola Company releases a nasty potato-flavored soda (that only Lars seems to like) and has to resort to having subliminal messages played on TV to hypnotize people into buying it.
- The Real Ghostbusters: In "Drool, the Dog-Faced Goblin," the fur-covered hand of an unseen monster gives Egon a cup of coffee.
(Egon takes a swig from the cup and spits it out)
Egon: This coffee tastes like mud.
(He examines it on a slide in his microscope)
Egon: Never mind. It is mud.
- On Ricochet Rabbit and Droop-a-Long Coyote, Deputy Droopalong's coffee is so thick, it has to be cut with scissors when it's poured.
Ricochet: Is that coffee I smell, or is somebody burning a boot?
- Rocko's Modern Life: In "The Emperor's New Joe", the Chameleon Brothers serve coffee bad enough to melt a hole through the cup. It eventually turns out the coffee is brewed from brown dishwater.
- 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."
- Steven Universe: In "Drop Beat Dad", Sour Cream's biological father (and Greg's old manager) Marty tries to sell Guacola, a guacamole-flavored soda, at Sour Cream's rave. The stuff resembles green slime and everyone in the audience hates it (with the exception of Sour Cream's half-brother Onion, for some reason).
Ronaldo: Guacola. Itís a soda that pays people to say they like it, so you know itís good.
- Ronaldo Fryman later agrees to shill for Guacola on his blog to make some extra cash, even though he can barely hide his disgust for the "drink" and the nicest things he can say about it are that "it is technically edible (even if you do have to chew it sometimes)" and that it can also be used as industrial mortar (or to "clog a drain that runs too smoothly").
- Quote ascribed to Abraham Lincoln:
If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.
- Speaking of good old Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War the Northern army had itself quite the coffee addiction. As a cost cutting measure the Union soldiers were given a ration of what was called Essence of Coffee, a proto instant coffee if you will. It was a mixture of evaporated coffee bean shells, condensed milk and sugar in a tin that soldiers could reconstitute with boiling water. Unfortunately it didnít take very well. In the winter the mixture had to be broken up with the butt of a rifle and if thatís not bad enough it gave anyone who drank it a severe case of the runs because spoiled milk was often added as to cut down the cost of producing the cheaper coffee alternative.
- Somehow a tradition arose in the US Navy that neither coffee makers nor drinking mugs should ever be cleaned. This supposedly made the coffee more palatable (or rather, less unpalatable) than it would otherwise be. Possibly this was from a time when poor water quality and lowest-bidder coffee meant that the coffee would be bad no matter what you did. In any event, the result was a bad but consistent flavor that sailors grew used to.