For more than 30 years, off and on, SoCal hardcore pioneers the Descendents have been playing loud, fast, and twitchy punk rock songs that owe everything to the band's legendary consumption of their drug of choice: caffeine. In its early years on the road, the band invented its own home brew of sorts: the Bonus Cup. It was the band's "attempt at making an espresso, without the machine," recalls frontman Milo Aukerman. They'd fill a cup partway with instant coffee crystals, add hot water, and chug it down. "It was like coffee sludge," Aukerman tells 'Men's Journal.' "It tasted like shit, but it got you wired beyond belief."
The Descendents' coffee intake has always been critical. "We like to play fast, so you can't be sleepwalking up there," says the singer. "It's a crutch, for sure, but at least we're not strung out on something harder."
Today, the band has refined its collective tastebuds considerably. Aukerman, who has a Ph.D. and works as a research biochemist in Delaware, says he uses a Rancilio espresso machine at home and a Gaggia Titanium in the lab. Though the band sells an official "Bonus Cup" mug – it's emblazoned with the nerd cartoon from the covers of the band's early albums, with smoke coming out of his ears and sparks flying off his head ("Thou Shalt Not Partake of Decaf") – Aukerman says he uses a demitasse, "so I can point my pinky up when I sip."
Both he and drummer Bill Stevenson are partial to KGBlend, a complex specialty roast developed by the Russian immigrants Anatoly and Leonid Yuffa, who founded the Dazbog chain of coffee shops in Colorado. "It's an extremely dark, oily roast that Bill turned me onto," Aukerman reports. "Makes killer espressos – like a Bonus Cup that actually tastes good." [$12.95/12 oz. bag; store.dazbog.com]