I grew up drinking coffee from an early age. My dad is ex-airforce, as an airplane mechanic, so he spent lots of time waiting for the planes to come back from 12-hour missions. That meant lots of coffee time. My mother’s family were morning and after dinner drinkers of coffee; so my sisters and I were doomed to be coffee drinkers. As a family, we burned out a “Mr. Coffee Maker” every year – thankfully, Santa brought a new machine each Christmas.
Those years of drinking gallons of drip coffee, left me without a taste for coffee, but just the sugar and cream added. Later, when I moved out after college and lived on my own during grad school, I started sampling coffees grown in other countries. It was eye-opening. The taste difference in coffees from Africa, very Asia and other South America countries; not to mention the different roasting temperatures! I also started drinking my coffee black, so I could taste the differences. I had become a coffee snob. Yes, I still drank the coffee at family gatherings, but I had to “goop” it up with sugar and cream again.
Years later, my job requirements had me flying to Seattle to visit Boeing. It was the first time I had StarBucks coffee. I was not impressed. It tasted burnt and very acidic. I cut back on my coffee drinking when heading out West. I would then suffer the withdrawals from not keeping my caffeine intake up to par. Now, you have to know that at that time, there where three Engineers, including myself, in the office and we drank coffee around the clock. I think the three of us killed 8-10 pots per work day between us, every work day. At this point, I just gave up coffee cold turkey. It was a miserable weekend of headaches and an upset stomach.
I stayed off caffeine for a good ten years. Indulging in decaf and tea. It’s hard to find good decaf, but Dunkin Donuts had some good decaf. It became my go to coffee when traveling. Then one day I read that mild amounts of caffeine can help athletic performance, and I had just started CrossFit, so back to the full brew.
And I discovered a brave new world of coffee roasters. There are tons of roasters now making darker roasts that have low acidity and taste great. I still stay away from StarBuck, and I love that Dunkin is now making a dark roast. I’m back to being a coffee snob. And I wear that title with pride. I like knowing what I like, and am not afraid to bring my own K-cups when I go where there will be a brewer!
I drink moderate amounts of coffee these days, maybe three to four cups. I don’t want to go back the days I always had a cup of coffee in my hand, I want to enjoy my coffee. The way it warms me up, the way it smells and tastes.
This past summer I was sent to Italy on a business trip and was introduced to expresso. I was so impressed with the concentrated flavor that on a river cruise in Germany this fall, I would be up on deck before breakfast with a cup of expresso. It made such an impression on my wife, that she bought me a machine for Christmas.