I knew nothing about coffee growing up. My parents liked the smell, but hated the taste, so it was never around for me to learn or enjoy any aspect of it.
The first time I tried anything with coffee in it was when I was about eleven or twelve years old. The church I was attending at the time had obtained an espresso machine and had a coffee bar before (and maybe after?) services. One day, my mum bought a chocolate cappuccino. She wasn’t super hyped about it, but I’d try anything with chocolate! After one sip, I decided coffee wasn’t for me 😖.
The next time I tried coffee was when I was sixteen. I was on a retreat in Silver Dollar City with a youth group, and some of the other girls excitedly took advantage of the coffee maker in our hotel room. Even one of the younger boys (I think he was in sixth grade) kept talking about how he needed his coffee. The first morning, I decided to give coffee another shot. Knowing nothing about how to go about partaking it, I put about an inch of coffee in the bottom of my cup and loaded it with sugar. Gross, right? I thought so, too.
It wasn’t until I got my first job at nineteen that I began to take my coffee a little more seriously. I’d discovered that with about three little cups of creamer, and a packet or two of sweetener, coffee was not only tolerable, but enjoyable. A few times, my supervisor would offer to make a coffee run and buy us each something. I always took advantage of it. If the run was to the locally popular convenience store (QT), I’d go for the French vanilla cappuccino. If it was ever Starbucks, I got a vanilla bean créme frappuccino (coffee-free). About a year into the job, I stopped at a cheaper convenience store about every other morning to get a little coffee in my creamer 😁.
Not too long later, a woman was transferred to our department who couldn’t live without her coffee. Every day, she went to the neighbouring department to get her morning joe; eventually our supervisor caved and let us have a coffee maker in our room. I quickly grew to fully enjoy the stuff — especially after transferring departments and I worked full time as well as attending school full time.
Fast forward over the years since, and I’ve learned a lot: the how-to and reasons for different brewing methods, origins of different beans, the science of the roasting process (including caffeine content of each roast and what it really means), the history of coffeehouses, and the best ways to get the most out of each cup.
Earlier this year, I considered myself a coffee connoisseur. When I actually looked up the definition of the word (“a person who is especially competent to pass critical judgments in an art, particularly one of the fine arts, or in matters of taste”*), I realised I wasn’t there yet. I still have a lot to learn.
Despite the fact that it’s become a grab-and-go boost of energy in America, coffee is one of the many great ways to stop, take a look around, and ponder life. Or enjoy a break with friends. Even to explore different parts of the world, whether from a café in Venice or your very own kitchen.
So I figured, why not share my love of coffee on my adventure blog? I may talk about coffee itself, where I enjoyed my cup that day, or what I thought about in my relaxing moment, that’s what Coffee Monday will be about.
No promises yet that it’ll be every week, either.