I, I love you like a love song, baby. And I keep hitting re-pe-pe-pe-pe-pe-peat.
There is drinking coffee, and there is loving coffee. When I was living in Kentucky, I felt as if i were in a world of my own, even in an office setting. I enjoyed coffee to a degree way farther than anyone else took it. While other people would be perfectly happy to open that big red plastic Folger’s container and drink the concoction produced from it, all my taste buds could think of were harsh notes of ash, dirt, and staleness. If the best part of waking up in the morning is that brew, no wonder millions of people wake up and have a bad day. Having no coffee would be better!
For one, I like fresh coffee. Most of you probably haven’t ever had real, fresh coffee if you stick to these old-school cans and the typical bagged or grocery market variety. Don’t get me wrong, the beans might be sourced well and actually come from wherever they were grown. However, the amount of time that bag sits on the shelf varies considerably. The freshest bean you can get is probably a green, or white bean, which hasn’t been roasted to the point that the sugars and oils caramelize, and immediately sent to your house for consumption. My Actual Freshness Scale is graded on time from point of bean being roasted to my cup — and I take freshness seriously.
Coffee has a complex body when it is fresh. If the point of your morning is to get caffeine, you should just consume tea which is so much better for you, or an energy shot, or whatever. I guess you can settle for the dregs of the “cheap stuff” and continue to dislike coffee and trying new things. For those of you who like coffee and love Starbucks and wonder if anything else is available, there are hundreds of varieties for you to choose from. Keep in mind though, that all coffee has that potential of tasting like the cheap slag if it has been roasted like crap and has sat upon a shelf for 6 months.
If you have a discerning tongue, or are chasing that one cup of best-coffee-in-the-world, hope is here! You might have awesome coffee right around the corner. If you don’t, there are more than a few coffee companies who roast in small batches which capture the essence of coffee, and can get it to your cup. You don’t HAVE to go to the local barista and order coffee $6 per Venti. Besides, though there are independent coffee shops that purchase and use stale beans, they still have to compete with chain coffee shops and provide a high degree of service. Some local coffee shops roast on-site. Depending on their expertise, you can have a magical or a miserable cup. I highly recommend trying several types of coffee beans ranging from light to dark roast so that you might get a feel for what the actual roasting levels taste like immediately after roasting. There should be a profound level of difference in what you are used to.
You might also think like the majority of coffee drinkers who believe that the darker the coffee the “stronger” and more caffeinated the coffee is. You would be wrong. =) You could just be “acting like a man” and in the process relegating yourself to crappy coffee drinker. A real man doesn’t drink strong coffee, a real man grows, harvests, roasts, and drinks his own damn coffee. (That’s my reply to the “real man” coffee subject. AKA Why I don’t drink slag.)
When you have that absolute fresh cup of coffee, it actually takes you around the world. You actually taste the deep earthy tones of Ethiopian Harrar. You can smell and taste the Plumeria flowers in Hawaiian Kona. You have robust, chocolatey notes in Colombian Supremo. These statements may sound like they come from a wine enthusiast, and you may have that memory of trying different wines and not being able to tell any difference unless it was difference in color. Coffee isn’t like that. If it is fresh coffee, you will be able to taste these not-subtle differences.
Taste the difference between true light, medium, and dark coffees. Take a trip around the world without leaving your living room or office. For that matter, just write down those three types I just described above, and go find those. Keep in mind, though, that coffee that tastes good isn’t going to be as cheap as that red tub. The process to get that coffee from the tree to your cup is a long, costly and laborious one. To make matters worse, the average Arabica coffee plant only produces between 6 ounces and 1.5 pounds of cherries per year. The cost for that coffee is justified when you actually get a jolt of caffeine from that Hawaiian Kona which is as light bodied as a tea. If you normally put milk or cream in your coffee, you would find it is very easy to use too much in Kona. If you decide to try a medium roast Peruvian you’ll feel like you need more cream to balance the acidity, lighten the body, and the deep earthy tones become much more evident. The flavorful oils turn the mixture almost orange-red in hue; you know you have a fresh cup in your hands.
Even though I do not get paid to advertise anything, I do want to give my support to these roasting companies:
- Coffee Fool: I have been enjoying Coffee Fool’s roasts for more than 8 years now, I believe. They usually have Foolish Friday offers that make getting that cup a little cheaper. They are a small company and have excellent customer service.
- Dillanos: A great roasting company with excellent coffee. I have never had the experience of buying directly from them, but as they are direct roaster-to-shop, everywhere I have had their beans it has been a consistently great taste experience.
- Solar Roast Coffee: Based in Pueblo, Colorado, these guys buy the green beans from around the world and roast their beans using concentrated solar energy. When not using their solar array to roast beans, it provides solar energy to offset the shop.
I hope you find the coffee for you, and go on an adventure across the globe like you’ve never had the chance. I’ve been to Peru, and when i can find a Peruvian roast that tastes like the concentrate I had in Cusco, it takes me right back. Everytime. There is no reason you cannot drink the coffee of the country you wish to visit someday, and bring it to yourself every morning.
Until you find yourself sitting there, enjoying that coffee where it came from.
Is your morning coffee that good? let it be!
Market like the best coffee you ever had.