Acquired Tastes

Coffee: a brilliant, blinding light from heaven

Source: Wikimedia Commons

They say coffee is an acquired taste. However, it is one which I instantly developed upon trying a sip from my dad’s mug at age seven. He took his coffee just as any child would – sweet and creamy.

From that moment onward, I was a coffee-seeking missile. I took it wherever I could get it – mixed into the homemade hot chocolate Dad ladled out for us in the blustery New England winters to the self-service carafe at my uncle’s wedding where I guzzled mug after mug in between contra dancing with my siblings and other guests on the dance floor.

Though cautioned that the beverage would stunt my growth, this turned out not to be a science-based statement. I enjoyed as much coffee as I could get my little hands on, while still achieving a perfectly reasonable height of 5’7”.

The single greatest discovery of my teens was the latte. Forget boys and weed – espresso was where it was at!

I recently attended a cupping event led by an expert who encouraged us not to view coffee simply as a commodity. After the event concluded, I was quick to share with him that I’d always cherished coffee. Like a god in a mug, I worshiped that warm, wafting beverage. I feel consistently grateful for every brewed coffee and iced latte that makes its way into my hands.

From the maple syrup/cinnamon/oat milk latte I used to get daily at Oslo, the coffee shop next to my apartment building in Midtown Manhattan, to the dirty iced chai at Gregorys (made with a shot of espresso added to the chai!), I have cherished each and every coffee experience. There are even a few excellent canned coffees, like La Columbe Triple Shot Draft Latte, Nitro Beverage Co. coconut cold brew, and Blue Bottle bold cold brew.

I’ve enjoyed iced vanilla lattes at Brühbar in Leipzig, Tahitian vanilla iced lattes sweetened with house made syrup at Aina Gourmet Market in Maui, to endless macchiatos in Rome, sipped while standing at the marble top bar in shop after shop. I’ve visited coffee farms in Costa Rica and Hawaii and hope to visit many more across the globe.

Coffee has been a stalwart companion my entire life. It enhances any enjoyable occasion and picks one up when one is down. It gives energy and focus to some. Not for me, unfortunately – I can drink it right before bed and still rest easy for eight hours. But I continue to enjoy the taste and the luxurious experience of coffee after all these years.

I wonder what’ll be next in my coffee adventures. Attending an Ethiopian coffee ceremony? Roasting and grinding my own beans? Has anyone tried making Kopi Luwak in collaboration with squirrels?