I like that over the years my experience and enjoyment of coffee has grown with me. It all started late in university, when I started working as a fixer for an IT entrepreneur – an enigmatic and generous fellow named Jake. We would meet each morning at his “office”, a corner booth reserved in an out-of-the-way Starbucks (a relatively new chain at the time).
Each morning he would buy me a Starbucks Vanilla Latte. I had resisted coffee through most of my late night music/coding session university life, primarily out of arrogance disguised as moral grounds (I didn’t like the idea of my body having limits that I needed an energy drink to overcome). Jake’s persistence offering me coffee every morning (and the early meeting hour) won me over.
It stayed that way for a long time, but eventually I moved on in life and so did my coffee tastes. After many years of downing milk and sugar with a side of rapidly-declining-in-quality espresso, I moved into the city and my world opened up. I graduated to straight lattes from JJ Bean and Prado, moved decaf for awhile, then rediscovered straight brew without the milk in various forms. Brewed, pressed, aeropress, and my current favourite: pour overs. A simple experience of the bean without much else. Yummy.
At the same time coffee’s role in my life has changed. For a long time it was a fix, a way to maintain my slowly decimating all-nighter work ethic. When I discovered what good coffee tastes like, everything changed. It was more than just the taste, though. Where you could say my coffee relationship was one way and a bit abusive (“Gimme a hit! Triple espresso or bust!”) it’s changed to a more relaxed friendship. I went decaf for more than a year, weening me of my primary need for a caffeine fix (and to reduce the axiotic spasms and shakes it would induce). Now we’re friends; it’s a give and take. I can enjoy it for what it’s worth, and bring my own tastes and opinions to the cup.
Here’s to the Ethiopian Sidamo about to disappear from my mug, steaming from my local coffee haunt.