A personal adventure with hot beverages
My history with coffee
I’ve never been into coffee, every time I’ve tried them as a child or young adult they have been terrible. They have just been bitter and it’s not a taste profile I to this day enjoy at all.
I have, a couple of times encountered coffee that friends have made that actually weren’t that bitter. So my reaction to it has managed to reach the level of “this isn’t terrible”. Not terrible isn’t a great review though, not really something that one gets back to right away.
Where am I at with tea though?
I did learn to drink tea at a quite early age, with time I have developed opinions about tea.
I have quite strong opinions about what bad tea is and I have opinions about fancy tea.
My three classifications of tea
- All tea that comes in small paper bags, it just tastes like paper
- All tea that comes in big packs from Lipton
- Most teas that doesn’t have a name other than a color such as “black” or “green”
- Tea that smells more like perfume but tastes like nothing but hot water
- Most versions of Earl Gray
- Rooibos, it’s not tea though, I just include it anyways
- Tea that requires highly specific timing and water temperature to be drinkable at all.
- Matcha tea.
- Gunpowder tea.
- Tea that tastes like algae.
I have some specific favorites like everyone, I mostly drink black teas, often with some fruit flavoring from the local tea store.
If I want to get fancy, I do order “Earl Gray Assam Gold” from the Stockholm tea store “In the mood for tea”. While most earl gray tastes bitter, their Earl Gray actually tastes what it’s supposed to taste: Bergamot.
However, I tend to not go more into the fancy field than that. I’ve, at best managed to drink some fancy tea that has been prepared by people who I trust in preparing them properly. My reaction has always, at best been that I… maybe manage to drink it at all. Mostly I think it tastes like algea and that is… to me not a great thing.
The cultural dominance of coffee
In Swedish society there’s a huge dominance of coffee in the culture. This also means that there’s a whole lot of convenience around coffee with a lot of infrastructure built to deliver coffee to people everywhere.
It’s also built into the culture, if you’re meeting up with some colleges that you haven’t seen for a long time. The default question for most people is to do so over a cup of coffee.
As a tea drinker you’re often the “odd one out” in most cases. There’s just a whole lot more coffee out there as a cultural norm.
There’s also a lot of seasonal coffee drinks at cafés that contain coffee, drinks that I’ve been wanting to try out that has been ruined by the coffee that they contain.
So can I get used to coffee?
I know for a fact that the taste buds does change quite rapidly, if you do a change, like reduce the amount of salt for 3 weeks, it will begin as bland and within 3 weeks you’ll get used to the lower salt contents and other tastes will grow more clear to you.
So I started thinking, does this work for coffee?
What’s the cheapest and least effort way to try coffee?
This is easy: The one you already have at home, which is instant coffee that’s expired the best before date that your father in law left at your place over two years ago so there’s some coffee at your place when he visits.
Is this the best coffee?
Probably not. That wasn’t the point.
So did you start drinking this?
Yes, yes I did. It were absolutely terrible when I started. A week later it was still terrible. However, a week in it was actually slightly less terrible than when I started out.
And yes, I did drink it black at all times.
What happened after a week?
Well… I do like to read about nerdy things so I started on a Youtube track of James Hoffmann and started to be interested in Specialty Coffee. So I did order a grinder for like €190 and an Aeropress. This without even having any beans at home.
Then I happened to go on a business trip and ended up at a restaurant with some friends, they got to hear about my experiment and brought me to a coffee café that also imports and roast their own beans. So I tried some coffee there and it was pretty decent and suddenly I had paid €22 for 250g of coffee beans at the Drops Coffee café. But you know, they were roasted just a couple of days ago.
I’ve also bought some cheaper beans at a store to practice using my new equipment on just to know how it works.
I did buy a tasting kit from Drops Coffee which is a great pack. I got 5 packs of 100g of different coffee for just €37.
So do I like coffee now?
I seem to have an easier time to drink light roasted specialty coffees that are in general quite light.
I have managed to drink espresso at cafés a couple of times and they have been fine. Even at non-fancy cafés.
I’ve also managed to enjoy seasonal coffee drinks at cafés, which I guess was part of the bigger goal.
Will I continue to drink coffee now? I guess, I have all this fancy equipment and a lot of expensive beans at home to drink. So I may actually like this properly sooner or later.