Coffee – What’s in it for me?
I’ve lately had a lot of conversations about why people drink coffee. Answers range from the mundane (“it gets me through the day”), to the specific (“it keeps me awake during meetings”). Perhaps more interesting, no one believes me when I emphatically tell them that “I drink coffee because I love the taste”. Are we disillusioned with coffee? Is it a necessary evil?
Interestingly enough, I didn’t used to be interested in coffee. Outside of the infrequent all-nighter, I went through college with out the drink. In fact, it wasn’t until the age of 27, when work took me to Europe, did I begin my flirtation with coffee. I began a project for an Italian company, where coffee was the language of meetings. Not to stay awake, but rather to lubricate the connections between coworkers – it was a social drink. Every office had an espresso machine, and you could take it straight or macchiato (with small amount of foamed milk) – the only two choices available. I went from zero to 5 cups per day almost immediately.
After the project, I kept my love for coffee alive through frequent travels. Wherever I went – Vienna, Paris, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, … – I could often find a cafe that sustained my passion for it. Unfortunately, I was most in need of great coffee at home. So I experimented: ground, beans, Keurig, Nespresso. I even once sourced my own machine, with custom pods and coffee, just to get that perfect cup at home. To my dismay, the more I experimented, the more I was left wanting.
It wasn’t until I began roasting my own coffee did I realize that it wasn’t the brewing method that was off, but rather the coffee beans themselves. I realized that the quality of the beans DID matter. And that roasted coffee is PERISHABLE (more on that in another post), and thus must be consumed – or rather SAVORED – while fresh. That’s where the flavor comes from. The rest, such as ideal brewing method, is a matter of personal preference. Uncompromised flavor and freshness must then be a given. Unfortunately it is not in most supermarkets and coffee shops.
And so I finally found a way to “get through the day” and “stay away during meetings” by doing something extremely enjoyable: savoring a fresh and favorful cup of coffee.
What’s your story?