Coffee wasn’t part of my life up until ten years ago. Growing up, my grandmother kept reminding me not to drink it if I wanted to grow tall. I listened to the advice, but the growth hormones pretty much followed their own rules. But I’ve always had some fascination with coffee. I have fond memories of coffee beans waiting to be plucked from trees in my grandparents’ backyard.
The habit of not drinking coffee stuck for years. It proved handy when I became a national team athlete. Our head coach then kept telling us to avoid coffee and iced tea. It was not much of a hardship given that I haven’t developed the taste for it.
I can’t recall the moment when I started to like coffee. It was probably soon after I retired from competitive training. I now find myself never going without at least a cup every day. But quite recently, I realized that I don’t know what really makes a good cup.
Except from what I’ve read, I don’t have the faintest idea of the difference between an Arabica and Robusta. Maybe it’s because I’ve rarely enjoyed a brew without the trappings. Cold milk, steamed milk, caramel, chocolate, peppermint, ice, or whatever it is that adds to the entire hot or cold coffee experience inadvertently hides the purity I now seek.
I want to understand coffee at its purest form. It would be nice to know its source from smell alone, catch subtle hints of flavors, and taste the undertones. It was while sipping cups of Kilimanjaro and Blue Mountain coffee sweetened with brown sugar crystals and nothing else that I began to appreciate the subtle differences.
I still love the rich flavors of frappe and cafe mocha. But for now, I’d like to know more about coffee in its simplest form. The one that lurks behind every delightful brew.