My coffee journey began sometime in junior high. It was pretty popular to be one of the kids who drank coffee. Of course, at that age, I really did not like the bitter flavor. When coffee was available, I mixed it with hot chocolate and called it my coffee. What I actually preferred was the sweetness of the chocolate.
After that phase, I moved on to the more sophisticated version of drinking coffee that really didn't taste like coffee: the heavily flavored latte. My personal choice for years was a Starbucks vanilla latte with two packets of sugar. Did I like coffee then? I would say no. Looking back, I think I liked sugar and the thought of coffee. I mean, it really doesn't taste like coffee since it is so thoroughly diluted by milk and sugar. In the double income before kids phase, though, it was my morning coffee drink.
When our first little bundle of joy arrived and our income reduced to practically poverty level, I decided that my special coffee drink must be one of the items to cut from the budget. Sadly, it was not a necessity. Drinking a latte became a splurge or a luxury I only enjoyed with my mom (because she bought me a latte).
Around this same time, my husband's coffee drinking habits began to dramatically change. To call his initial drink "coffee" was practically a joke. He filled his cup about halfway with creamer, added a generous helping of sugar, then topped it off with a dash of coffee. He suddenly decided that he wanted to be able to drink coffee however it was offered, which frequently meant "black" coffee. Slowly and progressively he began to reduce the amount of sugar and creamer and increase the amount of coffee in his cup. He finally changed his tastes and for several years now enjoys, even prefers, his coffee black.
Watching my husband go through this process inspired me. Why should I be so picky that the only coffee I consumed was a sugary vanilla latte? I started to make my own coffee at home and learned to enjoy it with my own milk and sugar. In the beginning, I used Starbucks coffee beans and a cheap little whirly coffee grinder.
Soon my horizons expanded yet again. My brother, who prefers to have coffee running through his veins rather than blood, introduced me to a coffee shop and roasting place downtown. He began to talk about the roasting process, which produced a coffee with a dramatically reduced bitter taste and no burned flavor. At first I had no idea what he was talking about. Isn't that just how all coffee tastes?
As I transitioned to purchasing my beans from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co, I began to notice the difference. The coffee was rich, flavorful and delicious. When I used those beans, I needed dramatically less sugar and milk. In other words, there was less "bad" flavor to mask. As an added perk, the coffee is organic. If you want to try a cup of really good coffee with incredible flavor, I highly recommend Olympia Coffee Roasting Co in downtown Olympia or the west side.
The only problem is that I am now spoiled. I like my coffee the way I prepare my coffee. Other coffee tastes bitter and burned. It is hardly worth drinking.
Oh, how do I prepare my coffee? Well, glad you asked. Here is my perfect cup of coffee:
1. Start with some perfectly roasted coffee beans, obviously, from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co.
2. Grind the coffee beans in a burr coffee grinder.
3. Measure amount of water. (My method is to use our coffee cups and fill them with filtered water from the fridge.)
4. Prepare the coffee in either a coffee maker or a French Press. I go through phases as to which one I use. Right now I am just using my coffee maker.
5. Pour the coffee into our cups. In my cup, I add some sweetener. My favorite sweeteners are raw sugar, raw honey or real maple syrup. Today I used raw honey.
6. When I feel like something special, I add a spoonful of real vanilla extract. (Or sometimes I forgo the sweetener and vanilla and instead add a spoonful of homemade Kahlua.)
7. Lastly, I add my warmed raw whole milk. Yes, whole milk. In my opinion, whole milk tastes way better than half and half.
And there you have it. A perfect cup of coffee for myself and my husband. And you know, coffee just tastes better when it is served in your favorite coffee cup.