Today I want to “teach you” how to drink coffee, and although it sounds like a fairly easy task, in reality, it is not. When I talk about drinking coffee, I mean appreciating its magnificent natural characteristics.
Coffee is a great beverage with many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease. In addition, if it is prepared correctly and with quality beans, it has a fantastic flavor. However, if prepared incorrectly or with poor-quality beans, they can have a horrible taste and texture.
How to drink coffee correctly
The first thing to understand is that coffee is not a destination but rather a journey through two axes:
- One is the taste of the coffee, with natural flavors at the top and additives at the bottom.
- While on the other axis, we have time; as you drink more and more coffee, you will begin to appreciate its natural characteristics.
- With time you begin to reduce the additives such as milk or sugar and appreciate the natural sweetness and the deeper flavors in coffee without any additives.
Some people fall off the top graph (on the left) during this journey, drinking everything but coffee. However, most people are just starting at the beginning of the curve, drinking the typical Starbucks additive-heavy coffees.
Then, as you move on, you start to see people dropping the amount of sugar and focus on drinking lattes or black coffees with a splash of milk or cream.
As you keep going up to the top right corner of the graph, that’s when you are drinking black coffee, pure with no additives, just coffee with its natural characteristics.
There is no right or wrong way to drink coffee, as everyone is on that journey, albeit at different points. It’s all about the evolution of the palate and adjusting it to find the natural sweetness of black coffee.
Why do some people hate coffee?
Many people say that coffee tastes very bad, and they can’t stand the taste of it, so much so that they refuse to try to appreciate it again. These people who hate coffee probably had a first bad experience in the past and associated it forever with this beverage, in all its variants.
Surely the first time you took a sip of your father’s beer or wine, you wanted to puke. However, with time, your palate gets used to it, and now you can differentiate even the grape variety of wine.
I have often heard that people who hate coffee don’t understand how everyone seems so obsessed with this drink. Well, here you will find everything you need to solve this doubt and “learn to drink coffee.”
How to start drinking coffee
First, don’t drink it black because if you do, the chances of enjoying it will be almost nil. Don’t even start with lattes or cappuccinos. What you need to start with is identifying the flavors you already enjoy.
For example, if you like chocolate, drink a Moka. Start with a weak Moka since it is a mixture of chocolate, coffee, and milk. Start with a small amount of coffee in the Moka so that most of the flavor is chocolate, and the coffee is only slightly noticeable.
If you like vanilla or caramel, enjoy a Latte with vanilla or caramel, but make sure it is weak. And in this case, as in the case of Moka, make sure you don’t go to a poor-quality coffee shop so that your perspective on coffee can change.
During this coffee journey, try it little by little, and as you progress, add a little more coffee until you start to get used to the flavors.
How to drink coffee if you already like coffee
On the other hand, we have those who are already drinking coffee with milk but without sugar (at a medium-high point of the graph). You often want to drink more coffee, but you feel bloated because of the amount of milk.
It will be advisable to start adjusting the amount of milk and the palate to drink only black coffee. Again, do not start drinking black coffee or espresso without any additives straight away because this can be too much for you.
I recommend you start with an Americano or Long Black and add a good splash of hot milk so that it is not a cold drink. Do this for a week to allow your body to adapt to the new flavors, and then start reducing the amount of milk little by little.
Don’t expect to like it immediately, but eventually, you may get to the point where you only drink your coffee with a splash of cold water. At this point, you can begin to refine your palate with the flavors of coffee and appreciate coffee in its purest form.
How to start drinking espresso
Now, for those who want to drink espresso or ristretto, before drinking it, it is best to clean the palate with a little water, as it helps to remove any of the other flavors that may be in the mouth.
When sipping, spread it lightly over the back of the palate and tongue in the form of a spray. This way, you will pick up all the different flavors, even the more subtle nuances of that coffee, and you will start to think about what it is you are picking up.
- Flavor and notes: Maybe you can’t say: – I pick up blueberries or raspberries! But maybe, you can tell – They are fruits! Even that berry sensation may trigger sensations from your childhood memories. – Ah, I know that flavor; it’s a candy my mother used to make!
- Body: On the other hand, you should evaluate how it feels on the tongue – is it heavy, light, silky, or smooth? This is what we call body or mouthfeel.
- Acidity: Feel other sensations you may notice, like sparkling water or red apple, citrusy, sparkling, or bright sensations. This is what we call acidity, which is a desirable characteristic.
- Aftertaste: Think about the finish: is it clean and crisp, lasts a long time, does it dissipate quickly…? That’s what we call aftertaste.
- Aroma: All the smells that accompany hot coffee are what we know as aromas.
When you hone in on all these different traits, you start to appreciate the totality of the coffee.
There is no right or wrong way to drink coffee; it depends on what your palate desires. And if someone judges you because you like it with a lot of additives and prefer to drink it black, it’s not fair because they probably were right at the top of that chart and drank it with tons of additives in the past.
I still like to drink milk-based coffees, like almond cappuccino or Flat white. I love all types of coffee, and yes, there was a time when I used to drink it with six tablespoons of sugar and gulp it down while holding my nose.
Now with the existing technology in coffee makers and grinders and access to all the beautiful varieties of coffee beans on the market, we can appreciate coffee in any form.