Though my coffee experiences are not as well-traveled as Afar Magazine’s Andi Fisher, I would like to share my mostly ‘domestic’ coffee story. I did not drink coffee in college, I found my caffeine by drinking Sweet Tea and Coca-cola (which have now been replaced by new vices: coffee and whisky). My first job after college required early meetings. The first day was fine but come the second and third, I began to wonder if I could last. I decided to try out the office pot of (no doubt) Maxwell House. I added sugar and cream and sugar to taste and found this helpful, almost necessary, for me to enjoy it. As a late bloomer, I hadn’t experienced so much of what the world had to offer but considered this a good place to start.
My next job required late nights, early mornings and an insane amount of driving. Starbucks allowed me to stay awake and expand my coffee reach to sugary drinks like Carmel Macchiatos or Mochas. Though still a far cry from an Americano, I considered myself to be doing alright, since I was getting more coffee than the hot chocolate drinkers and latte-ist. I considered myself ‘branching out’ which could translate at the least to growing.
When racing off to coach early soccer games put me in more of a hurry, with nights prior leaving me wanting and finances that required less spending, I switched over to drip coffee. I would make it at home (Maxwell House again) or grab the house drip while out. This was growth – closer to being an actual “coffee drinker” but I was still adding cream and sugar, though less sugar than before.
I then progressed my way into no cream and less and less sugar. If I was somewhere with a less than desirable house brew, I would add a dash of cinnamon. The cinnamon became a good fall-back the more I traveled and eventually (unfortunately) made its way in before trying the coffee.
Of course, I didn’t like this and possibly my taste exploration in varietals of wine and whisky influenced my interests, but I wanted to know more – taste more – of what I was drinking. I started to search out coffee shops and ask the barista about the blends and brews they were serving. In my adventures, I then found a coffee shop in Austin that changed the way I thought about coffee and another that changed the way I enjoyed my coffee. Two more places in Austin to grab a cuppa.
The way I thought about coffee: Houndstooth Coffee had a black board of coffees and espressos – they asked that you choose your coffee then choose your method. When I saw the method bit I was a little taken aback. I could have a French Press, Pour Over, or Syphon. I had only heard of the French Press and decided to chose it my first time around. Since then I have switched to the Pour Over method and Houndstooth has switched to ‘choosing the method for you, per your choice of coffee’. I agree with this change, this allows us to enjoy the coffee in the ideal way for it to be brewed. For more about brewing methods, check this out and if there is one near you, stop by for a cuppa too.
The way I enjoy coffee: Cenote, a coffee shop that I love and have blogged about before, offered a Las Mingas. After drinking this coffee straight, it changed the way I drank all other coffees. Cuvee Coffee makes other good blends as well, but it was Las Mingas that captured my heart. I have shared it with every other coffee drinker I know; most of which now drink their coffee straight too.