I know – and have known – many people who weren’t coffee drinkers, but still needed a caffeine boost. Some of them rely on tea, but others drink less-healthy options, like soda or energy drinks, throughout the day. I know that a decent amount of those people wish they had a healthier alternative that still brought them the energy boost – like coffee.
I know other people who love the smell of coffee and wished they could get into it, but just don’t like the flavor and can’t get past that, much to their chagrin.
Like tea, beer, sharp cheese, and dark chocolate, coffee is most definitely an acquired taste. And – as with those delicious delicacies – I have found that the joy I get out of it now is well worth the relatively short period of time I spent getting into it.
So, today, I’m sharing how I got into coffee, and giving you advice and ideas for how you can get into it too, whatever your reason.
How I Got Into Coffee
There was a time when I was one of those people who didn’t like coffee – I grew up with coffee-guzzling parents, and I always loved the way that it smelled. But – and it’s hard to believe now – there was a time when I absolutely couldn’t stand the taste.
When I was in high school, I worked at a convenience store that allowed us to have free water, coffee, “cappuccino”, or soda throughout our shifts. I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and drink more than just plain water, but the amount of soda I was suddenly drinking concerned me.
The “cappuccinos” we sold weren’t real cappuccinos – they were essentially a ‘coffee’ version of hot chocolate consisting of flavored coffee powder that a machine would add hot water to, resulting in a super sweet kind of faux coffee that barely had any coffee taste to it at all.
These drinks were so sweet and tasted so little like coffee, that I actually liked the way they tasted, so I switched to drinking them instead of drinking soda. However, this felt like a lateral move in terms of healthiness of the drink, so I started adding just a little splash of coffee into my drink, just to the point where I could taste it a bit, but it was still really easy to drink.
I started adding just a little bit more every day, until I was at the point of drinking a half-and-half mixture of these powdered cappuccinos and black coffee. Then, before I knew it, I was drinking mainly black coffee and using the sugary drinks as a kind of creamer, and adding a little bit real creamer as well.
Eventually, I got to the point of drinking black coffee with a little bit of regular creamer, and then I got to the point where I could drink black coffee and really didn’t mind it.
Then, before I knew it, I started appreciating and loving black coffee. Now, it’s my very favorite beverage, and give me extra motivation to get out of bed in the morning.
Get Into it Gradually
The easiest way to get into coffee is to do something similar to what I did, though it might serve you better to modify what I did into a quicker succession. My recommendation is to firstly start experimenting. Find flavored creamers you like and experiment with forms of coffee and fancier coffee drinks, like espresso drinks, which actually have much more milk than they do coffee, ratio-wise.
Experiment, experiment, experiment!
Once you’ve found something you like and are okay with drinking consistently, start making the coffee part of it stronger, little-by-little. If you’re drinking espresso drinks, try ordering (or making) an extra shot of espresso and/or ordering the drink with a pump less of flavor (then two pumps less or half-sweet), and eventually try switching it up and ordering a cafe au lait, or coffee with milk. Those consist of half coffee and half milk, and you can order some flavoring to add in as well.
If you’re brewing your own coffee at home, start with flavored coffee. Add a bunch of milk and a little bit of creamer or sugar, and just adjust your ratios over time so that you’re drinking more coffee and less creamer/milk.
Or Just Jump In
A completely alternative method of getting into coffee – and one that’s not for the faint of heart – is to just jump right in and start drinking it black until you like it.
My brother got into coffee this way, and it amazed me. He just started drinking it black, even though he didn’t like it, until he started liking the flavor. Once he got to that point, he started adding a little bit of milk, and now really enjoys his coffee – with that little bit of milk added in.
This isn’t the way that I’d recommend getting into coffee; it’s a little too hardcore for me. However, that is how a lot people get into things that are acquired tastes, and it works for them.
There’s no right way or wrong way to get into coffee. You know yourself best, so you know what’ll work for you and what won’t. The key is to push yourself at least a little bit – if you keep drinking coffee that’s so full of cream and sugar that you can’t taste the coffee at all, then you’ll never acquire a taste for it.
You don’t need to make it taste overwhelmingly like coffee, but you want to make sure you can taste it at least a little bit. As your tastes adjust, you’ll find yourself tasting – or at least disliking it – less and less, so you can add more and more coffee (or less and less sugar and creamer) accordingly.
Best of luck, and happy coffee drinking!
How did you get into coffee? Or, are you still wanting to (or just starting to) get into it yourself? Share your experiences in the comments below!