Our love of coffee has been a story too. Most of us didn’t begin with the love. As young people, coffee may have been seen as a rite of passage into adulthood. Maybe our first “adult” drink. It took us a while to adjust to it. Some of us couldn’t drink it black at first – it made us cringe. Is this what adults do? We loaded it with anything we could find that would help us in our inability to drink the whole cup. Sugar, non-dairy creamer, add-in flavors – anything that would make it go down more easily. Before long, we were pretty good at it. But a “good” cup of coffee was always based on the availability of the condiments. We tried to make it taste like dessert. That seemed to work pretty well for us.
On a more utilitarian level, it became a way for us to stay awake when we needed to the most. The effects of caffeine were generally known. They were confirmed by us as soon as we started drinking it. For many, the buzz became the primary objective of the cup of coffee! A day came when it seemed we needed it for that reason alone. Early mornings, just trying to make it through another morning of work. We appreciated what coffee did for us. But it was, still, most of the time, impossible to truly love it. Over time, the coffee became tolerable – we adapted to it, and it became part of our everyday life. And when that happened, we said we had developed an “acquired taste”.But now it is different. We’ve evolved. We’ve learned so many things about our coffee that were never part of our experience before. We’ve begun to understand and integrate the stories of others into our stories. The stories of growers and roasters. The stories of their experiences, lessons, and technical expertise. But also the stories of their cultures, and families, and ways of life. We’ve connected with their craft, and it has set the stage for our deeper understanding of what beautiful coffee requires. We’ve learned that, from one carefully grown, nurtured, harvested, and roasted coffee bean, we could produce many beautiful results. Many beautiful coffees.