Drinking coffee is a polarizing issue. Most people either love it or want nothing to do with it. Like any drink made as a human concoction, coffee is an acquired taste. Somewhere along the line, someone had to decide to pick, dry, and grind the beans, then run hot water through the grounds and drink the results. Once this innovator got others to take a sip, a popular new product was born.
Since then, coffee has evolved more than probably any other drink, going through all kinds of cultures to develop a wide array of flavors and preparation styles that all but guarantee a match for any palate.
And that is the reason that maybe you can give coffee a try. Many of us shunned the drink after trying a sip of someone else’s. We drew a conclusion that the stuff was just not for us, based on that one sip of one cup.
Of course, that doesn’t really make sense. You shouldn’t decide you hate baseball just because the first game you watched ended with a 1-0 final score, and you shouldn’t decide you hate coffee just because the first cup you tasted wasn’t good.
The reality is that you can go in a lot of different directions with coffee. It doesn’t have to be black, strong, high-caffeine stuff that leaves you feeling jittery for the rest of the day. There are many ways you can make your coffee your own.
In addition to the natural flavors and aromas found in coffee, we can mix in a variety of others. A good understanding of your bean base will help guide you to the right syrups and sweeteners to enhance them. (We’ll talk more about beans in a moment.) You’ll be able to develop a bit of a matrix for what flavorings best match your particular beans.
The first step is to use quality flavorings like Monin Coffee Syrup. Something that has been derived from a natural base—be it a vanilla bean, hazelnut, or rich caramel—will dramatically improve the taste and quality of coffee over artificial alternatives.
Not all coffee beans are the same. The most popular, Arabica, is sort of a middle-of-the-road coffee. Its caffeine content is moderate, and it has a generally smooth flavor. Close behind is Robusta, a higher-caffeine variety that carries a touch of chocolate flavor, a more bitter taste, and a caffeine level that can be double Arabica.
Bringing up the rear are Liberica and Excelsa. Liberica has a unique flavor that some describe as more woody than coffee-like, while Excelsa is more of a blending variety that is used to fill the flavors of other varieties.
And you thought all coffee was the same. Experiment with these different flavors. They are as diverse as wine offerings, and one of them is likely to suit you.
From there, of course, there are endless options. You can top it with whipped cream or throw in some sugar. You can stir in milk or cream. You can garnish with a stick of cinnamon or even go with an iced coffee.
This is the place where you can really experiment fairly easily and without too much cost. This will give you the chance to put the finishing touches on your custom-built cup of coffee.
Consider giving coffee a chance! That first cup might have been too cold, too black, or too cheap. If you ever get a chance to drink a quality cup of coffee brewed from quality beans, flavored with quality syrup, and topped with a perfect touch at the end, you just might change your mind.