My Coffee Story
I thought if I detailed how coffee has been a part of my life for a very long time it would allow you to gain a better understanding of how finding a good cup is more than just finding a good cup!
Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I have a long history with coffee. And it started when I was quite young.
Picture if you will a family in the early 1980's sitting down to breakfast at Denny's. There is a Mom and a Dad and two young girls. A waitress walks up to the table and asks for our drink order. She walks away with an order for three coffees and a hot chocolate.
Who do you think got the hot chocolate?
If you guessed one of the girls, you would have been wrong!
It was for my mother.
How did I become a pre-teen for a penchant for coffee? It wasn't a need for caffeine. Lord knows, no child needs more of that (which is precisely why I was limited to one cup on the weekends), I truly loved the taste!
The taste. Acquired when I was quite young living in Panama. We had a maid who let my sister and I have a bit of coffee with LOTS of milk and LOTS of sugar. Looking back, probably not the best treat to give a little girl, but I suppose it could have been worse.
From that point on until I was a student in college, I drank coffee. Regular drip coffee. Then my family moved to Spain and in the summer between my first and second year of college, I worked at the Embassy in Madrid where I was exposed to espresso for the first time. When I returned back to the U.S. I brought back a tin of coffee and espresso cups and saucers. The first purchase I made was to buy an espresso machine! I was hooked.
I drank espresso from that point forward.
My boyfriend in college had an older sister who was married to a Swiss national. They had lived in Paris and enjoyed European coffee. They introduced me to a coffee press, an item that became a permanent part of my home from that point on.
And then the Starbucks explosion happened and my habit became a lot easier to continue. I had stopped drinking drip coffee, certainly in the office as it was never that great in terms of quality. I would drink a coffee in the morning at home and once I got to work I wouldn't touch the stuff. But with a Starbucks on every corner, I get to hop out of the office to grab a coffee a couple of times a day. Not a cheap endeavor but not one I was willing to give up either.
In 2003, I transferred my job to Switzerland and discovered a whole new world of coffee…Nespresso. My office was equipped with a machine on every floor and it was an important aspect of office socializing and collaboration. After a year or two, I was drinking up 6, 7, 8 espressos a day!
And I swear it had nothing to do with George Clooney!
When I moved back to the US the first thing I bought was a Nespresso machine and it continues to be the coffee I drink at home. I start every workday morning with an espresso. Every weekend morning with a cafe creme (cappuccino) since I have more time to drink it.
When I was living in San Francisco and community into the city, there were so many options for good coffee it is ridiculous. And the coffee lover in me sought them out whether it was the city's famous Blue Bottle Coffee, Philz Coffee, Four Barrel Coffee or places serving Northwest greats like Stumptown Coffee, the choices were endless!
For the 18 months, we RV'ed across the United States we brought our Nespresso maker with us (it was a must-have appliance in my book). We spent 6 months in Portland exploring the coffee scene there and 2 years in Phoenix doing the same. I really loved the coffee at Changing Hands Bookstore, Berdenas, and Cartel Coffee.
Now that I am living in North Carolina it is ALL about the Counter Culture coffee (which I first discovered in San Francisco!). I have never loved drip coffee until now. I drink a pot of Counter Culture every day and save espressos, cappuccinos, etc. for the weekends.
With the number of coffee choices we have today, it sometimes becomes hard to differentiate one shop from another. That's where people and stories come into play. I always look forward to discovering the roasters and shop around me and learn their stories.
I've shared my “origin story,” how about you? Do you have a coffee story?
Time for a second cup? Check out my San Francisco's Coffee Culture Wanderlist on AFAR. Or see my collection of cool coffee spots around the world in Come in for a Cuppa.
Ever wonder how to order coffee in Paris? My guide might help! And if you are heading to Portugal, you'll need this how-to order coffee there too!
For a visual summary of this post, check out my coffee story web story!
Like it? PIN it!
I am a cappuccino girl. I had first tried it by tasting Starbucks’ but the real thing in Italy is so much more satisfying – but then again what isn’t in Italy lol.
My grandparents used to own a car wash when I was little so when we visited by grandparents we would spend the day sitting around talking until a customer came in. The adults would drink coffee – my grandparents like it weak – but I would ask for a coffee with lots of sugar. I think this was my first experience with coffee. It didn’t become a habit since my family would warn me that it would stunt my growth and I was looking forward to being really tall…not so much.
@Murissa, ha-ha my grandparents used to the say the same, but everyone in my family is super short, so I wasn’t buying it!
I’ve wondered about the Nespresso machines–you’ve given me positive reasons to consider one!
@Walker, I love mine. Have one at work and home!
I LOVE your coffee story! Once the European coffee gets a hold of you there is no turning back. I don’t like to post links in my comments, but I really want to share my coffee story with you <3 http://capturinglavita.com/but-i-am-an-american-cappuccino-at-night/
@Laurel, it is so true, European coffee is the best!
I discovered the magic of specialty coffee while living in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco for an amazing 3.5 years. I was attending SFSU fulltime and working part time at the Apple store in downtown SF, so I started drinking coffee to get my day started and to stay awake during late night homework sessions. During my time in the bay area I discovered two cafes which quickly became “my spot”. The first was Ritual Coffee in the mission district, but my favorite location will always be the espresso bar Ritual set up at the Flora Grubb plant nursery. The second place I have a strong attachment to is Trouble Coffee in the Outer Sunset. When I first met the owner and heard her story about how and why she was opening Trouble I knew that place would quickly become a community hub and I am glad to see the doors are still open each time I visit. While in Guatemala I discovered “Café con Leche” and every morning for a month I would grab a cup from Café Condesa, which is located on the west side of Parque Central in Antigua. My travels have also taken me to Australia, and my source for an amazing “cuppa” didn’t come from a cool looking café with awesome architecture and a great location, it came from a small coffee stand located on the train platform at Bondi Junction. I was hooked on their Café Mocha, but only if it was the owner that made it because he could combine the flavors of chocolate, coffee, and milk perfectly. There was a bit of a trifecta happening in my cup and I have yet to find a barista that can recreate that experience.
I don’t want to ramble on and take up to much space on your site, but other places I have enjoyed coffee are at Henrici in Zurich, Paul in France, and now I live in Los Angeles and have great options all around me. Thanks for sharing your story, hope you enjoyed mine.
FYI, I was extremely caffeinated while I typed this.
@Artie, wow! Thanks for sharing your coffee story! I am impressed!
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do use it in my cupcakes to bring out the richness of the chocolate! I’d be your mother ordering hot cocoa!
I love coffee & tea stories, where people share their favorite places to go, cities they found the best tea houses in or must-visit coffee shops around the world.
I need to have my coffee in the morning. And two cups are even better that one. 🙂 Later the day i like to switch to tea. Without that my day doesn’t feel complete. Hope that makes sense?!
This is such a cool story! (And I love the great coffee/latte pics!) I always tell my husband that coffee can be the source for incredible stories!
You must be my sister from another mister! We have so much in common; coffee, food, travel. Oh My! Loved reading this story.