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!
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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.
For a visual summary of this post, check out my coffee story web story!
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