As a child, I hated everything about coffee. I hated the smell of it in the morning when my dad would brew a pot each day. I hated the color of it, and how it stained the inside of all of the mugs that I used to drink hot chocolate out of. I remember touring the Kona Coffee plant with my parents while on a vacation in Hawaii, where they had gourmet coffee and several different roasts. The tour was really interesting for me at twelve years of age, getting to see all the different machines, how the coffee was roasted, etc. I had this whole diatribe of how I brought myself to taste the coffee because of how magnificent it smelled, and how I was grossly disappointed because it still tasted awful, but I’ll spare you the details of my experience, just know that coffee hit rock bottom for me. There could be nothing worse. Fast forward to 2007-ish. I began working mornings at my job, which meant having to be at work at 6 a.m., it sucked. What made it better for me was my arch nemesis, coffee. One thing I noticed about all of my co-workers that worked early with me, was that they drank coffee. I made the leap one morning, so one day I got a cup and filled ‘er up, making sure to add sugar and milk, to soften the blow of the horrendous taste that was about to greet my taste buds. The first few days were bad, but, I was alert and energetic from the second the coffee hit me. And this is where my love for coffee stems. Coffee got me through those days, well, at least the work part. Because, as soon as I got home a nap was definitely in order. Thanks coffee.
Moving along, I spent some time last summer in Costa Rica, a place known for their great coffee. At this time in my life I have come to terms with coffee, we get along, but I was ready to take the next step in our relationship. This meant more coffee plant tours, and more coffee. While in Costa Rica, we toured two coffee plantations, Cafe Britt, which is probably largest in the country, and a small family run operation called El Trapiché. The whole month of traveling I was drinking coffee at least once a day. This is where I started to enjoy my coffee in its purest form, black. I also learned that lighter roasts of coffee contain more caffeine.
The next step in my life, and with my relationship to coffee brought me to Portland, where all things remotely food related are critically examined. This is a double edged sword for me, because sometimes I just want a salami sandwich, but all you can find is a pepper crusted genoa salami with a dill havarti cheese, roasted red pepper tapenade and stone ground dijon mustard all on lightly toasted marbled rye bread. But, there is amazing food here. The same goes for coffee in Portland, with some heavy hitters like Stumptown Coffee Co., Portland Roasting Co., and World Cup Coffee. All are artisans of the trade, and produce excellent coffee. Stumptown has to be the local favorite, as most local coffee shops and retailers carry Stumptown coffee. Portland also has a rising number of home coffee roasters.
Now that I am a coffee expert, let me tell you this: There are several ways to brew coffee, however, I have found that the best way to enjoy fresh brewed coffee is by using a french press to brew every cup. So, there you have it, my step by step story as to how I became a coffee lover.