Coffee: My Story

It all started when I was around 12 years old. I was introduced to coffee during a visit to my Aunt and Uncle's house. They persuaded me to try one of their breakfast options: coffee and toast. I’ve always had the attitude to try something at least once so I did. BLAH! Black coffee, even dunking toast oozing with butter on it was disgusting! Well, to set the record straight, I didn’t really drink the coffee. Rather, I just tasted it on the buttered toast but of course, I did try a sip after all was said and done. BLAH, BLAH! Disgusting! I was more of a hot cocoa and tea drinker and this coffee stuff just did not taste good at all!

I was intrigued by the drink so I added something to make it taste better: sugar. It made it a little better but still not worth my time or resources in actually drinking it so I went through life, smelling it every day as my Mom drank it and didn’t really re-visit it until graduate school. It was then that two of my advisors for my research asked if I drank coffee. I told them no, not thinking much of it. Well, being avid coffee drinkers, they took that to heart and decided to politely state that they were going to work me so hard in my thesis research that I would be forced to drink coffee to stay awake.

What they didn’t realize is that I am one for challenges and usually don’t back down from them. So, I took their challenge and guaranteed that I wouldn’t touch a drop of the black gold during my time with them-for no reason other than to prove them wrong (and for me to win!). Fast forward a couple of years in which I did two theses and was awarded two Master’s degrees and yes, you guessed it, I won. No coffee. Ever. Didn't even cross my mind.

Fast forward many, many years with three kids under my belt and countless nights of no sleep and I still never touched the stuff. In fact, the smell of it would make me nauseous. I couldn’t even walk into a coffee shop because it would make me ill. So, earlier this year, my interest in coffee was sparked, mostly due to the health benefits. Granted, there can be detrimental consequences in some people, especially due to genomics and how you process caffeine in general but that aside, I was intrigued. My wife had been drinking it for a while and the aroma that filled the house each morning was growing on me (and not making me sick any longer). It all started with a sip of her coffee concoction. It was alright but didn’t really taste like much (back then she added soy milk and store bought creamer to it). I didn’t really taste the coffee. It wasn’t bad, per se, but the taste certainly wouldn’t convince me to jump on the coffee wagon.

So, I thought I would really see if I liked coffee. N of 1 experiment of sorts (which I am famous for). No additives. No sweeteners. No nothing. Just straight, black coffee. I figured if I was going to decide if I liked it, it really started with the pure stuff. I can’t remember what brand I tried initially but I was not impressed. It was a light to medium roast and honestly, I didn’t taste anything. I moved to a dark roast which, thankfully, got my taste buds attention. I did a bit of research, found some intense, dark blends and dove right into my black coffee experience.

Surprisingly, I was impressed. I enjoyed the taste and in the back of my head, the health benefits are a bonus. As an aside, I have had genomics testing and I know am a slow metabolizer of caffeine so I do need to be careful with the amount of the "full gas" version (caffeinated). Having the genomics data is helpful because I know if I overdo my daily caffeine intake, it can have a detrimental effect on my health. So, I found a nice, dark, decaf option to balance it out.

Many decades have passed since my toast and coffee introduction and I would have never thought I would be a coffee drinker but suffice to say, taste preferences change throughout life and while not a coffee-a-holic (I don't use it as a stimulator and can function just fine without it), I do enjoy a strong cup of dark roast, black coffee but depending on my mood, I rotate through a good home brew of hot cocoa, green and yerba mate teas.

Interested in my home brew of hot cocoa and perhaps on what my wife uses now instead of store bought creamers that are chock full of additives and fake ingredients? Stay tuned...I'll be making a big announcement soon!

I’m always up for good brands of coffee that are intensely strong and bold with no bitter aftertaste so feel free to reach out and let me know your favorites!

Thanks for reading!

Bob

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