How to Start Drinking Coffee: The Beginners Guide
Coffee is way more than just a hot beverage, and first impressions are known to last forever. So if you want to explore the magical world of coffee, it’s best to choose the right brew, the right mood, and the right company. But how do you start drinking coffee?
Fancy bistros, old European curbside cafes, and branded coffee takeout outlets, all have one thing in common. Hundreds of aromatic coffee cups, with names that come as an exotic mix of cultures. We even put together a list of the most famous coffee quotes!
Do they taste as grand as their names? Are different coffee types associated with the time of day and occasion? Or is it a personal preference that one chooses at all times? And what’s the deal with the outrageously pricey brands?
People don’t need to know much to enjoy a cup of instant coffee. However, there are some basics one needs to know to experience the bliss of well-made coffee.
Here’s your ultimate guide on how to start drinking coffee.
Step 1: Getting to Know Coffee
The first step in learning how to start drinking coffee is to learn where coffee comes from. Coffee beans have been used as a beverage for hundreds of years. The earliest accounts we have are of a shepherd in Ethiopia. This young man observed with avid interest how his goats beamed with energy after they grazed on odd-looking berries.
He took his fascination with the incident and shared it with the monks in a monastery close by. The monks decided to study that curious plant, and soon enough, realized that it had potentially healthful benefits.
Several parts of faraway lands took note of the new found coffee beans, but it gained special graces in Arabia. Around the 15th-century coffee bean trade flourished in the Arabian Peninsula, and from there it spread to the rest of the world. This is where the Arabica and Robusta varietals came from.
Coffee plantations are commonly found in the tropical parts of Africa, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros, and some islands in the Indian Ocean. It’s grown in about 70 countries worldwide, the most productive places being South America, India, Southeast Asia, and the equatorial region of North America.
Coffee plants often grow in hard to reach areas and on mountain slopes. Moreover, they take around four years for the first harvest to come out. That’s one of the reasons why coffee beans can be quite expensive.
The fresh form of coffee beans looks like berries. It’s then harvested, dried, and then roasted. There are many ways to roast coffee beans, and that varies their flavors significantly. The place where the coffee is grown and the weather conditions it’s subject to also leave their mark on the final taste.
Coffee beans are almost unique in their tastes. But you can predict their general profile from where they were grown and how exactly they were roasted.
Step 2: Bear in Mind That Coffee Affects More Than Taste Buds.
The next step in learning how to start drinking coffee is to understand the effects of coffee. Coffee is a beverage that’s been traditionally known to cause insomnia, a quickened pulse rate, and mild addiction. However, it’s now believed to boost health and wellness.
The antioxidants in the coffee are highly beneficial as an energizer, and the stimulants keep the brain alert. It’s generally known to enhance the metabolism, strengthen circulation, and act as a mild mood stabilizer.
It might be that some people benefit more from coffee than others, so it’s recommended to have a chat with your doctor before trying that first cup.
Step 3: Start at a Good Cafe
There are a few options to get a nice cup of coffee:
- Try it at the tiny coffee shop around the corner
- Check out a brand name coffee shop
- Try it at a friend’s house
- Check out the office coffee pot
- Buy the coffee gear and start at home
First of all, forget about the office coffee pot. The mere fact that it sits in the pot for hours makes it absolutely undrinkable.
That’s because the chemicals that make up the flavor of the coffee start dissociating the moment hot water touches the coffee grounds. Ten minutes later, the taste turns bitter, and half an hour later, it becomes stale.
Then, there’s the option that you would purchase a bunch of coffee-making gear. At this point, you don’t really know the kind of cup that will please your palate. Moreover, you don’t really know how to use that equipment. Not to mention that this stuff is seriously costly. So, not a good idea.
You could try coffee at a friend’s house, provided that that friend really knows what good coffee is all about. Then again, there wouldn’t be much variety around. And that domestic cup might deviate from the standard process required, which might give you an incorrect impression.
The cafe around the corner is actually a good choice. They often have a limited variety of coffee types and flavors, but it’ll always have a ‘personality’. The mood of the place can’t be ignored either, that’s part of the coffee’s charm.
The option that most people are invited to try is the branded coffee shop. These folks have a gazillion different tastes to choose from. And you’d get the exact same cup every time, as there are quality control processes in place to ensure that.
Step 4: Start With the Basics
The next step in learning how to start drinking coffee is to learn the different types of beans and drinks. There are three main types of coffee beans. Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. They differ in their taste, aroma, acidity, and caffeine content. Each one of them can be roasted to varying degrees of ripeness. There’s a light roast, a medium, and a dark roast. These too are signatures on every coffee brand.
Most of the popular coffee types are based on Espresso. The Espresso shot clearly has Italian origins, but it’s an international beverage. It has a smooth creamy texture, and it’s best sipped while it’s still hot. Another popular option is the medium to light roast coffee drinks at McDonald’s.
Here are other well-liked beverages based on espresso:
And here are others that are brewed differently:
- Iced coffee
- Turkish coffee
- French-press coffee
These are pretty much the basic varieties. You might’ve noticed that I skipped instant coffee. That’s because it doesn’t have the same flavor profile as these ones.
Step 5: Ask for Recommendations
It’s nice and adventurous to experiment, but sometimes getting recommendations from people who have similar tastes to yours could be helpful.
This goes for the best cafe, the nicest type of coffee roast, and the most interesting type of coffee beverage. As I recall, I tasted my first cappuccino in an elegant cafe that had only two wrought iron tables, and a very friendly barista. A friend has suggested the place and the coffee mix. Absolutely unforgettable.
Step 6: Add Some Flavors
Milk, cream, and sugar are among the basic additions to coffee beverages. They’d either come separately along with the coffee, or you can ask the barista to include them. However, these aren’t the only flavors you could try.
Now that you’ve formed a mental archive of the classic coffee cups, you can move on to the frills. Flavors can transform a regular cup of coffee to a highly festive one. Some people like fruity syrups, while others feel that a touch of caramel adds all the glam.
Feel free to experiment.
Step 7: Buy Your Own Coffee Mix
Here, we’re getting serious. You’re by now a full-fledged coffee connoisseur, or at least, on your way to becoming one.
Buying your own coffee beans is a great way to personalize your coffee. It’s time to start your own little ritual that involves finding the best shops, and the brands that have the deepest flavors and aromas.
You could always bring a friend along to share the journey. And once you’ve found your perfect mix, then you should totally level up to the next step: roasting the coffee beans.
Step 8: Roast Your Coffee beans
Getting a fine coffee bean roaster is an elaborate process that involves a lot of asking around, and maybe some trial and error. That’s all part of the fun.
The main benefit of roasting your coffee is making sure the grounds are 100% fresh. The degree to which you roast your coffee is also totally in your hands. Both factors contribute to the charisma of your beverage.
As soon as the roasted beans come out, you can transform them into the right powdered texture in a suitable coffee bean grinder.
Step 9: Get Your Very First Coffee Maker and Add-ons
Having become an expert in procuring and roasting your coffee beans, you have to have the right coffee making gear that complements these premium beans.
Always use a suitable scale to measure your coffee grounds. And use a graded cup to measure the amount of water that should be added – and don’t leave water in your coffee maker too long. Finally, choose a coffee-making apparatus that matches the kind of coffee you’re about to brew.
Here are the most common types of coffee brewers.
- Drip coffee maker
- Moka pots
- Turkish/Greek coffee machines
- Espresso machines
There are some pretty fancy devices as well as some simple ones. I believe your budget wouldn’t be a barrier to getting a suitable coffee maker, since they come in all price ranges. The most important thing is to find the apparatus that matches your best cup of coffee.
Step 10: Start the Day With the Perfect Cup of Coffee
That’s the nicest part of the whole process.
One day, you’ll wake up and you already know where the coffee beans are stored, how exactly you’ll roast and grind them, and you go about all the moves of preparing your perfect cup of coffee.
This is self-love, amusement, and meditation all in one. In addition to having a unique coffee of course. Who wouldn’t want to start the day on that cheery note?
“The fresh smell of coffee soon wafted through the apartment, the smell that separates night from day,” says Haruki Murakami, quite rightfully, as you know by now.
That was the ultimate guide on how to start drinking coffee. Hopefully, it inspired you to take a few steps to a lovely cafe nearby.
Stay caffeinated friends!