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Latte, Espresso, or Just A Cup of Joe? Do you enjoy it black or with cream and sugar?

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Do you excite your taste buds even further with the array of flavored creamer options?

Where to get the Best Coffee?

There are thousands of choices for choosing excellent coffee, and a connoisseur will say it starts with the coffee beans. Is it where the beans come from?

  • Kona Island in Hawaii, because of its excellent climate of rain, sunshine, and volcanic soil?

  • Or do we go internationally to Columbia, for the Supremo grade (highest level) richly flavored with a velvety aroma? Labeled, as the second-largest coffee producer in the world, they are definitely worth considering!

  • Guatemala, because they grow their beans in a mountainous climate that imparts an intense tart flavor?

  • Then there’s a Costa Rica bean that also grows on volcanic soils, yielding a smooth rich walnut flavor.

  • The regions of the Arabian Peninsula, Ethiopia, and Jamaica, or any of the other 63 countries...

These destinations all have in common what we consider to be one of the most contributing factors of a great product—people who care about coffee! Just like with the grapes used to make wine, the properties of the fruit or bean in their natural untouched state is the best starting point. They have been shaped by the conditions in which they’re grown, such as sunlight, rain, soil, altitude, and even harvesting techniques. One of the best things about traveling around the world has been the opportunity to sample the best food, wine, and spirits of all cultures. In the end, the best coffee is all about preference!

What Do You Want?

Black or with milk & sugar is how many Americans prefer coffee. In other countries, they have their own unique ways of enjoying coffee, like Cafe de olla, sometimes just called "Mexican coffee," which is a traditional Mexican drink served with cloves, anise, and cinnamon. Australians will offer you the Flat White, which is an espresso with a small amount of steamed milk and finely textured milk (foam) for a stronger taste. In Greece, I enjoyed a drink similar to the frappuccino- called the frappe. Frappe is made of instant coffee, water, sugar, and milk. Hong Kong serves Yuanyang- a mix of homemade milk, tea, and freshly brewed coffee.

At home, to be honest, I make myself a cup of coffee with my Keurig, or I’ll go to the nearest Starbucks. I’m certain the pods or Starbucks’ cannot match the quality of coffee made in Hawaii or Jamaica. However, my everyday coffee drink serves a different purpose: I need to get up and get going. When I travel, I want to savory that cultural experience of drinking coffee the way the natives enjoy it. Take for instance Paris, where the coffee culture runs deep. There are at least 30 or more coffee cafes around the city. While Paris is not on the top 10 list of countries to produce the best quality coffee; the experience is one not to miss out on, like at Fontaine de Belleville. Here, I enjoyed a delicious espresso cup of Noisette’ (hazelnut) with a tiny bit of milk. The classic Parisian atmosphere at night is a memory I cannot compare with any other destination. Drinking coffee at night is more meaningful. I like this option of savoring vs. simply gulping for the morning pickup.

How to Start Drinking Coffee

Die-hard coffee lovers would not think of adding anything else to a cup of coffee other than the coffee and the water. I have enjoyed it this way, but it is an acquired taste. So, if you’ve decided that you want to embrace the life of a coffee drinker; here are a few steps that will help develop your palate for a “finer” coffee experience:

Start with a small cup-maybe no more than 6 ounces.

Have a small glass of water available.

  1. Take a few sips of plain water to clean your palate.

  2. Consider the flavors you enjoy. Do you like chocolate, vanilla, or caramel? Try a Latte but make sure it’s made with quality coffee and how much coffee is up to you but I recommend 3.5 oz to wet your whistle.

  3. Savor the flavors and each time add a little more coffee and less of the additives until you’ve enjoyed a cup of pure coffee.

  4. After you’ve found your groove, elevate the drinking experience by cleansing your palate with a sip of water then slurp the coffee. Yes, this might be one of the few times when you should slurp. This will splash droplets onto the back of your tongue where you’ll notice if it’s heavy, light, silky. You’ll also notice if it has a clean, quick, or long after- taste. And now, you’ve just bridged the gap between drinking coffee and having a coffee experience.

Final Word

Coffee is the second most popular drink in the entire world; making it one of those things you can enjoy whenever and however you want. It has been enjoyed since 1000 A.D. and there’s really no right or wrong way to drink it. You can enjoy a cup of coffee in Paris, the same as you would a cup from Ethiopia because it’s all about what your heart desires. Traveling and immersing myself in culture allowed me to develop a deeper, more sophisticated, coffee drinking experience.

If you don’t want to leave your kitchen or if you’re in-between trips, you can still savor those traveling experiences and new coffees. Why not join a coffee club like Red Bay Coffee, a black-owned, Oakland-based coffee roaster. Or virtually travel the world of coffee with Atlas Coffee Club. Each coffee bag features custom artwork reflecting the culture and environment of the origin. Then you must consider a new option of whether you will always drink coffee hot? Or try iced? Hmm...

Tip: To help with the bitter taste of coffee, some suggest you add a dash of salt. It magically blocks the taste buds responsible for recognizing bitterness. Be sure to add just a pinch- literally 5 or 6 grains. More than that will create a new kinda coffee, and I don't think salty coffee will become an acquired taste. Enjoy!

Happy Travels

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