Have you made any resolutions yet? How about any coffee resolutions? Well, if you rely on coffee and enjoy it as much as I do, maybe it’s time to set up some coffee goals for 2017.
Resolution #1: Focus on Taste
Much to the surprise of many long-term coffee drinkers, coffee doesn’t have to taste bad. So many of us depend on coffee to help us gain the energy we need in order to have a good day, yet we are drinking coffee that tastes like burnt popcorn. Neither your energy nor taste buds have to suffer! We both know that the demands of life are not going to change, but you can change coffees. What most coffee drinkers do not realize is that not all coffee is created equal. There are a wide variety of different kinds of coffee and quality. Like wine, each coffee growing region of the world produces a unique flavored bean. Some regions specialize on gourmet coffee while others produce massive quantities of commercial coffee. There are lots of high quality beans to choose from that taste great! Life is too short to drink bad coffee, so don’t compromise on taste.
Resolution #2: Try Something Different
Many people’s coffee experience remains within the context they first tried the magical elixir. For a few it was magical, for the rest, the experience became an acquired taste. Many people don’t branch out from their original experiences. When I first tried coffee, I hated it. After I finished high school and went on to college, I began to acquire a taste for it. I would often order the same coffee from the same places over and over again because I didn’t know how to pick anything better. I was scared off by the Italian names at cafes or picking a coffee brand I didn’t recognize at the store. Slowly though, I began to grow more interested in branching out, and it was then that I learned about gourmet coffee. I began to try coffees from interesting parts of the world, ordering those fancy Italian drinks; it was fun! There is a discovery process in the coffee world which keeps it fun and interesting, so go ahead, try something new!
Resolution #3: Choose Fresh
A lot of coffee gets manufactured and then sits around in stores waiting to be sold. This allows for wide distribution and low prices. This comes with a trade off because there is a noticeable difference between fresh and stale coffee. What you save in price, you pay for in taste. Coffee is quite perishable, so the best tasting coffee you’ll ever have will be soon after it is roasted. Stale coffee begins to taste bitter and sour and skunk-like if that is even possible. Fresh coffee is vibrant. Try to find a source that focuses on fresh coffee; trust me – you will taste the difference.
Resolution #4: Spend Wisely
Convenience comes at a high price. It is hard to walk away from any coffee shop these days having not spent at least $3-5 per cup, not to mention the gas money and time spent driving. The benefits of the café, the setting, the staff of baristas, add up fast. A daily coffee habit of this kind can quickly add up to over a thousand dollars per year. K-Cups are convenient as well, but from my experience they often lead to having coffee that tastes watered down. Like cafes, a large portion of the money you spend on K-cups is for the convenience, not the quality of the coffee. None of these options are wrong, just expensive. I believe if you are going to spend more on coffee, you should spend it on buying the best beans. There are now so many easy ways to make coffee at home like a barista and to save a fortune. If you budget right, great tasting gourmet coffee doesn’t have to break the bank, so spend wisely.
Resolution #5: Make It Social
Coffee is a bedrock social drink. It is the perfect reason for people to get together at almost any time of day. Good coffee and good conversation are two reasons that make this drink so special. Maybe you have been thinking about reconnecting with an old friend? Ask him or her out for a cup. Want to chat about life? Have someone over and impress them with your coffee brewing skills. As you begin to learn more about coffee and how to master picking good coffee and brewing it, you’ll delight all your coffee drinking friends. Sharing a good coffee brew is one of those low-pressure staple drinks that allows relationships to flow.
Resolution #6: Keep It Healthy
A lot of people use coffee creamers and sugars to cover up coffee’s flavor. They want the caffeine without the taste, so they do their best to mask it. This may be surprising, but high quality coffee actually tastes good served black. It has its own unique and satisfying flavors that don’t require additives to make it enjoyable. As we start this new year, many coffee drinkers are trying to get in better shape and lose weight, but they are making it harder on themselves by daily adding cream and sugar which are both high in calories. Coffee by itself has zero calories, but a lot of drinks if prepared similar to cafes will have between 150-400 calories. As you start to choose higher quality coffees, you won’t need to work against your health goals. Same great flavor, no calories – keep it healthy!
Resolution #7: Know Your Preferences
The last resolution should be called “know your preferences but don’t become a snob about it!” Good coffee should be enjoyed by everyone. As you change your coffee standards and find what gives you the most pleasure, invite others along. You will soon probably have a list of coffees that you do like and ones that you don’t like. Your friends, relatives, coworkers still might be drinking the same old brew. My advice is not to let social situations pressure you into drinking coffee you know that you don’t like and never to make a big deal about it either. In your daily life, discover the coffees you enjoy and aim for that.
Best of luck in 2017 and cheers to a better cup!