For the love of coffee

I love coffee. Genuinely love it. Not in the “I drink coffee because I’m addicted to caffeine and, even though I don’t really like it, I can’t function without it” sense. I really, truly enjoy it.

I love the smell, the warmth of the mug in my hands, the taste, the sense of community we coffee drinkers enjoy whenever we walk into a coffee shop. I don’t drink coffee to help myself wake up. That would be a waste! Instead, I wait until I am at work and fully awake to have my morning cup of joe so I can savor and enjoy every drop. Most days, I limit myself to one (large) cup a day. Of course there are exceptions to this, but I have found that generally limiting myself to one cup a day makes coffee more like a special indulgence!

The problem? I like my coffee sweet and the sweeter it is, the more I like it. Here’s a little summary:

  • Regular coffee with cream and sugar = Good
  • Vanilla latte = Better
  • Caramel macchiato = Best

And don’t even get me started on Wawa’s french vanilla creamer. So delicious! What can I say? I am a product of the Starbucks generation and old habits die hard.

I woke up on Sunday morning and went about my regular routine. I washed my face, ate breakfast, read a Psalm and started to prepare my coffee. Then it hit me: I couldn’t sweeten it! What’s a girl to do?  There I was, not 2 hours into my no-sugar challenge and the temptation to bend the rules was already starting. It was such a small thing. Just a few drops of stevia. What could that hurt? Or a half teaspoon of honey, just to take the bitter edge off? Yes, they were added sweeteners, but they were still infinitely better for me than white sugar. Right?

I decided to eliminate the temptation by forgoing the coffee and having tea instead (I drink my tea plain), but as I waited for the water to boil it occurred me that I was a phoney. For years I had claimed to love all-things coffee, but what I really loved was the sugar. I had never really given coffee a fair chance. I turned off the kettle and brewed a pot of delicious Pike Creek Coffee.

I filled a mug , added some milk and a dash of cinnamon, and took a hesitant sip.

It was…different. It wasn’t sweet and it wasn’t anything like what I was used to drinking, but it also wasn’t awful. I can’t honestly say that I liked it, but I didn’t dislike it. I finished the cup and went on with my day.

The next day I went through the same routine. This time I was better prepared for the taste and was actually able to appreciate the subtle flavoring of the roast, though I couldn’t identify what those flavors were (pineapple and coconut, turns out).¹ Again, I can’t say I liked it, but it gave me a lot to contemplate.

Things were better on Tuesday and I can honestly say that today I enjoyed my first cup of unsweetened coffee. I don’t know what I’ll do when these 14 days end and I’m nowhere near ready to give up my added milk, but I now feel I can honestly say that I really do love coffee.

____________________

1. http://www.pikecreekcoffee.com/five-golden-rings/

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4 January 2012. Just Enough.

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