Coffee can taste good on its own!

Hi can I get a soy caramel frappuccino to-go please?

Some random person that goes to Starbucks, probably

For as long as I can remember, whenever I thought about coffee, Starbucks always came to my mind. It’s easy to assume that most people go to a Starbucks to get their caffeine fix to get their day going. People will stand in line inside or sit outside in the drive-thru for their morning necessity.

Starbucks isn’t only successful because they know how to sell coffee, they’ve managed to educate people on what their definition of “coffee” is. When I was younger, I always thought that coffee came in two styles, either pregrounded coffee like Folgers and Maxwell, or Starbucks for those that can afford it. I didn’t get to experience the wonders of great tasting coffee until I grew closer to my best friend, Aidan.

If you’ve read my intro post about how I got into 3rd Wave coffee, you know that Aidan was the man who single handedly changed my outlook on what coffee can taste like. I thought coffee was either black or brown, sugar and creamer were always added, or chocolate, or whipped cream, sometimes even sprinkles. The coffee that Aidan gave me was a reddish brown that you could see through as you swish it around in your cup, I had never seen coffee like this before.

Aidan’s coffee didn’t smell burnt or bitter, and it didn’t taste like dirt like what I normally expected from coffee, what I did smell and taste blew my mind. The coffee that Aidan made for me had a pleasant aroma that enticed me. It tasted slightly sweet, with taste notes that were nowhere near close to burnt or bitter, but something fruity, which I wasn’t expecting! I looked to him after I took one sip and said to him, “Dude is this seriously coffee? There’s no way!”

What Aidan had handed to me was an Aeropress coffee. Explaining what an Aeropress is can be utilized in its own post, but what made this cup of coffee taste amazing is due to several key variables ranging from the coffee beans itself, to how the water is heated up.

Aidan had coffee beans from a local roaster, not from a coffee conglomerate, so these beans were carefully roasted. The coffee beans were medium roast, not overly dark like what you’d notice in most Starbucks coffees or from bigger coffee companies. Aidan grounded the beans himself with a specific grind size in mind that works well with an Aerorpess, this is crucial in the overall brewing process. The water was heated up to a certain temperature, not beyond boiling which is bad for grounded coffee. And the act of using an Aeropress helps bring out the flavors of the coffee beans.

Those are just some the overarching variables of what made this cup of coffee excellent to me. More thought was put into it, the coffee was carefully brewed to bring the best out of the coffee beans. What you’re left with, depending on where the beans originate, are aromas that can be floral, or nutty, sweet or chocolatey. Taste notes can range widely from vanilla, to cherries or mangoes, to chocolate, to hazelnuts or almonds, and even mimicking the flavors of teas. All of this vast information was slowly presented to me over the years as I’ve learned more about coffee, but it all began on that day in Aidan’s dorm room where he handed me a cup of coffee and said to me, “Here try this.”

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