The Big Switch

As I sat at my desk today drinking my coffee, I remembered the day I decided to switch to black from my usual choice of milk and sugar years ago. It’s barely worth remembering because it wasn’t any sort of revelation that I should indulge in the real taste of coffee without additives, it was for a much dumber reason.

About eight or so years ago I worked a day job at a warehouse. I would constantly sleep through my alarm, wake up late in a panic, then rush out the door without eating or drinking anything, instead opting to go to the nearest drive-thru for my breakfast and morning coffee. This would go on for a quite a while before I admitted I needed to try and change my habits. One of these changes was to get accustomed to black coffee so that I could prepare my coffee brewer the night previous - when I wake up I can turn it on, pour it into a travel mug, and get out the door without wasting time adding milk and sugar (and I save a couple bucks a day not visiting the drive-thru). This ultimately proved unsuccessful in aiding my untimely arrivals at work, but I did acquire a taste for black coffee. Silver linings and all that.

If you very much enjoy your caffeinated beverage with additives, that perfectly ok. It’s your preference and I don’t want to discourage that. However, if you’re looking to try and make a change then I may have some tips for you. Coffee in recent years has seen a surge of popularity in refinement and decadence (also known as third wave coffee, which I’ll discuss in another blog), and this surge has caused a demand for higher quality coffee. The only way you’re going to be able to taste this difference in quality is by drinking it black, to get the true flavor and taste, so if you claim to love good coffee, I highly recommend you start regularly drinking it black.

If you’ve been drinking coffee with milk and sugar your whole life, black coffee might taste absolutely disgusting to you. Part of this reason is North America’s obsession with dark roast coffee. Properly roasted dark coffee is very hard to come by because a lot of roasting companies think that making the bean as dark and oily as possible is what makes a good dark roast when this is, in fact, very wrong. That method of roasting makes the coffee taste ashy and burnt, which is part of why one adds milk and sugar – to eliminate the bad taste while still “enjoying” their coffee. So when trying out coffee black, try light or medium roasts from a quality brand or local roaster; don’t start with Tim Hortons or even Starbucks. I’m not suggesting this because I’m being biased as a small roasting company, but I can attest to other smaller roasters that I know who take very good care with quality control that larger corporations honestly can’t compete with.

There’s another large factor in your quality of coffee that I won’t cover in this blog (stay tuned for it), but I believe this is sufficient to end here for now. If you’re an avid coffee fan but enjoy additives, let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear them!

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