Are you one of those who never got onto the coffee wagon? Who awkwardly stare at the options at Starbucks, having no clue what to order? Or want to get started on this caffeine habit but are having trouble getting started? Well, you no longer have to worry – I got you! I have put together some simple tricks to get you liking your first cup, a little cheat sheet to help you order at a coffeeshop, and some coffee flavors to help soothe your palate during your initial stages of your coffee journey!
Getting your first cups right...
Most people never caught the coffee bug because of their initial uncared for coffee sips. You see, coffee is not just another beverage. It needs to be nurtured with the right mix of ingredients specifically crafted for the person drinking. I won’t be surprised if you choose to look the other way, if you first sip was straight dark black coffee. That is like pushing a toddler into the deep end of the pool, in your first swimming lesson!
Here are some most common reasons and simple remedies to fix your initial coffee needs –
Finding it too bitter
Coffee, especially in its unmixed form can be too bitter for the amateur tongue. It is something that can build into your liking over time. Until then you can try a few simple things like –
Ordering light or blonde roast – they are usually naturally sweeter and brighter.
Avoid extracting the organic acids from the bean that give the bitter taste – you can do this by steeping the coffee for less time, using cooler water, buying a coarser grind.
Add the extras – don’t feel shy to add milk, cream or sugar until you can stand the taste
A pinch of salt – as odd as it may sound, adding a salt can actually help reduce the bitterness!
Making you a bit too jittery
The caffeine in coffee tend to hit people differently. Especially amongst stimulant sensitive people, it can get them to have jitters or keep them up until midnight. This has nothing to do with being a new coffee drinker, research shows that the breaking down caffeine and processing it can go all the way back to your genetics.
A little practice and experience should help you handle the coffee jitters over time. Until then you can try –
- Watering down or adding more milk to dilute the caffeine in your cup
- Half calf – Half decaf, splitting your coffee cup with decaf
- Using darker roast – usually have lower caffeine as it broken down during roasting
Coffee can be an expensive habit especially if you are buying them from a local coffee shop, or worse a fancy franchise like Starbucks. A regular cup to go at these places can charge you about $4 a day, that is about $1,460 per year – so I understand your concern.
Simple solution, make the coffee at home! You can customize, try different flavors and develop your own coffee making routine at the comfort of your own kitchen. If you find yourself committed to the coffee bean, you can invest in a coffee maker that will prove to be inexpensive over time.
The Coffee Shop Cheat Sheet
I remember my first time glaring at a coffee shop menu, having no idea what the fancy sounding names meant. It can be overwhelming, especially if you are staring out, to decide the right coffee for your current mood.
So here is a list of the most common ones, and what you can expect inside the cup –
- A double shot of espresso
- Mixed with steam milk
- Thin layer of foam on top
- Option to add which ever flavor you want (will tell you more about this later!)
- Foamier than a Latte – approximately half cup foam
- Mixed with steam milk
- For more of the espresso flavor
- Shot of espresso
- Mixed with milk
- Base flavor that creates the flavor and texture
- Can be called by other names, look for ‘blended’ on the coffee menu
- Shot of espresso
- Mixed with hot water
- Can easily customize, especially for more shots!
- Freshly roasted coffee beans
- Can add flavors, sugar, milk, cream, honey, cinnamon – anything you wish
- Same as making coffee at home
- Cinnamon black tea
- Comes with a tea bag or a tea latte
- Mixed with steam milk
- Cinnamon on top
- Has less caffeine, a ‘dirt chai’ is the same with a double shot espresso inside
These are the usual suspects on a coffee menu. When in doubt, ask the baristas! They usually love talking about their coffee and would be more than happy to share their wisdom for you to order the right cup for you.
Most of the coffees mentioned above, are quite different from one and another. I suggest getting a different one each time, until you have tried all of them – that way you know exactly what to expect and can pick the right cup for the occasion.
Best Coffee flavor starters for beginners
Coffee flavors can be the most exciting feature for a beginner. Coffee makers have evolved to allow our most favorite ice cream flavors such as chocolate and vanilla, to be generously dashed into our cup adding a pep to our step after sip.
Beware, traditional coffee connoisseurs’ frown upon such mixing and mingling. They are usually unhappy about anything that takes away from the coffee beans pure essence and the science of coffee making.
But hey, you do you! There are no rules to how you enjoying your beverage. If you feel like splurging on some delicious flavors to get you started, here are three to definitely check out –
Caffe Mocha is a chocolate version of the caffe latte. Commonly called as mocha or mochaccino, it available in almost any coffee shop. The coffee in a mocha is usually very subtle and can sometimes seem feel more like a hot chocolate than an actual cup of coffee.
It is relatively easy to make one at home, and can be further mixed with other flavors as you like. For example, the peppermint mocha, is a holiday treat that tastes like candy cane dipped in chocolate. If you grew up drinking a lot of chocolate milk, there is no better opener into the coffee world.
French vanilla is brewed with a pod of fresh vanilla. It can be whisked together with cream to get it nice and foamy for your morning cup. There are artificial vanilla flavors available, but if you are looking for the authentic vanilla flavor it is best to use the real pod.
Subtle in flavor, French vanilla can easily combine with other flavors such like caramel or hazelnut!
Caramel macchiato is a combination of caramel, a shot of espresso and steamed milk. The sweetness of the caramel and the fullness of the milk almost entire cancels out the coffee’s bitterness. Its usually served as a hot drink, with the foamy milk on top. But you can also ask for it cold brewed, if you prefer it icy chill.
There is no pressure for you to drink coffee, so please relax and go at your own pace to finding your right cup. Be it using simple hacks, ordering at a shop or enjoying tasteful flavors, I hope this article gears you well on your coffee journey.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below!