I drink my coffee black...and I feel so free! Your first reaction (if you are a dairy and/or sugar user) is probably one of disgust. Until recently I, too, was bound and shackled by the milk and sugar that always had to accompany my morning beverage. In fact, the day before I switched to black, I made my husband do an evening run to the local gas station to buy milk for our trailer (we were camping) so that I had milk for my coffee the next morning.
There are probably a few things you're wondering:
1) Why did I ditch the milk and sugar?
2) How did I do it?
3) Do I still enjoy coffee?
Allow me to explain...
Why did I ditch the milk and sugar?
I had been doing a lot of research into coffee and coffee roasting as I was preparing to launch Mariner Coffee Co. I kept reading about the subtle flavours in coffee: berry, cinnamon, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, molasses, grapefruit, stone fruit, spicy, sweet, and so many more. Was I missing something? All I was tasting was coffee. Sometimes it tasted good and sometimes it tasted bad. But none of the flavour descriptions included "good" or "bad".
Rewind about a month to when I had done a few half-hearted online searches about drinking coffee black and how to make the switch. At that time, I was making some pretty significant changes to my diet to incorporate healthier and more deliberate food choices, and I realized that my sweet, creamy coffee was taking up an unnecessarily large piece of my nutrition pie (pun intended).
So my increased interest in coffee, my curiosity around what flavour experiences I was missing, and my commitment to healthier food choices led me to one morning decide to drink my coffee black.
And you know what? I loved it.
Or at the very least, I didn't hate it. I learned to love it in the days to come.
How did I do it?
As I said, it was a quick decision with no lead up so I can't explain a long and involved process. I can, however, share some insights that helped me make the switch.
1) I had already ditched the sugar before I ditched the dairy. Over the years I've enjoyed my coffee many different ways, and sugar has been invited to the coffee party regularly. It has also been kicked out for long periods of time.
I really love a good cup of coffee with sugar. It's like hot chocolate but for grown ups. But over the years (and as I got older), I couldn't keep ignoring the caloric and carb bombs that the two (three?) teaspoons of sugar were dropping into my system. When I most recently stopped using sugar, I found I didn't miss it. Because of the attention I was paying to my food intake, I felt good about not having sugar in my coffee and, therefore, enjoyed the coffee guilt-free.
2) I made drinking coffee an experience, not just a necessity. I had read about how I would get used to the taste of black coffee and would learn to appreciate and enjoy coffee in a whole new way. This gave me hope that I could adapt to the new sensation of black coffee over time. And that was absolutely true.
You know when you savour something, like really enjoy eating or drinking something? When you smile at the taste of it and you pick apart all the delicious things about that food or drink? That's what I do now with coffee. Instead of pouring the coffee down the hatch to get me going in the morning, I sip it. I savour it. I slurp and pick apart the flavours (I don't always slurp...that would be gross). I make myself enjoy the coffee for all its subtleties and beauty. And, as a result, my morning coffee ritual is as good as meditation.
3) I started drinking good coffee...really good coffee. It just so happened that my drinking coffee black happened at the same time I started roasting. So now I get to enjoy stellar coffee every morning. No more k-cups, no more big commercial coffee brands, no more cheaping out on coffee. I drink good, well-roasted, single origin coffee and I enjoy every drop. Oh hey! I know where you can get some of this too!
Do I still enjoy coffee?
Well, if you've read this far you know the answer.
Yes, obviously yes.
I enjoy coffee even more than I did before. I also enjoy that I don't have to have milk or sugar around. I enjoy that my breath isn't terrible after drinking my coffee thanks to ditching the dairy. I enjoy that my coffee has no carbs now and only a few calories. I enjoy discovering the subtle flavours in coffee. I enjoy crafting my cup of coffee in the morning, wondering what the beans will bring me today.
I hope that you can learn to love coffee black like I do. I hope that you try it even though you might think it's a terrible idea. I hope that you can elevate your coffee experience feel free to enjoy your coffee anywhere, any time, no strings attached.