A Story about Coffee

I always loved the smell of coffee. When I was little I used to ask my father for sips from his cup. The delicious-smelling aroma fooled me every time. When I tasted what I expected to be a rich flavor I would be disappointed instead to get a mouthful of bitterness. I believed what some adults told me-that I would learn to like it as an adult, but even after I was old enough to vote my taste buds had not transformed as predicted. No matter what I put in it to improve the taste, only the bitterness came through. I resigned myself to being one of those marginalized tea drinkers, who do not get free refills in restaurants.  When I traveled to Spain in the summer of my sophomore year, the family I stayed with was incredulous that I didn't drink coffee. It was always served after the mid-day meal. After a week they stopped offering it to me, knowing I would turn it down, but their belief system was shattered. They told me they thought "all Americans drank coffee."

In the winter of 1989, as I neared a quarter century without liking coffee, a certain Cincinnati-based company, that distributes coffee, among other things, determined that young adults, such as myself, just weren't drinking coffee. So they did what any good drug dealer would do in a case like this - they gave it away for free. As a student at Miami University of Ohio I arrived at school one chilly morning to find large urns of free coffee. My graduate student stipend was meager and therefore I normally took anything that was offered to me for free, but coffee? I wasn't sure about that. The marketers had me in mind when they decided to test-market "fudge cream." The purpose of fudge cream was apparently to turn ordinary coffee into hot chocolate. It also came in "mint fudge" flavor.  Free coffee was provided every day to the entire campus for two full months, along with the fudge cream. During that time I went from a dislike of coffee to a liking of coffee when it had enough fudge cream in it, to a tolerance of coffee that contained regular cream and sugar to an addiction of coffee with regular cream. I still enjoy occasionally indulging in flavored creams, but usually just take my coffee with plain old cream.  I now count myself among  the ranks of the coffee drinkers, but like most coffee drinkers I like coffee the way I like it and that means with cream only, milk won't do by the way.

Coffee Links

The Coffee Cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

Learn more about the Geography of Coffee

Too Much Coffee Man

Daily Shot of Coffee


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Last updated 08/24/11