Is This Coffee?

My favorite coffee moment was when I started to drink my coffee straight black. I had consumed coffee for a good bit of 4 years before that moment but always with a splash of milk & the occasional half a lump of sugar.

I was well set in my coffee ways when I stepped into the CAMP House, a coffee shoppe in my home town of Chattanooga, TN. I met Matt, the barista, by ordering a cup of coffee. He saw me go towards the “fixin’” station but stopped me before I got there. He challenged me to take a couple sips before I splashed or lumped. I gazed into the cup seeing the streaks of oil swirl around. Horrifying thoughts of drowning in a tub of black tar & gargling lava began to swim in my mind. An interesting smell brought me back to reality.

Did I just smell cocoa?

I decided to take him up on the challenge. The first sip was bitter just as Matt said it would be (latter learning that my palette was adjusting to the taste) but the second sip was different. Different not because it lacked milk & sugar but different because I tasted some thing more. It was lighter in feel but not weak, the taste of it evolved in my mouth through out the whole enjoyment of the cup.

Was that fruit I just tasted?

I gazed back into the cup in bewilderment.

Is this coffee?

Did Matt somehow mistake it with some new tea?

Did he splash it with some crazy spirit?

With another sip I once again found the distinctively new coffee taste. No milk, no sugar, yet full of flavor. Beyond any cup that I have ever had. Matt reassured me that it was indeed coffee I was drinking. He showed me the process in which he brewed it & explained the variety of coffee with the same foreign words that I tasted. Milk Chocolate, almonds, & oranges.

All I could get out was, “I need to drink it black more often.”

So then it began, my coffee transformation. No longer milk or sugar yet worlds of flavor exploded on my taste buds with each cup. From a cupping evening:“burnt toast”, from a San Francisco roastery night: strawberry shortcake, in a cappuccino: healthy-acidity. Coffee, the bold robust wooden shutter has transformed into a stained glass window consistently changing with every bean, grind, blossom, & sip.


The above post is my entry to “Competition: Your Favorite Coffee Moment” on Nordic Coffee Culture.


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