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“It’s coffee time!”

This is a phrase used by me at least four times a day. Does it relate to a specific time? Well, no… but it is coffee time.

Growing up I had always loved the beautiful aroma that coffee beans release as they brew into coffee. Knowing nothing about coffee, I would saturate my generic name brand coffee with the sweetest flavored coffee creamer and spoonfuls of sugar to make a desert-like treat with a hint of coffee. The flavor of this treat would vary depending on how heavy of a creamer pour or what type of sugar used (usually cheap white granulated sugar). My uncle on the other hand, would drink it black. I knew that there were crazy people on this earth but never knew my uncle was one of them!

It wasn’t until recently that I started to drink my coffee black and it has rocked my coffee world so far!

I traveled all throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean Islands as part of a deployment with the Navy. Those of you that are experienced coffee connoisseurs know that these locations are in what is know as the “coffee belt” of the world. For those of you that have little coffee experience… these locations are in the “coffee belt” of the world! Two of my fellow Sailors were the ones that got me hooked on coffee. I don’t mean the cream and sugar riddled cheap coffee that I used to “love”, this new found love was for the fresh, decadent, and perfectly roasted coffee beans brewed straight into my cup from an AeroPress or pour over. These slow brewing methods allowed for a smooth coffee to be expressed from each roasted bean just as the roaster intended. My buddies told me to only drink their premium coffee black for one week and see how my taste buds change. I was skeptical at first of course, especially because I thought you either had to be crazy or very old with little taste to drink coffee black. I had never been so wrong.

After one week we pulled into our first country Ecuador. We got some local coffee from a police officer that was escorting our group. We took it straight back to the ship and hand grinded the medium roasted beans with a conical burr grinder. I was used to the taste of the previous coffee that as soon as I sipped the beautiful taste of the Ecuadorian medium roast my taste buds exploded with flavor. I had never had such a great cup of coffee up to this point in my life and the fact that zero cream or sugar was involved blew my mind.

Week after week we docked in a new country. Peru was next, then Costa Rica. Each country with a different coffee and each just as good as the Ecuadorian brew I previously savored. Each country we would buy just enough beans to get us to the next. The coffee that turned me into a coffee lover and started my phrase “It’s coffee time!” was “Geisha” coffee from Panama City, Panama. I don’t know how my friend got ahold of it or how much he paid but this was by far till this day the best coffee I had ever had the pleasure of drinking. It had a very smooth floral taste that I will never forget. It is very expensive now and difficult to get especially in North America but If I ever get my hands on it again I will savor it as long as I possibly can.

If you have not drank coffee black, I highly recommend searching for a local roaster near you and getting a bag of beans that they recommend. You can usually try the coffee at the roaster but even if you take the time at home to properly brew it you may also find yourself a lover of coffee and enjoy when “It’s coffee time!”

Are you a coffee lover? What is your favorite type of coffee that I should try?

-J.M.

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