We are in an age of coffee culture. Every block has a coffee shop, making it easier than ever to satisfy that caffeine craving. Because everyone looooves coffee, can’t wait to get that next latte, americano, or macchiato. Right?
Well, what about the people who don’t like coffee? Is there coffee for them? It sounds a little funny, coffee for people who don’t like coffee, but in this age of on-the-go productivity, many are willing to choke down a beverage just for the caffeine buzz. Early mornings and late nights can be miserable without a little pick me up, and coffee is often the choice to get the job done.
While I can’t make you like coffee by waving my wand, I do have some tips and tricks to provide insight on how to get the best coffee for you and to save you from forcing down another cup of detestable sludge.
Why Do People Not Like Coffee
Before giving away trade secrets on how to buy and order coffee for maximum enjoyment, let’s dive into why people don’t like coffee. There are many reasons, with the main ones centering around a flavor that’s too bitter, sour, acrid, or tangy. There are a lot of ways to describe it, but it can all be summed up by a face like this:
It’s pretty simple; some people don’t like burnt bean juice. They never got to the acquired part of acquired taste. If you are in this boat, it can be difficult to understand where everything went wrong, and how to fix it. It may seem impossible that one day you may like, nay, love coffee, but we will start with baby steps to make it, at the very least, palatable.
The Best Roasts to Drink for People Who Don’t Like Coffee
If drinking brewed coffee over an espresso beverage is the goal, aim for a roast in the medium to dark range. This range of roasts can come from any region, but keywords to look for include “nutty,” “herbal,” “chocolatey,” or “bright.” These are common terms used to describe a coffee that isn’t too pungent or eccentric, making them a safe choice.
A medium to dark roast is ideal because the coffee beans are roasted enough to get rid of any acidity, but not so much that the coffee beans are charred. Middle of the road coffees like this will have the ideal mix of flavor and mouthfeel.
I advise readers to veer towards a darker roast over a lighter one, because the roasting process is a tool to equalize the aggressive flavors that may be present. Darker roasts will be more neutral, tasting washed out or thin. The natural flavors present pair well with flavors like vanilla or hazelnut, as they are probably already present in the coffee’s flavor profile.
The Worst Roasts to Drink for People Who Don’t Like Coffee
The worst roasts to drink for people who don’t like coffee would be anything too far to either end of the coffee spectrum; either too light or too dark. These roasts are for experienced coffee drinkers; those who know how to make them properly on the right equipment.
A light roast of coffee has the potential to be fruity and sweet but can also come out over acidic and sour. This is because the beans are roasted for a shorter time, so they retain more natural flavor and the oils are not expressed. The oils create a smooth tasting and feeling coffee; without them novice coffee drinkers may be taken aback by the intensity of the coffee.
Conversely, an extremely dark roast of coffee is made from beans roasted within an inch of their life, metaphorically speaking. Most of the natural flavor is removed, with deep flavors of caramel and smoke coming forward. This can be easily overwhelming, and if it is over extracted a bitter flavor can emerge.
How to Order Coffee as a Non Coffee Lover
Now that we are armed with the knowledge of which roasts are best for people who don’t like coffee, let’s take it another step. If you’re making coffee at home, you have the control, but also the responsibility, of making sure everything is done correctly and in the right proportions. This can be confusing and time consuming for busy people, hence the reasons coffee shops are a booming business.
Coffee shops have all the necessary equipment to make delicious coffee on the go, plus all the options and flavors if what you get ends up being not to your liking. There are two types of hot coffee at a coffee shop; brewed coffee and espresso drinks.
When ordering a brewed coffee, ask the barista which one was made most recently, and get that one. It’s an insider tip, because coffee shops will brew large amounts of coffee and let it sit, increasing the chances of you getting a stale cup of joe.
If you have an extra 5-10 minutes, ask the barista for a pour over of whatever they recommend, as most baristas will be able to understand your coffee needs and pick the best roast for you. The pour over method makes a great cup of coffee every time, because the ratio of grounds to water is perfected for a single cup.
For espresso drinks, most are a glorified cup of milk, except for an americano. An americano is espresso and water, while everything else has some amount of cold or steamed milk. While there is nothing wrong with having a milk based drink, the flavor of coffee will be completely overwhelmed. If that is what it takes for you to consume coffee, so be it. If you are attempting to move away from sugary and high calorie coffee drinks, read on for some ways to cut back!
Tips from a Coffee Lover
Here are a few tips to try that can work for both brewed coffee and espresso drinks. They focus on starting with whatever drink you have now, and slowly move towards black coffee. Feel free to stop at whatever step works for you, there is no need to only drink black coffee for the rest of your life.
For this, we are going to move from a caramel macchiato to black coffee, to show the whole spectrum from sugary and milky, to pure coffee. A caramel macchiato is multiple pumps of vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and one or two shots of espresso on top and a drizzle of caramel. Each step will increase the presence of the coffee without having to go cold turkey on the milk and sugar.
Tip #1: Ask for one less pump of sweetener.
This is the easiest, because the base of the drink won’t change. It will taste the same, but the sweetness will mellow out, allowing the coffee flavor to come forward. If the decrease in sweetness is noticeable to you, stay on this step for a few weeks.
Tip #2: Get an extra shot. (decaf if you don’t want the buzz).
The next step is to increase the coffee flavor and ratio in the overall drink. Adding another shot decreases the amount of milk in the beverage, making the end result more coffee based.
Tip #3: Switch to brewed coffee (or americano) with extra milk and the same pumps of flavor.
This is the biggest step, because it reverses the ratio of milk and coffee while keeping the flavor combination. Asking for extra milk in coffee will still be less milk than in a macchiato, and the coffee will take the floor as the main ingredient. Now you are drinking coffee!
Tip #4: Gradually reduce the amount of milk and pumps of flavor.
Stay on the previous step if merely drinking coffee is the goal, or else you can work to reduce additives in your cup. Try asking for the minimum amount of milk and flavor, and ask to add more if your coffee is too strong for your tastes.
Tip #5: One pump of flavor curbs bitterness, two pumps creates balance, three or more is only flavor.
This is a general rule of thumb when it comes to adding flavor. One pump of syrup may not be noticeable with the average cup size of 16 ounces, but it will cut the bitterness. Two pumps allows the coffee and flavor to both be present, and anything more means you will be getting the flavor first, the coffee second.
5 Coffee Bean Brands to Try if You Don’t Like Coffee
The key to picking out a coffee if you don’t like coffee is to go with what’s familiar. Don’t reach for the top shelf, single-origin, high-mountain, unwashed roast if you can barely drink coffee. If you’re meant to reach the upper echelon of hipster coffee drinker, you will in time. For now, take it easy.
The big three are Starbucks, Peet’s, and Dunkin Donuts. Starbucks because it can be found everywhere and will always have a selection to choose from. Peet’s coffee will be a bit more niche than Starbucks, but they always have a good selection of basis. For either of those I recommend starting with an Italian or French roast. Dunkin Donuts is a great choice because they offer a lot of flavored coffees, so if hazelnut is your thing, they have you covered.
Seattle’s Best and Caribou are two other great brands. They are smaller than the above three but produce top quality coffee in flavor and consistency. Both have medium roasts that are best sellers on Amazon, and are carried in nearly all grocery stores.
Coffee drinkers who don’t like coffee – this is your time! Get out there and try the tips above, and you just might be the next caffeine convert. If coffee is an integral part of your routine, it is worth the time and effort it takes to acquire a taste for the beverage. Enjoying your morning (or late night) brew can make the difference between a good and bad day. Remember, it’s not a race, so take your time and one day you will be a coffee drinking pro. Enjoy!
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