So, you want to start drinking coffee? Excellent! Coffee is a delicious and rewarding hobby that only gets better as you gain experience. Unfortunately, getting started is a daunting task. Before you get to take your first sip, you need to pick a brand, choose a style, purchase a coffee maker if you want to brew coffee at home and decide whether to add milk and sugar and, if so, how much to use. It’s overwhelming.
Lucky for you, we’ve been there before and are here to guide you through the confusing, complicated steps you need to take to start drinking and—more importantly—enjoying coffee. We’ll cover everything you need to know to set up your own at-home coffee station and give you some advice for making the most informed decisions possible. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
You Have to Start Somewhere
One of the hardest parts about starting to drink coffee is taking the plunge and visiting a local coffee shop. To the non-coffee drinker, coffee shop menus are indecipherable gibberish that might as well be written in another language. How are you supposed to choose something when it all sounds the same?
Our advice is to start with the basics. If you’ve never had coffee before, start simply and order a regular coffee. Some coffee shops will have different roasts or blends to try, but we recommend sticking with a house blend or breakfast blend if you’re not sure. You need a foundation to build on as you discover what you like.
Once you have your coffee, you have to decide whether you want to add milk and sugar. Here’s where the hard part starts. Try your coffee first without milk or sugar. Coffee drinkers call this “black coffee.” Be aware that coffee is an acquired taste, and chances are you won’t love the taste of black coffee immediately.
There are many reasons coffee aficionados prefer drinking black coffee, but there is nothing wrong with adding milk and sugar to taste. Try adding only a little bit at once. If you decide to cut out milk and sugar down the road, it will be easier if you start with less.
Try New Roasts
Once you have a few coffee beverages under your belt, think about what you like and don’t like about them. Now is when the fun begins. If you find plain old coffee to be too strong, you might prefer light roast coffee. Light roast coffee tastes more floral and fruity than medium and dark roast coffee and is generally a less in-your-face experience.
Most coffee shops will have at least one light roast to try, but you should try several if you can. Light roasts can vary in flavor significantly, so be sure to experiment with as many as you have access to.
On the other hand, if regular coffee tastes weak and watery, you might prefer dark roasts, which usually have a fuller body and chocolatey, nutty taste. Dark roasts don’t have as much variation as light roasts, but you should still try several if you can to get a sense of the range of flavors they can have.
Creating a Home Setup
By now, you’ve had more than a few coffees, and you’ve tried light, medium, and dark roasts, with and without milk and sugar. The time has come to make a decision and create your at-home coffee station. We recommend a few different brewing methods for home use depending on what kind of coffee you like best. All of these methods can brew any coffee, but some are more suited for particular styles.
If you can’t get enough light roast coffee, we recommend going with a pour-over setup like a Chemex or a Hario V60. Pour-overs accentuate the fruity flavors people love about light roasts and highlight the high acidity and brightness. Perfecting your pour-over technique will take some time, but once you do, you’ll be making delicious, punchy light roast coffee quickly and easily.
Medium roast coffee is the most forgiving, and you can use almost any brewing method and get good results. If you prefer a hands-off experience with minimal clean-up, go with an automatic drip machine or a pod-style brewer like a Keurig. Both drip machines and Keurigs excel at making plain old medium roast coffee, and they’re relatively easy to use and inexpensive.
Last but not least, if you love the bold, powerful chocolatey notes of dark roast coffee, get a French press. French presses are perfect for brewing full-bodied dark roasts since they don’t filter out as much oil as paper filters. When you brew a dark roast in a French press, you get an even bolder, more flavorful coffee that gives you more of the same mouthfeel and flavor you love.
Best Coffee Drinks for Beginners: Final Thoughts
We hope you enjoyed this brief guide for getting started drinking coffee. We’ve barely scratched the surface, but we think we think it’s more than enough to keep you busy for a few weeks. One of the most difficult parts about getting into coffee is knowing where to start. There are so many options that it’s easy to become paralyzed by the sheer number of choices. Hopefully, this guide has helped you narrow down those choices to a more manageable number and that you now have a clear path to follow.
SEE ALSO: Don’t Like Coffee? Here’s What to Drink
Featured Image Credit: Brigitte Tohm, Unsplash