For roughly the first five decades of my life, I hated coffee. Though I loved the smell of coffee beans, I loathed the vile liquid produced from them.
My parents were both big coffee drinkers. But whenever I took a sip from one of their cups of black coffee, I gagged.
And how could I like a beverage that wasted so many hours of my life as a child? I’m talking about the countless hours I spent sitting in a restaurant, after we were all done eating, waiting while Mom and Dad drank “just one more cup.”
My hot beverage of choice was always tea. I liked nothing better than a nice cup of Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea, with just a touch of sugar. Even as a teenager I was firing up the teapot nearly every evening.
In the early 1970s I traveled to Europe, where I was first served tea with milk in it. I tried this for a while upon my return home, but quickly went back to my original recipe.
Somewhere along the way I even dropped the sugar. Nothing for me but nice hot tea.
When the microwave oven came along, I didn’t even need a teapot anymore. Just put a tea bag in a cup, fill the cup with water, nuke it for a couple of minutes and I was ready to go.
I was quite happy as a tea drinker and didn’t mind that coffee and I would never be friends. But then, a little more than a decade ago, I married a woman who drank coffee and had no intention of changing her ways.
She required two cups of coffee first thing in the morning, and I mean first thing. She wouldn’t even consider eating anything until after she had her morning coffee, with a splash of milk in it. Still won’t.
So suddenly I found myself living in a house where coffee was brewed every morning. Man, it smelled good.
So I decided to give coffee another chance. First, I tried it her way, with just a splash of milk, but that didn’t work for me. It still tasted too much like … well, coffee. I added sugar, but that just made it taste like sweet coffee.
Just when I was about to give up on coffee for good, I discovered flavored coffee creamers at the grocery store. Suddenly I could make my coffee taste not like coffee but like hazelnut, vanilla or Irish crème.
I began drinking a cup every morning. Then two.
Later I discovered coffee shops, where one can buy overpriced coffee that tastes like chocolate or caramel or peppermint. Candy coffee. Is this world great or what?
But, as they say, everything in moderation, right? Wrong. I am on the verge of becoming a true coffee addict.
I know there are purists out there who say that the only real coffee is black coffee and who would call my Irish crème flavored drink an abomination.
But hey, it’s at least 95 percent coffee.
While I still drink quite a bit of tea, coffee has definitely become my hot beverage of choice — provided, of course, that it tastes nothing like black coffee.
That still makes me gag.
Doug Showalter can be reached at 379-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.