Coffee

Posted by Kevin Dowling on Aug 30, 2018 6:45:59 PM

Over 10 years ago (it pains me to reflect on that amount of time!) I worked as a QA tester in a games company. Which, at the time, was the best job in the world. It was a temp role that lasted a few months, and while the experience itself left a lasting impact on how I approach jobs (which is to say the job, company & management were awful & I would never replicate their culture), probably the biggest impact it had on my life, weirdly, was coffee.

You see, before this job, I never drank coffee. Not once. My then girlfriend (now wife) discovered coffee in college. She's very much a last-minute worker who'll bash out very good project work at 3am. In short, I never really needed coffee before.

But this job took a toll. It often required finishing at 2am (mercifully these crunch-time situations involved getting free pizza & a taxi home), which meant trying to stay awake. Red Bull has never sat well with me. I feel ill and like I should be in a nightclub whenever I smell it. So, I discovered the coffee vending machine in the kitchen.

I didn't love the bitter taste, but I do enjoy bitter or savoury flavours outside of coffee. So, under the watchful guidance of my wife, I started with mocha. Then I quickly graduated to Latté's.

Then I changed jobs.

And somewhere along the line, for reasons long forgotten to me, I ended up doing a 2-day course with Nespresso. Yes, the original posh coffee pods lifestyle brand. And it was there that I learned about crema, flavour profiles and some of the nitty-gritty details of what makes a good coffee (and why, at the time, Nespresso was the defacto brand to deliver top quality coffee).

Skip, hop & jump to today and I have a fully fledged obsession with it. I drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day, have attended several tasting events & make a big effort to source really good beans from great providers around the world. Whenever I visit another country (primarily for work), I tend to seek out beans to bring home.

And that's sort-of the crux of why I'm writing this. I think my introduction to coffee was really bad. My parents loved (I've since converted them) drinking that mushy instant coffee stuff that every household should avoid. So I had no chance to enjoy the flavour of a good coffee. Years later, I'm obsessed & "fixing" my parents bad coffee habits. I feel like the same thing happened with food, to some extent. I was given poor fish when I was a kid so I was turned off by it overall. But last week, by way of extreme example, I ate Sea Urchin - an extremely potent & strong fish.

Tastes change, especially if you're open to them. 10+ years ago I wouldn't be caught dead drinking coffee. I'm now sitting in front of a Nitro cold brew coffee to fuel my evening; which will likely involve fish. But the big sea change is to being open to change in the first place. Otherwise you might miss out on the fun stuff, like coffee and fish (but not necessarily Sea Urchin!).