Have you ever noticed that almost everyone has a story about how they came to love coffee? Like wine, fois gras and lox with capers; coffee is one of those flavors most folks dislike at first blush. It usually takes some sort of odd childhood moment of happenstance to set the hook of obsession and, oddly enough, it is almost always a social catalyst and has nothing to do with caffeine.
Here is my story.
As is often the case, my parents worked when I was a little kid. My grandmother lived next door to our house so my parents had a free babysitter and I got to hang out with Gwaw (a family "grandma" name). Like any little kid I played outside a lot and played with my toys a lot too; but my favorite part of the days with Gwaw started around 10:00am when she sat down for her mid-morning snack and the beginning of the day's soap opera. The snack was usually buttered toast, percolated coffee and fruit. I was in love with this snack. The smell of coffee and toast as the narrator, under dramatic strings, said "...and like sands through the hour glass...", was intoxicating. Every single day I was as excited as any kid would be over gobstoppers and matchbox cars, but my obsession was the way Gwaw taught me to eat my buttered toast--dipped in coffee. There was, and still is something indescribable about that mixture of coffee, butter, toasted Wonder Bread and the textures of crispy and soft. From time to time I still sneak a dip of toast in my coffee when no one is looking. I know I have my grandmother to thank for many things, but my favorite legacy of hers is the passion for coffee she inadvertently instilled in me.
When we're working with new coffee houses or teaching community coffee classes we often start the session with a little ice-breaker, asking everyone to introduce themselves and tell everyone about their first coffee experience. Lets do that in the internet world--tell us about your first cup of coffee!