Updated: Aug 30, 2020
There is tons of lore around coffee. I love the story of its early discovery about a goat farmer in Ethiopia. The thought of happy, little caffeinated goats is quite delightful. But there is also a lot of misinformation about coffee out there. Some of these fabrications are vastly widespread and believed by many to be facts.
When I was running my coffee shop and I heard some of these myths, it would drive me crazy. Even worse, in most occasions, I didn't have the time to give the person the correct information. Well, either that or I didn't want to correct them for fear of coming off like a pretentious coffee snob (of which there are already enough in the world).
These are some of the myths I would hear often that are usually taken as gospel.
1. Coffee Gives You Energy
Wait, what? The truth is, coffee has caffeine which is a psychoactive drug classified as a stimulant. The caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors in your body that give you the drowsy signals and make you feel sleepy. Coffee helps you wake up and shake off those drowsy feelings, but it doesn't inherently carry calories (which DO give you energy). Of course, when you add milk or sugar, then you get caffeine plus additional calories.
2. Coffee Snobs Only Drink Black Coffee
Okay, I do drink a lot of black coffee. But most of the coffee I consume I make myself (with Super Good Coffee beans!). The coffee itself is high quality and perfectly roasted. Sure, it's a little bitter–coffee is bitter by nature. But it's still pleasant and enjoyable. However, whenever I drink lesser-quality coffee, for instance at an office, coworking space, or diner, you bet I'm dressing that coffee up. It's a lot like steak. A good cut of meat that is grilled to perfection with maybe a little salt and pepper doesn't need all the steak sauce and marinade.
3. You Need Coffee To Wake Up
This one is definitely a hot take. I mentioned in Myth #1 how coffee gets rid of drowsiness, but does it really help you wake up? This one really depends on the person, but I've noticed in myself that days when I don't have coffee first thing in the morning or maybe not at all, I'm just fine. On these days, I usually don't have coffee right away because I've done something active or engaging that wakes me up. I think coffee is really part of a morning ritual and the ritual in itself helps people to feel awake. If that coffee were replaced with decaf without their knowledge, it'd probably have the same effect.
Which brings me to my next point...
4. Decaf Is For Losers
Hey, I can understand why decaf has gotten a bad rap. It goes through the decaffeination process that takes away some of the flavors as well. But decaf is not bad–in fact, it can actually taste good. I have a bit of caffeine sensitivity. I can't drink coffee after 2 pm or I'll have a difficult time sleeping that night. But I love coffee and I'm envious of people who aren't affected by caffeine and can drink coffee all day. For me and many others, well-roasted decaf coffee is the perfect solution to still be able to indulge without the side effects.
5. I Don't Like Coffee
Of course, everyone has their own taste preferences, but humans are one of the only animals that consume the bitter taste for enjoyment. Humans have been consuming bitter flavors for thousands of years. In fact, cocoa was consumed for generations before any sugar was ever added to it. However, just like in Myth #2, bad coffee is difficult to drink and is probably not enjoyable by itself. If you're in the "I don't like coffee" camp, it might be because you've only experienced bad coffee. Good coffee, just like a good steak or a good spirit, is very easy to consume by itself and tastes really good.
New to coffee and not sure where to start?
My suggestion is to ask the barista at your local coffee shop what their recommendation is (you might have to wait until the quarantine is over to try that). They might offer you a sweet latte, which is mostly milk and sugar, but it's a start. I recommend starting with a café au lait. This simple drink is 50% drip coffee and 50% steamed milk. It doesn't have crazy flavors masking the taste of the coffee–just a little milk to smooth it out. Over time, ask for less and less milk and see where it takes you!
If you're looking for coffee to make at home, check out our coffee roaster, Super Good Coffee Co. Incredible coffee with FREE SHIPPING anywhere in the U.S. Any other coffee questions? Feel free to check out my other posts or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org