The later years of high school I would slam coffee with a lot of sugar and a lot of milk or creamer. It was just coffee flavored sugar. It was terribly unhealthy in numerous ways, but I needed that caffeine kick!
No, I really didn’t need it. But I wanted it…and I can still hear my mother in my ear saying “Coffee stunts your growth!”
After joining the Army over 20 years ago I went about 17 years without any standout memories of coffee. I’m sure there was some in there, I just don’t remember them because it had zero impact on my life.
But in 2017 that changed. My family and I had just relocated to Silver Spring, Maryland and we kept hearing about this local coffee shop which was only open one day a week. Half of a day, once a week actually. We figured they must make the best coffee in the world if they only work half a day a week! So, we started on our adventure to find it. I’m not joking when I say an adventure. We drove for nearly an hour to find a place which was walking distance from our home. It was at the back end of a parking lot, the last unit in a small row of businesses with a sign so small I could’ve covered it with two hands.
We went to check it out on Saturday morning, the only day it was open to customers. The business wasn’t a coffee shop, it was a coffee roaster, with a small café inside they only opened on Saturday mornings. The pieces started coming together….
My wife ordered a latte, and I ordered a chai latte. The drinks were good, but nothing to brag about. The owner of the roastery, Felix, came over and introduced himself. He mentioned never seeing us before and asked if it was our first time in his café. We got to talking and eventually Felix shared about how they roast single origin coffee. Felix noticed my mug was empty and asked if I’d ever tasted a high grade, specialty coffee before.
I said “I’m not a fan of coffee”
However, he insisted. I’ll never forget watching him rip open a bag of freshly roasted beans, grind them, and pull out a Chemex to brew them in. I’d never seen a Chemex before, I didn’t know what it was for. I’m not sure which was more confusing; me watching him brew or the look on my face while watching him brew.
Felix handed me a mug of an Indonesian Sumatra single origin coffee. At that moment, I finally learned what great coffee is supposed to taste like…and it’s a moment I hope to provide for many others!
Founder of Robusta Move Coffee