Riding the Third Wave

“I’ll have an espresso. No, wait … make that a doppio.”

The year was 2004, and I was ordering my first espresso. I had heard of it, but had no idea what it was, and I certainly didn’t know what doppio meant. I usually didn’t go out for coffee, but had decided I’d try something new that day, and the pressure was on because of a long line behind me.

When I got my order my first thought was, “Who drinks this? It tastes terrible!” I thought it was nothing but a bitter-tasting, syrupy coffee drink. There was only two ounces of it, yet it was placed in an eight-ounce cup. Odd, but welcomed, since it meant I only had to drink two ounces.

I went to Italy on vacation less than a year later, but I didn’t order any espresso because of that previous experience. That’s right, I went to Italy, the home of espresso, and didn’t even try it. I thought that all espresso is espresso — it probably all tastes the same — I thought espresso was a brand, like Nescafé or something.

Then came the “Third Wave Coffee” movement. The focus was, and still is, on the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee. I was in the military at the time, and I regularly drank two cups of coffee a day – sometimes three or four times. I didn’t drink it for the taste; I drank it to stay awake. For someone who grew up thinking coffee was just an energy drink, it was eye-opening to find out it came from berries.

I was so intrigued at the thought of coffee as an artisanal foodstuff that I started reading whatever I could about coffee in my spare time: the history, different ways to brew, how to taste it, etc. Then I read about how great coffee can be when it’s fresh-roasted, and the next thing I know, I’m roasting my own coffee at home.

About once a month, I’ll be writing about my experience with coffee, whether it’s something I know, or am learning at the moment. Why? Because coffee’s very interesting to me, and I want to share what I learn — and sharing with you, I believe, will encourage me to keep trying new things. Feel free to send me questions, too; maybe finding the answer will lead to another blog post.

I’ve come a long way since 2004 when it comes to my coffee, but I’m not a coffee expert (at least, not yet!), and I’m not a coffee snob. I do like to refer to myself as a coffee aficionado: I love coffee, and I love learning about coffee. I’m also learning Italian, and it’s helped me understand the espresso/coffee culture even better. The next time I go to Italy, I will definitely have a shot of espresso, or two — now that I know doppio means “double.”

Angela Greenberg is a Christian, a homeschooling mom of four, and a coffee lover. She roasts coffee as a hobby and loves learning about coffee. You can follow her on Twitter (@tazzadiluna).

This was my first post as a blogger for the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper.  The original content was published here:  Riding the Third Wave

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