It can be overwhelming when you go into a coffee shop and see all of the options on the menu, you don’t know what a lot of them are, which ones you think you’d like, or where to even begin. Maybe you just want to drink coffee for the social aspect, or – you’ve started feeling like you need that extra kick in the morning that coffee gives to get your day started, or you want to understand the flavours, quality, cupping score, etc. that your coffee enthusiast friend raves about. Whatever the reason, there’s a coffee for you and we hope this guide can help you get started on the right track to find it.
Step 1: Start With Espresso-Based Drinks
There are quite a few methods you can use to make coffee; plunger, stovetop, filter, etc. but Espresso is the best place to start. It’s good both with milk and without and most coffee shops’ default is selling espresso-based drinks.
I mean, if you’re mega-rich or mega-dedicated go ahead and buy every coffee-method making machine under the sun and try them all to find your perfect drink, but if you want to keep it simple to start, just stick with the espresso-based beverages for now.
Step 2: Try a Latte
So you didn’t like the espresso shot, that’s fine, next you’re going to try a Latte. A Latte is espresso, steamed milk, and a touch of milk foam on top (which makes the fun latte art). This is a great next step as it’s going to tell what you need to adjust/add to get you your go-to beverage.
If you tried the Latte but didn’t enjoy the foam, you’ll be wanting a Flat White.
If you tried the Latte and really enjoyed the foam and want more, go for the Cappuccino.
And lastly, if you tried the Latte, and thought it was just right, stick with the Latte!
Step 3: Have An Espresso Shot
We recommend the you actually try an Espresso at some point as it tells a lot of helpful information right away.
If you have an Espresso with ease, enjoy it, and love it, congrats, you’ve just found your drink! If you enjoyed it but still want a larger drink – try a Long Black. You’ll still be able to taste all of the flavours, it’ll just be in a larger cup and mixed with hot water. For those warm days – most places serve Iced Long Blacks as well.
If you didn’t like the Espresso – don’t worry – you aren’t doomed to never be able to drink coffee – this just means that Espresso shots on their own aren’t for you… yet.
Remember the first time you tried wine, beer or something like blue cheese? These are acquired tastes and so is espresso. After a while of repeatedly forcing yourself to try espresso on its own, you’ll start to enjoy the subtle flavours and sweetness that is naturally in espresso.
If you almost die the first time you try the espresso, give yourself a break and start with long blacks or add some sugar in to ease the impact.
I also love drinking my espresso with a twist of lemon. That’s right! Like something out of a Steve Martin comedy (showing my age here) you can actually have a great tasting espresso by adding a squeeze of lemon and running the slice around the rim of the glass.
Step 4: Add syrups
If you thought that the Latte, Flat White or Cappuccino tasted great without syrups, then move onto the next step! If however, you think the coffee taste is still too strong, try adding syrups.
For chocolate lovers this is easy, you can just order a Mocha!
If you don’t like chocolate, but still want something to lessen the flavour of coffee, many cafes will have flavoured syrups you can add. Caramel, vanilla, and hazelnut are some common ones!
Step 5: Adjust your ratio
If you’ve followed all of the previous steps and the coffee is still too strong for you to start with, try having 1/2 a shot or a shot less than usual in your drink and then slowly build up how much espresso you have and lessen how much syrup you have. Over time, you’ll get used to the flavours and naturally find you don’t need as much syrup or don’t mind more coffee!
So there you go! Whether you’ve ended up with a Long Black, Latte, 1/2 Strength Mocha, or whatever else, we hope you’ve found your drink that will get you started with your coffee journey! Be patient, it may take time, but once you’ve found the brew for you, it’ll be worth it!