Last week, I was talking to my cousin about his morning coffee ritual. We’re Nicaraguan, and our family has been in the coffee business for five generations, so it’s a topic we feel pretty passionate about. My cousin is now an entrepreneur living in Brooklyn and every morning he stops into a coffee shop in his neighborhood for an Americano. It’s a great-looking place, all shiny machinery and industrial tile. But when I heard the name, I told him, I find the coffee really acidic.
“Yeah,” he said. “It’s true that if I drink it without eating anything first I get sick to my stomach.”
That’s when I first said it: “Good coffee shouldn’t make you feel bad.”
It sounds so simple, but, hearing the words out loud, I realized that too many of us drink coffee that hurts. Coffee shouldn’t churn you guts or leave a bitter taste in your mouth. But these days we’re so wrapped in a shop’s look (or so in love with their free wifi), and so bombarded with messages about their branding (our coffee is the freshest! Rarest! Most caffeinated!) that it can be easy to feel like it’s our fault if we don’t like a coffee that seems, well, cool.
I realized that my advice to my cousin about coffee sounds a lot like the advice I’ll give my kids one day when they starts dating (years, maybe decades from now!): Don’t settle. Trust your taste. Above all, find the one that makes you feel great. And, if you’re looking, I’m happy to make an introduction to my favorite picks…