I hated coffee!

Seriously, in my teens and twenties I’d never touch a cup of coffee unless I had to. I just couldn’t bare that black beverage, that bitter and burned taste of it… If I still had to drink coffee, I added tons of milk – never sugar, though – to it to make it drinkable… I just didn’t get it, why everyone was so much into – bad, as I know better now – coffee…?!

How did I get into (specialty) coffee after all?

 

Well, read on!

It was only in my late Twenties, when I finally got used to coffee – didn’t truly like it, yet. Not, because the taste got any better, but I started working in my first corporate jobs and everyone was drinking coffee… So, I did, too.

I was still adding a LOT of milk to my coffee or espresso, but I at least tried Lattes and cappuccinos. And, yes, I admit it, I liked Starbucks pretty much…

Everything changed with the year 2013, though. It was a mind shifting experience…

 

Three things happened:

  1. I visited Amsterdam (and later that year Vienna) and got hooked by the coffee house culture there.
  2. I changed jobs.
  3. I fell in love (not with specialty coffee just, yet).

All of these things are connected, though. How?

Well, in my first corporate job in Marketing, I started noticing something already: I wasn’t into the products and the brand like my co-workers were, I wasn’t motivated like they apparently had been. They seemed to have so much more fun working at that company…

At that time, I told myself, maybe it’s not the right product and/or the right stuff to do for me, yet… So, I went on to the next job and the next. And the same thing happened again after about 2-3 months.

After the first weeks and months of excitement, curiosity, new people, I got bored. SUPER bored…! I was asking myself, what I actually was doing there, in that very position, in that very job…

2013 changed everything 

In summer 2013, though, after I just got into another (boring) job and me realizing the same thing a couple weeks later, something changed…

Together with my travels to Amsterdam and Vienna, together with some certain personal circumstances (see no. 3 above), together with the fact that just across the street of the company I was working at, a coffee roaster had opened a roastery 6 months earlier, that I started visiting every day since that lucky discovery…

I decided to stop working in my 9-5 and start something totally new!

Since, the specialty coffee (house) culture already hooked me so much and the desire to escape my office desk was so urgent, I immediately started thinking about having my own cafe.

Phew… I surprised (and maybe shocked) everyone, my family and my friends…

But still, I started planning everything. I read books, dreamed about interior designs and what specialty coffee and food to offer…

 

Barista and roasting skills

And, I started working at ‘Awake’ cafe in Frankfurt in January 2014, part time on Saturdays, when ever possible, to get to know the craft behind making and serving coffee to people. Later that year, I even cut down my corporate job to only 4 days/week, so I was able to work at the cafe 1-2 times a week.

Me working at Awake in Frankfurt.

My first Latte Art attempts.

It was also in 2014, when Specialty coffee hooked me completely. I not only attended the German Barista Camp in August 2014, where I met so many wonderful coffee people – most of them still are making the core of my coffee network.

© Alexey Karmanov

© Alexey Karmanov

I also booked seminar after seminar, workshop after workshop – coffee roasting and brewing, Barista and sensory skills, doing Latte Art and all.

roasting seminar @ Langen Kaffee/Medebach

roasting seminar @ Langen Kaffee/Medebach

I went (and am still going until today) to events, trade shows and festivals all over Germany and in Europe, Intergastra, Kaffee Campus, Berlin Coffee Festival, Amsterdam Coffee Festival to just name a few.

I read and am still reading all sorts of coffee books (first one was about the ‘Balzac coffee’ story), subscribed to coffee magazines and bookmarked coffee blogs.

I just couldn’t get enough.

So, no, for me, it wasn’t that certain great cup of specialty coffee, the aromas and the wonderful flavor in coffee that got me into specialty coffee in the first place.

Remember, I started with hating coffee, moved over to Lattes and cappuccinos… it took a while until I made my way into filter coffee and actually started tasting all those great flavors.

 

Coffee gear

But, it didn’t stop with just reading about coffee. I didn’t only attended seminars to attend seminars and to learn about coffee. I started buying coffee gear, too.

One after another…

My coffee equipment reads as the following

  • Chemex
  • V60
  • Kalita Wave
  • Aeropress
  • Bialetti (this was the first gear I purchased)
  • Rok Espresso Maker.

And, I started brewing and loving filter coffee!

 

What?!?

 

Yeah, I know. Quite a transition from hating coffee over to coffee with milk or rather milk with coffee, to black coffee…

And, that’s actually the most wonderful thing. Everyone I met on my coffee journey was so passionate, was so much into coffee… I just loved that. They took me with them, I got on to that (specialty coffee) wave, as well.

I was curious and excited to try new things over and over again!

And, I started to love filter coffee. Single origins from around the world.

This was the time, when I also started bringing coffee souvenirs from my travels back to Germany…

What can I say, if there’s one thing to take out of this blog post, keep chasing your dreams.

Explore. Discover. Be curious.

And, always try something new! Even if it is just another filter coffee…

 

 

 

 

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