A Match Made In Heaven
Milk goes with coffee like fish goes with chips, right? Until a couple of years ago I would have agreed with you as I sipped another flat white or cappuccino. Little did I know that I didn’t really like the blend of coffee I was drinking. After all, I could hardly taste the coffee under the sweet milk and chocolate dust. That was how it was meant to be, or so I thought.
Coffee was a means to an end and that end was to keep you awake whilst you worked long into the evening; the milk dampened down the bitterness and that was a sacrifice you had to make. Black coffee was hard-core, for die hard enthusiasts only.
Drinking Different Blends of Coffee
Over time, I started to explore different blends of coffee, but I always added a touch of milk to ‘take the edge off’. As I have discussed on this blog before, coffee soon became interesting in its own right. I love trying as many blends as I can and attending coffee cuppings where you get the chance to compare coffees side by side. When I discovered Grind and Tamp in Ramsbottom, the team encouraged me to try their coffees without milk before adding it later on if I wanted. I was amazed at the difference.
Isn’t Black Coffee Bitter?
The reason I drank milk with my coffee in the first place was because I found coffee too bitter when served straight up. What changed?
When I started visiting third wave coffee shops I also started drinking Arabica coffee beans. Arabica coffee beans are, generally, of a much higher quality than Robusta; they have more delicate and interesting flavours and produce a more well rounded cup. Robusta beans, although higher in caffeine, are bitter to taste.
At the time I first discovered coffee in college and university, I drank coffee so that I could power through my assignments day and night. The higher levels of caffeine found in Robusta when compared to Arabica served their purpose. Okay, so the nights may have been spent in the pub with friends but the point still stands. Coffee kept me awake!
Since leaving university I now drink coffee out of choice. The depth of flavour is much more important than the caffeine content alone.
Why drink black coffee?
There are so many reasons to drink black coffee, not least because you experience the full range of flavours that are otherwise countered by the addition of milk. A good blend or single origin coffee is well rounded and packed with interesting flavour notes. Although you may scoff at the idea that coffee can have hints of fruit, nut or chocolate, I have been excited time and again to discover how diverse coffee beans really are. Who knew that coffee could taste like peaches or blueberries? I certainly didn’t until I discovered an Ethiopian blend from North Star Roast last year.
Whilst I don’t recommend drinking a bitter Robusta black, I would encourage you to try your next Arabica coffee sans milk. You might just be surprised at how much you can taste!