Coffee is one of those things that’s well-loved worldwide but generally considered an “acquired taste.”
As the popularity of Starbucks can attest, there are a significant number of people who think of themselves as coffee drinkers but still don’t enjoy the flavor of a straight-up cup of black coffee.
If you’re not a coffee lover or enjoy flavored beverages and want to expand your palate beyond lattes with pumps of syrup and dollops of whipped cream, fear not. There are plenty of excellent coffee drinks for people who don’t think they enjoy coffee.
What are the Health Benefits of Coffee?
The benefits of coffee don’t just begin and end with a nice caffeine buzz. In addition to roughly 95 mg of caffeine per cup, coffee also offers antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation and protect the body’s cells against free radical damage.
Research has shown that women who regularly drink coffee have a lower chance of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or kidney disease. Other research has drawn a good parallel between drinking one to two cups of coffee a day and avoiding heart failure.
Coffee may also have a favorable effect on the liver. Part of this may be due to its characteristically bitter taste. Bitter flavors trigger a response within the body that increases the hormone gastrin.
This hormone triggers saliva, pepsin, digestive acid, insulin, and bile production. Your tongue isn’t the only place that can detect the bitter components of coffee, either — there are bitter taste receptors in your lungs, which can trigger the bronchi to expand.
Are there people who don’t like the aroma of fresh ground coffee?
Name anything in the world, and there will be someone who doesn’t enjoy it.
There’s no such thing as something that’s universally pleasurable. While the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans might make one person crave a cup, it could turn someone else entirely off.
That said, coffee’s aroma can vary widely based on several factors. Even before you get into add-ins like syrup or spices, fresh coffee can have a different fragrance depending on its roast and brew method.
Try Different Types Of Coffee Drinks
Look at the menu of your average coffee shop, and you might feel a bit daunted at the sheer number of selections available.
The good news is, each of these has different ratios of milk, water, and coffee, so there’s likely to be something there to suit your preference. In many cases, you can even add flavored syrups to enhance the natural coffee taste. Some drinks include:
- Black coffee is a straight-up cup of coffee grounds brewed in hot water. Many Americans take theirs with cream and sugar, but there’s something to be said for the various nutty, chocolatey, or even lemony notes of a well-made cup of plain, brewed coffee.
- Americano is a beverage made of a shot or two of espresso diluted with hot water. The main difference between it and black coffee is the flavor. While black coffee has a lighter, almost floral taste, an Americano is more profound and earthier. Supposedly, this beverage came about during World War II. American soldiers stationed in Europe were trying to ration their coffee supplies but found the espresso in Europe to be much too rich. Italian coffee shops began serving two espresso shots in a full-sized cup and topping it off with hot water. Thus, the Americano was born.
- Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee made by forcing hot water through beans with an excellent grind. It’s usually served in small cups. Good espresso should have a layer of crema on the top — a kind of aromatic froth naturally produced by a combination of air bubbles and the coffee’s volatile oils.
- Mocha is a kind of hybrid between hot chocolate and coffee. It’s similar to regular coffee, but with chocolate added. It often has enough sweetness present from the chocolate to make it not need any extra sugar.
- Cappuccino is a beverage made of espresso shots and frothed or steamed milk, with a layer of creamy foam at the top. Traditionally, a cappuccino is a shot or two of espresso topped with equal parts steamed and frothed milk in a 1:1:1 ratio.
- Latte is similar to a cappuccino in that it’s made with espresso and frothed and steamed milk. The main difference here is the ratio. A latte contains more steamed milk than a cappuccino for a coffee and milk ratio of 1:5. Cafes commonly offer lattes flavored with syrups, like coconut, peppermint, or the nigh-infamous pumpkin spice.
- Caramel macchiato is similar to a latte with caramel. It’s typically made with espresso, and frothed milk, with caramel sauce added. It may also have a touch of vanilla bean flavoring.
- Frappuccino is a trademarked beverage. It’s a coffee drink made of milk, coffee, ice, and flavored syrup, blended.
- Cold-brew is coffee made by steeping many fine grounds in cold water, often for a total of twenty-four hours. This brew yields a concentrate that’s then filtered and diluted with cold milk before drinking. Cold brew coffee is very similar to regular brewed coffee in many respects but has a much mellower flavor. It’s not as bitter, so you get all the flavor notes and rich coffee taste with a smoother delivery.
People Say Coffee Is Too Bitter Or That They Don’t Like The Taste.
Interestingly, a person’s ability to enjoy coffee has a vital genetic component. If you are — or know — someone who says that the herb cilantro tastes like soap, then you probably get the idea. Some genes govern everything from caffeine tolerance to how their body reacts to it to whether they can tolerate its bitterness.
People who can handle bitter coffee flavors have a wide range of drinks they can enjoy, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else has to stick to milk or water.
Some beverages, like cold brew concentrate, are made in a way that helps reduce the bitter compounds that end up in the final coffee. Others, like lattes, use a high ratio of milk to coffee, which can also help tamp down some of the bitterness.
Even so, there might be people who still plain don’t like coffee. Fortunately, coffee culture in the U.S. has expanded to include some teas.
Chai lattes are akin to regular lattes but made with strong black tea and spices. Often with a pinch of cinnamon on top. Drinking tea is an excellent way to enjoy the caffeine and many earthy, spicy notes of a perfect coffee. But without any bitterness.
Experiment With Different Roasts
The geographic location and variety of a coffee bean have an impact on its flavor and aroma.
As the plants grow, their beans are influenced by the weather, climate, and mineral content of the soil. Beans from Kenya, for example, are known to have a tartness reminiscent of blackcurrant.
Brazilian coffees have notes of chocolate, spices, and nuts and are considered an excellent bean for brewing espresso.
That aside, a significant portion of a coffee’s flavor comes from its roast. When coffee is first picked, it doesn’t smell or tastes like much of anything. After the coffee berry is stripped away, the beans inside are a pale beige and have a grassy fragrance and woody, acidic flavor.
A coffee roast refers to how long and at what temperature the beans were roasted after harvesting. There’s a lot of controversies over which roasts or brew methods yield the best coffee.
It’s all highly subjective — while one person might swear by the rich body of a cup from a French press, another may swear by traditional Moka pots. According to others, no fancy brewing method can beat a regular percolating coffee machine!
Whether someone has every cup made by a professional barista or they hand-select each bean that makes it into their coffee maker, there’s no natural way to determine what makes for the best cup of coffee.
That said, each roast has its unique flavor profile, aroma, and notes, and each one appeals to a different palate.
Light roasts spend the least amount of time in the heat and are usually roasted to an internal temperature of 350–400°F. They’re generally less “oily” than darker roasts because they haven’t spent enough time exposed to heat to pull their oils to the surface.
Heat also denatures caffeine and reduces acidity, so lightly roasted coffee beans have the highest caffeine content and the most acidity.
Another term for a light roast is “blonde roast” or “cinnamon roast.” This roast refers entirely to the color of the beans after roasting and has nothing to do with the flavor.
Flavor notes can include fruity, citrusy, or even floral, courtesy of the higher acid content.
Even if they are used to instant coffee powder, most American coffee drinkers drink medium roast coffee. This roast is heated longer than the light roast to an internal temperature of about 410-425°F. This results in a balanced flavor with medium acidity and caffeine levels.
Flavor notes include nuts, caramel, chocolate, and spices.
These can reach internal temperatures of 465-480°F. They’ll often have visible oils on the surface of the beans as the heat draws them out. This roast also produces the lowest acidity and caffeine content. The longer roasting process also causes the sugars in the beans to caramelize, leading to sweeter flavors.
Flavor notes include molasses, earth, dark chocolate, and smoke.
Coffee lovers are almost like avid wine enthusiasts. They can wax on for hours about beans, roasts, grinds, and brewing methods—all to yield their favorite cup of coffee.
There’s no actual definition of a “best” coffee, though. If you haven’t been wowed by the cups you’ve tried so far, consider isolating what it was you didn’t like.
Was the brew too bitter? A cold brew might be more to your taste. Was the flavor too strong?
A lighter roast could be just your speed with the astonishing variety of beans, roasts, and beverages out there. There is no reason to force yourself to tolerate coffee that you don’t like. Experiment and try something new. You might like what you find.