“Be still my beating heart… Is that coffee I smell?”
After going to New York for the first time in middle school, to sing at Carnegie Hall with my school choir, I became an avid coffee drinker at the age of twelve. Early, yes, I know, and many say that’s the reason I’m short; I don’t believe that though. I knew then, what a great drink coffee was. My first cup was like drinking a bowl of heaven. From that point, all of my mornings would start off with coffee. In high school, there was a Starbucks a block away and, needless to say, in college, I could probably drink my weight in coffee.
Years, later, I’m still an avid coffee drinker; not quite a coffee connoisseur, however, I would say just about as close. I have not mastered being able to tell the location of a coffee bean, but I can still give a strong analysis on aroma, flavor, and taste and certainly tell the difference between a good, bad and old cup. While I do have my preferences, this does not inhibit my appreciation for coffee. A special drink that has found ways to be integrated across cultures, become accessible to all, and move between casual leisure to luxury indulgence.
Most believe that coffee is just for in the morning—at least the caffeinated kind. So, for the non-coffee drinker, it comes as a surprise that some (myself included) actually drink coffee before going to bed. Yes! Your habitual coffee drinker would tell you that there is a coffee for every and any time of the day. Early in the morning. Coming about midday. At the cusp of evening. Caffeinated or not, coffee can be a suitable beverage at any point in the day. It is just a matter of strength and taste.
There is a variety of boldness and taste when it comes to coffee. In deciding on what kind of coffee to drink at a particular time, it is important to keep this in mind along with lifestyle. Someone with a high-intense lifestyle would drink a different coffee round up then one who has, perhaps, a more laidback lifestyle. The following coffee “day menu” is a generalized recommendation based on a gentle start and climb through the day, as well as a decrescendo of coffee roasts.
For when you are just waking up or early in the morning, a strong coffee to kick-start your day may be best. As someone who loves espresso, I recommend starting your day with an espresso, espresso blend or dark roast coffee. The grind, strength and boldness of these coffees will wake you up and send you on your merry way in the morning.
If you’re an early riser, you may want to try beginning with an espresso blend and move to a dark roast in the late morning. Dark Italian Espresso by Eight o’ Clock Coffee and Café Bustelo are absolutely divine with bold rich tastes. Drink them black or give a dash of sugar and splash of cream. Perhaps, swing by Starbuck’s or your favorite coffee shop and pick up a Flat White or Iced Espresso.
Midday and the Afternoon
Now that you have been up for a while, I recommend moving to a medium or medium-dark roast of coffee. This is to give extra push through that 2:00-4:00 p.m. time frame where most get tired and feel the drag of the day before getting off. Unless, you are a certified coffee-holic or thoroughly enjoy a strong coffee, around this time, something less intense but with a punch is great. A medium or medium-dark roast coffee still has some strength and an airy boldness. Ground coffee like Eight O’ Clock Coffee’s 100% Columbian Peaks or Gevalia’s Guatemala Coarse Ground would fit in comfortably at this time. Late in the afternoon, nearing 5:00 p.m., a flavored medium -ground coffee might be nice as well.
Unless you want a late-night push, medium and mild roasts are perfect for the evening, mild especially for late evenings approaching midnight (That is, if you want to go sleep). The key is flavor, or richness in taste, over intensity and boldness. A weak coffee without good taste is essentially like drinking coffee-water. For this reason, flavored ground coffee I find is good in the evening. Eight O’ Clock Coffee’s Hazelnut is my current favorite not only because of the delicious taste but aroma that fills the room making it easy to settle in for the evening.
There is an exception for mild roasts with stronger dessert or evening coffees such as Cuban coffee, Turkish coffee. These dark roasts and espresso blends are paired opposite sweet or savory desserts to enhance flavors. For example, pairing an espresso with an overtly sweet dessert such as pavlova is especially delightful because the bitterness of the coffee is complimented by the sweet layers of the dessert, complimenting both and overpowering neither.
What kind of coffee drinker are you? Would you drink coffee all day or prefer a set time period of the day? For most, starting with a strong coffee and ending with a mild coffee works best, but of course, this is not everyone. Someone with high blood pressure for example would be better off drinking a medium or mild coffee through the day.
Don’t be afraid of breaking your routine and trying a mild cup in the evening with a nice book or a medium-dark roast as you push through work in the afternoon. Coffee is available any time of the day for a sweet indulgence, simply choose what suits your taste. What will you pick?