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Stop drinking awful coffee, please

Words by Nathan Irvine

Please, abeg.

What better way to celebrate International Coffee Day (today!) than by drinking a delicious Cup of Joe that doesn't simply taste like hot brown water. By and large, the typical high street Americano is terrible. It might give you the quick-fix focus you desire, but the ground coffee that's used often lacks flavour. It doesn't have to be this way.

Independent coffee houses - especially those with bean roasting facilities on-site - are more popular than ever. A quick Google search for "café" or "coffee" will unearth a few gems nearby that will almost certainly serve up a more palatable variety.

You don't need to be this good at making coffee to enjoy a better brew at home. Promise.

Taste the difference

Why am I telling you to stop drinking awful coffee? Well, apart from the obvious reason of it being disgusting, knowing what good stuff tastes like opens up a whole new world of coffee possibilities.

I was once an instant coffee drinker. I thought it was simply a beverage to help you stay awake. Then I got onto the high street variety and thinking that this was the good stuff. How wrong I was.

A chance meeting with a former UK barista champion in Bath, UK, opened my eyes - and taste buds - up to coffee's full potential. Did you know that freshly brewed coffee changes flavours as it gets cooler? Or that bags of ground coffee have lost around 90% of its flavour by the time it lands on a supermarket shelf? No, neither did I until that day.

You won't need all that milk and sugar to mask the bitterness that can cause you to involuntarily contort your face. The freshly ground and brewed kind offers flavours all on its own.

Sure, it might sound pretentious to talk about the tasting notes of the Ethiopian guji bean (peach and hints of chocolate, fyi) but it's well worth sampling. And this is just the tip of the iceberg - there's a coffee bean type for everyone.

Another reason to avoid most of the chains is because you can make a better cup of coffee at home with very little effort. Brewing equipment is inexpensive and incredibly easy to use. Add a manual or automatic grinder into the mix, and you've got everything you need to become a home barista.

Just look how easy it is to use an Aeropress.

... and relax

Getting into decent coffee and brewing is incredibly therapeutic too. In a manic day-to-day life, I know the 15 minutes I set aside to grind the beans and brew a delicious filtered coffee is a relaxing period. I genuinely look forward to it. And it's not just me, I've managed to convince at least one colleague and a fair few friends to make the leap into quality coffee and they haven't looked back.

There are loads of great places to get coffee or roasted beans from these days. Just one sip and you won't want to let an average brew pass your lips again. So stop drinking awful coffee, please.

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