I was introduced to black coffee in the worst way. It was 1983, and I was a United States Marine aboard a United States Navy ship. Because of our extended trip to the Mediterranean Sea without a resupply, there was nothing to drink other than purified seawater or black coffee.
Prior to joining the military in 1978, I can only remember one occasion when I drank a cup of coffee. At the time, I used more cream and sugar than anyone could possibly need.
From 1983 until sometime before 2018, I drank coffee with cream and sugar. The creamer was usually non-dairy but I sometimes used UHT milk when I ran out of non-dairy. One day, out of the blue, I decided to stop using any kind of creamer. I was tired of dealing with excess phlegm. Besides, I liked the flavor of the coffee. I never really got into flavored creamers either.
My wife, Josie, did the same thing after we returned to the United States in 2018. Both of us still occasionally replace the water with milk (usually one percent) when we want to drink coffee like Starbucks. Even so, low-fat milk doesn’t produce the mucous that whole milk and non-dairy creamers do.
In June 2019, a little over a year ago, I started drinking black coffee without sugar in it. Until then, I added two teaspoons to every cup. After a month or so, I tried using sucralose and stevia as sweeteners. I didn’t like either of them. Nothing tastes like granulated sugar.
I enjoy one benefit from going through all of that: I now use one spoon of sugar with black coffee instead of two. Except for brewed coffee, that is. I only use three scoops of ground coffee in our Mr. Coffee and the brew comes out weak enough that I can easily drink it without sugar.
I regularly avoid coffee shops, especially Starbucks and Seattle’s Best (same owner). They charge way too much for the convenience of coffee. The last time I bought coffee at Starbucks, it was the plain brew and I added my own sugar. It was otherwise an expensive serving of black coffee.
I don’t trust the black coffee available at fast food places. It’s usually either too weak to be called coffee or it tastes burnt, meaning it’s been out too long. I’ve tossed more drinks in the trash than I care to remember.
There are times I can’t avoid the only available coffee shop within reasonable distance and it’s usually when I’m traveling from airport to airport. The last time was a place called “The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf”, but I don’t remember which airport it was. It was most likely the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport but I can’t be sure.
It marks the beginning of my day, every day. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t start out with a cup of coffee. Drinking a glass of water just before that cup doesn’t count. If I’m thirsty when I wake up in the morning, nothing other than plain water will suffice. The next cup will almost always be a cup of coffee, whether it’s brewed or instant.
I’ve known people over the years who couldn’t stand any kind of coffee. Some of them would drink a soft drink first thing in the morning. Some would drink beer (you would have to be there to understand). Many who did drink coffee would add more cream and sugar than I’ve ever been able to stand. I never understood how they could even taste the coffee itself.