It all started in 2008.
I had been a tea enthusiast for many years. As I was working in Japan back then, it was not difficult to get hold of the very best senchas, genmaichas, matchas, and also some fantastic black teas from local companies. However, I knew next to nothing about coffee, the pitch black beverage many Japanese collegues and friends seemed to be enjoying. Of course, I had had the occasional cup of Finnish grocery store coffee that my compatriots seemed to consume by the gallon, but didn’t exactly share their passion for it. I decided I would try to find out whether I could ever really like this thing called coffee.
My first encounter with higher quality coffee was—OK, you guessed it—Starbucks. At that time they had already spread everywhere in the lovely city of Kobe, where I was living. There was also a Seattle’s Best Coffee shop at the Kintetsu Uehonmachi station in Osaka, close to where I studied Japanese, and I made it a point to have a cup there whenever I could.
In those days I did what every newbie coffee drinker does: I bought as many different blends as my budget would allow. I drove baristas crazy by asking elementary questions about different brewing methods. I had my latte phase. I attended a workshop where a local coffee master showed us how to properly make pour over coffee. I also bought some simple gear and attempted to brew my own French roast coffee. One day, a good friend of ours came to visit, and I made him a cup. Today, after ten years, he’s still laughing at the memory of trying to swallow the tar-like substance I offered him. As for me, I remember feeling a little confused. On the one hand, it felt kind of cool trying to be part of this ”coffee drinking community.” On the other hand, though, I still wasn’t quite sure whether I actually liked what I was tasting. Given my skill level, this probably wasn’t all that surprising.
Then, one fine summer day in 2010, I went to the local supermarket in Vantaa, Finland, and bought my first Bialetti Moka pot, a simple electric coffee grinder, and a bag of Segafredo Zanetti Intermezzo beans. As I had my first cup, it was like a lightbulb went on. I immediately knew it. I wanted to be a coffee drinker. And I really wanted to know everything about this new world that was opening before my eyes.
After all these years, I’ve remained a devout macchinetta man. I acknowledge the fact that some coffee blends work better with a different brewing method. And yes, I do enjoy the odd cup of drip coffee with my colleagues at work. I occasionally go out and have a nice double espresso at the local Italian coffee shop. I sometimes use my French press for a change of pace. I really like some AeroPress recipes. I’m also learning to make Turkish coffee in my cezve. But the three cup Bialetti Moka is my go-to coffeemaker. I love the classic style, the durability, the simplicity, the whole process. And I absolutely love the coffee it makes. No milk, no cream, no sugar. Just that natural black goodness. This is the way I like to have my coffee every morning and noon. This is also the way I’ve learned to taste what any given coffee product is about. And this is why I have now—after a decade of pondering about it—decided to let you know about some of my findings.
So, welcome to the Black Coffee Journal! Have a look around!