We’re all going to die. The clock is ticking – and it’s never going to stop. Why not live for tonight? Like we might not see tomorrow? Don’t give up just yet. There are at least twenty-six coffee things you must do before you die. Here they are. Have more? Sound off in the comments below.
26. Smell a valley of blossoming coffee trees.
Nothing is sweeter than the smell of coffee blossoms. Valleys fill with the aroma of jasmine. Until you’ve experienced it, you’ve never smelled anything quite like it.
25. Eat a coffee cherry fresh off the tree.
Coffee cherries are fabulous. They’re almost impossible to export (save for freezing them) and nothing tastes like a cherry grown at high altitude, on a healthy farm. That coffee cherry you ate that was growing in your local botanical garden probably tasted like green peppers. The gesha cherry you pop in at 1800 meters above sea level tastes like watermelon candy.
24. Order a syphon at a syphon bar.
The syphon, or vac-pot, is a glorious instrument – and it’s over 150 years old. Look for a local syphon bar – and sit in front of the apparatus and enjoy the thrill of the brew.
23. Gulp down 40 ounces of iced coffee while sitting in a park on a hot summer day.
The rush of forty ounces of iced coffee surging through the body on a hot summer’s day is an unforgettable experience and probably one that you won’t want to relive. Extra points if you’ve got a slip-n-slide nearby.
22. Experience the forbidden refreshment of an espresso over ice.
Espresso over ice can be a delicious treat. Because of the propensity of some to use the order as a loop-hole to make themselves an iced latte at the condiment bar, many cafes have banned this particular drink. When available, try it in a rocks glass. Even better if it’s served with one big cube of ice – or ice with a slushy consistency (pictured above).
21. Visit the first Starbucks.
While technically not the *first* Starbucks, the space on Pike is the company’s oldest. It’s one of the few Starbucks locations to still use La Marzocco Linea espresso machines. Taking a cue from the Pike Place fish mongering friends, they also throw cup orders across the room. It’s very cute.
20. Dunk a beignet in a cafe au lait.
Go to New Orleans and get out to Café Du Monde. Get situated with their cafe au lait (hot coffee and hot milk) and signature beignets (donut-like pastries topped with powdered sugar). Dunk the beignet in the coffee and tell us that’s not the most fabulous combination ever. We dare you.
19. Experience a coffee ceremony in Ethiopia.
The ritual of coffee making in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, is legendary.
18. Pick a basket full of red, ripe cherries on a steep cliffside.
Try to keep yourself upright on the steep slopes of the farm as you maneuver between sharp branches while picking only the ripest cherry. Don’t mind the bees and biting insects. You’ll really get a sense of the amount of work that is put into every cup you drink.
17. “Cup” coffee.
16. Order a “one and one” at Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz.
Trying to decide between a macchiato and an espresso? Why not both? Verve Coffee Roasters serves up this modern classic – “the one and one” – two demitasses served up on a single saucer.
15. Drink espresso in a Glencairn glass at Sterling Coffee Roasters.
A brandy snifter? Some cry afoul, but don’t listen to the haters. Try it for yourself.
14. Watch Charles Babinski brew espresso at G&B Coffee in Los Angeles.
Sprudgie Award winner Charles Babinski is unstoppable behind an espresso machine – and you’ve probably never seen service the way he does it.
13. Go to a barista competition.
Is there a barista competition happening in your neighborhood? Go. You probably have never be in a room filled with so many award winning coffees. Most competitions offer a complimentary brew bar, where competitors take turns pulling shots. Most are free and they can be a real hoot.
12. Go to Amsterdam for the coffee bars.
Skip the tired weed-slinging “coffee shops” and go directly to the new crop of coffee bars around Amsterdam. Pick up a disloyalty card and walk the canals high on caffeine (and then maybe go get a space cake. You do you.)
11. Put a stroopwafel on your coffee mug.
Place a stroopwafel, the Dutch caramel treat, on your mug of coffee. Let it droop. Eat the gooey goodness.
10. Pay your respects to the Goddess Caffeina at the original Vivace cart.
Espresso Vivace‘s sidewalk bar is one of the pillars of Seattle coffee history, and down the side alley you can find an altar to the goddess Caffeina and the dearly departed Brian Fairbrother, one of Seattle’s best loved baristas. Light a candle, wave some sage, and be blessed with God Shots for life.
9. Visit all 5 Surf themed cafes in Lower Manhattan.
8. Have the Re-Constructed Shakerato at Tim Wendelboe and marvel at how refined the Scandinavians are.
7. Have the best $1 cup of coffee in America — a McCafe.
Don’t poo poo it until you’ve tried it. 100% Arabica!
6. Go to one of the dying breed of old-school scoop shops and experience the olfactory assault of open barrels of Mint Mocha, Coconut, and French Vanilla blends.
The Pumpkin Spice! The Toffee Nut Chew! The Cinnamon Apple Cider Roast! They’re all still there!
5. Experience the intense cognitive dissonance of being served instant Nestlé coffee while on a source trip to a renowned coffee producing country.
Good coffee goes out, Nescafe comes in.
4. Get a Frappe on Frappe Friday. Ask for a double pump of caramel.
3. Visit the coffee growing valleys of Central Rwanda.
Some of the world’s most beautiful coffees come from this gorgeous region.
2. Go to every existing Intelligentsia.
There’s a reason Intelligentsia is one of the most ubiquitous specialty coffee brands out there. Rack up some frequent flier miles and visit all 11!
1. Attend a cupping – of Robusta!
Coffeea Arabica‘s much maligned cousin is experiencing something of a quality revolution. Judge for yourself, and try not to go too coffee crazy from all the caffeine.
Top image: Photo illustration from QJ Photos.