How To Start Liking Coffee (A Coffee Beginner’s Cheatsheet)

how to start liking coffee

Coffee is one of the most consumed drinks in the World. Statistics show that 64 percent of adults in America drink coffee every day. The daily consumption totals about 400 million cups in the US alone.

Still, a significant population does not drink coffee for various reasons: some have never tried coffee, others like coffee but quit drinking while others don’t like coffee at all.

Some of the reasons why some people do not like coffee include

  • They hate the taste of the coffee. For most people, coffee tastes awful the first time you try it
  • They are wary of the negative effects attributed to caffeine
  • They are concerned that coffee is an expensive indulgence
  • They have limited knowledge about coffee and they don’t know where to start

Fortunately, if you are wondering how to like coffee, there are numerous ways to build up to liking the taste of coffee as well as appreciating coffee in general.

6 tips on how to start liking coffee:

  1. Improve the flavor of coffee to soften the bitter or sour taste that you hate
  2. Broaden your coffee knowledge
  3. Learn the health benefits of coffee
  4. Start making your own coffee at home
  5. Start a coffee routine
  6. Be patient with yourself

1. How To Start Liking Coffee When You Hate The Taste

Most people who hate coffee complain that it has a bitter taste. There are numerous factors that contribute to the bitter taste of coffee and if you hate coffee or you are a coffee beginner, bad coffee can set you back a great deal when you are trying to like coffee.

Here are eight tips to start liking coffee when you hate its taste

1. Soften The Bitter Taste

  • Add milk and milk substitutes such as coffee creamer. When you are a coffee beginner, milk coffees such as lattes and mocha are an excellent choice. The milk proteins soften the coffee and make it less bitter. Steaming milk/creamer adds natural sweetness that improves the flavor of the coffee. Milk also makes acidic coffee less sour by reducing its acidity.
  • Sweetening your coffee will also make it softer on your palate. When using coffee creamer in your coffee beware that most of the creamers are already flavored
  • Alternatively, go for iced coffee with cold milk and your choice of sweeteners
  • Coffee frappuccinos and frappes (milkshake-like drinks with coffee) are a great treat when you want a thick and cold coffee-based drink that is soft on your taste buds
  • Adding a pinch of salt to black coffee instead of sugar will remove the bitterness and sourness and improve the overall taste of your coffee.

Gradually scale down the amounts of sweeteners and milk as the taste and aroma of the coffee grows on you.

2. Coffee Cakes and Coffee Ice Creams

Coffee cakes and coffee ice creams have coffee as one of the ingredients and are a great introduction to the taste of the coffee. These indulgent treats can accustom your palate to the coffee flavor and ease your transition to start liking coffee.

3. Choose The Right Roast

Roasting is the process of subjecting green coffee beans to heat to break down the beans’ chemical compounds and create coffee flavors and aromas. The level of roasting – light, medium, or dark – influences the taste and aroma of your coffee.

When trying to like coffee, you would be prudent to choose the best roast for your choice of coffee drink.

A medium-dark or a dark roast such as Vienna roast is perfect for pulling espresso and is, therefore, the best choice when you want to use espresso for your latte or cappuccino.

A blonde roast highlights the brighter and vibrant (citrusy and floral) flavors of coffee and is more acidic. A blonde roast is an excellent choice for filtered black coffee.

Very dark roasts can have a burnt and woody aftertaste that is unpleasant. Dark roasts are also synonymous with bitterness due to prolonged roasting and are undesirable for black coffee.

4. Go For Single-Origin Coffee

Single-origin coffee is coffee that is sourced from one crop, producer, or region. The coffee retains the characteristics (flavors and aromas) that are unique to its source.

Choosing a single-origin coffee allows you to target and accustom to the unique flavors that you desire in your coffee, for example, the fruity and berry tones of Kenyan coffee.

We advise going for single-origin coffee when transitioning to black coffee from coffee with milk/milk substitutes for you to get the purest coffee.

5. Pair The Coffee With A Snack

A good snack not only enhances the flavor of coffee on your palate but can also offset the risk of acid reflux. Snacks can also mask undesirable coffee flavors. Some popular snacks for coffee include natural dark chocolate, bagels, and donuts.

6. Practice Smelling The Coffee

Smelling coffee, like wine, prepares and stimulates your brain before you even take a sip of the drink. Some people opine that the magical aromas of newly ground coffee are what makes them frequent a coffee shop.

7. Add Natural Flavors

Adding natural spices such as cardamom, cinnamon and saffron can level up the flavor of your coffee while delivering the health benefits of these spices. Check what natural spices are available at your favorite cafe and seek assistance when adding them to your coffee.

When adding cardamom and cinnamon at home, grind them and add a pinch to your water before brewing coffee or add them directly to your cup of brewed coffee. When using saffron, add 3-6 threads to your coffee and adjust it to your liking.

8. Look Out For Coffee Rituals

A coffee ritual can take your mind away from the taste of the coffee as your focus is drawn to the interesting details of the ceremony. For example, the Habesha coffee ceremony incorporates fascinating and memorable aspects that bring out a different perspective about the place of coffee in society.

Participating in coffee rituals broadens your knowledge about coffee and you also experience a different culture of drinking coffee.

Look out for cafes that host coffee rituals within your area or in big cities such as Ethiopian cafes and restaurants and enjoy the experience.

2. Broaden Your Coffee Knowledge

Building your coffee knowledge can spur your interest to understand topics such as the types of coffee drinks, decaf vs regular, the history of coffee, and how to make coffee at home. The internet is a gold mine of information and the fact that you are reading this article shows you are well on your way to learning more about coffee.

Make it a habit to try the new coffee drinks that you learn about but in the beginning, stick to the ones that have milk and sweeteners.

Your favorite coffee shop can be a good place to seek clarifications and learn something new about coffee. Be friendly to the baristas, you will be surprised at how much you can learn from them.

A local roastery is a great place to learn about coffee beans, roasting, and flavor profiles.

3. Find Out The Health Benefits Of Coffee

Coffee is rich in antioxidants that help the human body to fight diseases. Coffee is associated with a host of health benefits such as increased alertness, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, and increased athletic performance.

Understanding the benefits of drinking coffee can change your perspective so that you start liking and appreciating coffee.

Consult your physician in the case of a health condition that can be aggravated by drinking coffee such as GERD and caffeine intolerance.

4. Start Making Your Own Coffee At Home

Making your own coffee at home can reduce your monthly spending on coffee. Coffee at home can also accelerate your journey to liking coffee. It also gives you hands-on experience with coffee.

As your passion for coffee grows, you can start roasting your own coffee beans at home for a fresher and higher-quality coffee.

Brewing coffee at home is as easy as making coffee on a stove, making cold brew in a mason jar, or using a coffee maker to brew your coffee. Whichever method you choose, treat it as part of learning but aim to make your best cup of coffee.

Choosing the right coffee beans and using filtered or bottled water are some of the things to remember when making coffee at home.

Experiment with the different recipes for cooking with coffee such as coffee waffles and coffee cocktails for alternative ways to accustom to the coffee flavor.

5. Start A Coffee Routine

A coffee routine can help you accustom to the coffee taste faster when you are committed to getting to like coffee. Drinking coffee in moderation is hailed as equally hydrating as water.

A cup of black coffee before a workout can enhance your focus and energy levels thus helping you to get more out of your workout. A cup of black coffee before your gym workout is also an excellent way to hydrate and build on a coffee routine.

Another way to create a coffee routine is by taking a cup of coffee with a snack in the morning to invigorate and boost your alertness. Avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach as it can trigger acid reflux.

6. Be Patient With Yourself

Allow the taste of coffee to gradually grow on you without rushing into stronger coffee drinks. Coffee is an acquired taste but our clocks to liking it are different.

Best Coffee For First-Time Drinkers

First-time coffee drinkers usually perceive coffee to be too bitter. A latte that is sweetened with your choice of flavors or sugar is the best coffee for first-time drinkers. Cold brew coffee especially nitro cold brew is a great choice for first-time black coffee drinkers.

The amount of milk in a latte is about twice the amount of coffee so it does a good job of softening the coffee.

You can substitute the milk with frothed creamer, heavy cream, or half and half. You can also request that your coffee is brewed with medium roast beans because they yield coffee that has balanced acidity and flavor.

If you prefer chocolate flavor in your coffee, then mocha, which is similar to a latte but is sweetened with chocolate sauce, is a great choice.

For cold coffee, an iced latte is great for first-time drinkers and you can add sweeteners of your choice.

See our article that details how to improve the taste of your cold coffee and make it less bitter.

Black Coffee For Beginners (How To Like Black Coffee)

Black coffee for beginners
A cup of black coffee in a heart shape of coffee beans

Whether you have been drinking coffee with milk/cream or you are a coffee beginner who wants to start drinking black coffee, here are seven tips on how to start enjoying black coffee:

1. Drink A Blonde/Light Roast

Blonde roast coffee is mellow, smoother, and softer than dark roasts. Black coffee from a blonde roast is lighter and brighter than the other roasts. Brewing filtered coffee with a blonde roast such as in Chemex paper filters yields an amazing cuppa that is bright, fruity, and clean.

2. Single-Origin Coffee

A blonde or medium roast single-origin coffee is your best bet, especially, when you are looking for specific flavors in your coffee. Ask the barista or the roastery where you are buying your coffee beans if they have single-origin coffee and compare the special qualities of the different origins.

For example, Kenyan coffee is renowned for its fruity notes whereas Brazilian coffee is ideal when you are looking for creamy chocolate flavors.

3. Use Fresh Coffee Beans

The freshness of coffee beans impacts how water interacts with the coffee grounds when brewing coffee and ultimately influences the flavor of the coffee. As the beans stale, the vibrant flavors disappear and the undesirable woody and bitter notes become more pronounced.

4. Consider Diluting with Water

Black coffee, although not as strong as a shot of espresso, can have a sharp and bitter taste to a coffee beginner. Adding water to dilute the coffee will reduce the acidity and bitter flavors. Alternatively, use a single shot of espresso when making American coffee.

With time, increase the amount of coffee or decrease the amount of water as the taste of the coffee grows on your palate. Always use filtered water or bottled water when brewing coffee.

5. Sweeten The Coffee

Most coffee aficionados prefer their black coffee without sugar. But they did not start out like that: most people start with sweeteners and scale them back over time. Avoid over-sweetening your coffee to avoid prolonging your acclimatization period. Excessive sweeteners can also cause health issues.

6. Add Salt to Reduce Bitterness

Adding a pinch of salt to your coffee neutralizes the acidity and sourness of coffee. Salt also makes black coffee less bitter and enhances the sweetness and smoothness of coffee.

Adding salt to coffee is not a new trick: the Ethiopians have historically added salt to their coffee as a sugar substitute during coffee rituals. Salt offers a great alternative to sweeteners for your coffee especially when you are conscious of the number of calories that you ingest.

Start with a small pinch of salt to avoid over-salting and see how the coffee flavor changes.

7. Try Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is much smoother and naturally sweeter than hot coffee. You may want to try cold brew coffee if you don’t fancy hot coffee or as a hydrating option on the warmer days.

Nitrogen-infused cold brew is naturally sweet and has a pleasant cascading effect that has made it a favorite with coffee beginners and cold brew lovers.

Wrap Up

When you are a beginner at drinking coffee, it is prudent to start with the mild variants (lattes and mocha) of coffee and give yourself time for the coffee taste to grow on your taste buds. Later, you can graduate to black coffee.

Making coffee at home can help you get into a coffee routine and accelerate your steps to liking it. As coffee grows on you, you will start appreciating each cup differently.

Like the famous line in the movie – Caffeinated

“Every cup of coffee tells a story”.

Caffeinated- the Movie

And before you know it, you will be the new coffee snob in town!

Whereas a cup of coffee can provide a number of health benefits including boosting your energy levels you are better off keeping a reasonable consumption of coffee per day to avoid developing a dependency on caffeine. Drinking lots of water when consuming a lot of coffee can minimize the chances of coffee jitters.

FAQs About How to Like Coffee

How Long Does it Take to Like Coffee?

Getting to like coffee can take as little as one week when you start with the ‘softer’ cold brew or milk coffees and gradually progress to black coffee with less milk or no milk at all.

However, you may not want to rush yourself into liking coffee. Instead, learn to enjoy each cup of coffee to experience the uniqueness of its flavors.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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