My Journey into Specialty Coffee (part 1)

· 3 Tips to Help YOU Take the First Step! ·

June 6, 2017 12 Comments

From Maxwell House to the Coffee House

In honor of my 100th blog post, I wanted to give you, my readers something special. Content that would help you and hopefully deepen your interest in the brewing process. I realize many of you reading this are very happy with your morning Folgers, K-cup or french vanilla. A few years ago, I was too – that is where the story begins.

My very first cup of coffee was Taster’s Choice. You know, the granulated coffee that dissolves in hot water? I added a tablespoon of Coffeemate creamer and sugar. It was the perfect first cup of the morning.

Taster's choice

Taster’s Choice

As I got older I wanted my coffee to be special, so one day I walked into my first specialty coffee shop. Wow – the menu was daunting!

Specialty Coffee is well prepared, freshly roasted & properly brewed.

When your only coffee experience has been heating water and adding a tablespoon of coffee granuals, how do you know what to order??? I thought about what I drank at home….I liked my coffee creamy and sweet. I saw picture of a latte on the menu board – it looked similar to my morning coffee. Then I saw almond syrup on the menu, yum! That almond latte was my first specialty coffee and it was delicious! For years, this was my go-to drink.

One visit, while waiting for my latte, I noticed the barista ground the coffee before brewing …..hmmmmm. Should I grind my coffee? It made sense to me why you would grind the coffee first. I knew it would make the coffee taste fresher, but do I want to take the time to do this at home? I decided to give it a try, and this was my first step towards specialty coffee at home!

Grind and Brew

Christmas 4 years ago

I asked for a Cuisinart Grind and Brew for Christmas. This coffee maker grinds your beans and then brews the coffee, all with ONE push of a button! This seemed easy enough and made me feel confident in the transition from buying pre-ground at the grocery store to buying beans at the coffee shop. This first step was super easy and my morning coffee actually tasted much better than the coffee granuals I had been mixing with hot water, lol.

This experience wet my appetite for better coffee! Taking a risk in my comfortable coffee routine wasn’t so bad after all. But how did I go from grinding my beans to where I am now? One drink at a time. Coffee brings a level of comfort to all of us. We don’t want to change and I get that.

Comfort and coffee go hand in hand. #thecappuccinotraveler Click To Tweet

My journey has taken years, small steps at a time.  I remembered the first time using a french press- I was terrified! I wondered, “Will this actually work? There are so many steps. This was so far from a push of a button!” My first french press at home was a mess! It was too strong and there were coffee grinds in my cup; and let me tell you,  I didn’t touch it again for a week! One afternoon, I decided to try it again and this time it turned out great! Each step I took gave me more confidence to try something else .

Ready for some easy tips to help YOU take your first steps towards specialty coffee at home?

  1. Buy distilled or purified water. This first step will greatly improve the taste of your coffee.
  2. Look into coffee grinders. You can purchase one for as little as $10.
  3. Purchase a bag of coffee beans and grind them per the manual. Try this for your afternoon cup.

So now maybe you’re ready to step out and try………Little did I know that each step I took as the years passed would lead me to where I am today, a third wave coffee nerd, lol! But I will save the rest of that story for next week in part 2 and I hope you will be reading!


[amazon_link asins=’B000BRLXUI,B000VTP45Q,B000T9XPHC’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’cappuccinotra-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8d0f638e-4a04-11e7-a05e-9104a4b4c5c6′]

PIN ME for Later


  1. Reply


    June 6, 2017

    I have come a long way with my coffee tastes too. I do grind my own beans each morning, but use a coffee maker during the week. Weekends are for French Press or Pour overs at home. When I go to a specialty coffee shop, I stay away from flavored syrups and go for a strong brewed coffee or pour over. Fun fact: My husband and I want to open a coffee shop in Dallas in a few years!

    • Reply

      June 6, 2017

      That is a fun fact – I love Dallas! You have come along way and stay tuned for part 2 when things get more technical and nerdy – lol! Thanks much for reading!!!

    • Reply


      June 20, 2017

      He girlie this is Christy I love coffee more now then I use to. I used to just drink maxwell house. Now I drink different brands, and flavers. Never realize how good it is till now. Thanks for all the tips.

  2. Reply


    June 6, 2017

    Congrats on your 100th post! My own coffee story is a long one. I got the taste of it as a very young child (4-7) while living in Panama. Out maid would give my sister and I coffee with lots of milk and sugar. Back in the U.S. I drank folgers, etc. When I went to college in California, my coffee world expanded and I learned to love truly great coffee, further reinforced by living in Europe where the coffee is just amazeballs! Your coffee journey continues and we lucky readers get to follow along!

    • Reply

      June 6, 2017

      Thanks so much Andi and thanks for reading!

  3. Reply


    June 6, 2017

    This is so interesting and helpful to me! I too grew up on instant coffee and have grown in my tastes and preferences. I am a mostly an espresso girl but I am wanting to try new drinks and new methods. Your blog has “wet my appetite” to explore more and given me the confidence I needed! Thanks!! 🙂

  4. Reply

    Kristin Cook

    June 6, 2017

    I use the 12-cup grinder you linked above. I love buying local coffee, but I often can’t afford it, and when that’s the case, I buy either Peet’s French Roast, Eight O’ Clock French Roast, or Seattle’s Best. I buy all of these in whole bean and grind my own. I just grind every few days though. I think I do about 5 days worth at the time. When I am making more money, I plan on going pretty much all local, but that’s just not something I can do right now. Plus, I actually really do like Peet’s 🙂
    Good post! It was good hearing part of your journey!

    • Reply

      June 7, 2017

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  5. Reply

    Kendel | Little Misadventures

    June 7, 2017

    Oh, I LOVE specialty coffee! My favourite is still a pretty ‘standard coffee’ though. Flat white with an extra shot, vanilla shot, and soy milk. You know, just to be annoying haha. I haven’t tried making my own coffees at home yet, but I definitely want to give it a shot!

    • Reply

      June 7, 2017

      Thanks for the comment, I love hearing others stories. 🙂

  6. Reply

    Shannon Caustin

    June 28, 2017

    I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 7 years old. It’s in my blood! I’ve come to realize that I’m a little different than most coffee drinkers. Though I can easily identify good coffee and greatly appreciate it, I also can enjoy just about any cup of coffee as long as it’s not too sweet. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to live close to some incredible specialty coffee shops and I’ve had a chance to try some great places. I’m excited to continue my journey to find my perfect coffee.

  7. Reply


    October 3, 2017

    Oh my goodness! Lol, we started off with a cuisnart grind and brew too many years ago. And in the past year we have slowly graduated to a burr grind system, and are working our way toward a new brewing system (Bonavita).

    But I can relate so much with this post! It has been such a fun journey learning about different ways to make coffee, coffee notes, and everything else that before following The Cappuccino Traveler I never knew existed!