“What’s your Coffee Story???” By Eric CBB
I’m sure the majority of coffee drinkers have a memorable moment that forever transformed them into a coffee lover. My story goes back to my earlier days in the Navy. Anyone who has been in the military, knows someone who was, or is currently serving understands that some workdays and nights are long. The mission comes first and doing whatever it takes to get the job done is the priority. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some of the best military professionals to ever wear the uniform, so no complaints from me about working long hours. Now, that doesn’t mean we were superhuman and didn’t get tired, it just means that on really long days most of us needed a strong cup of coffee to make it through.
Back then (95/96), energy drinks weren’t a thing yet, so the go-to caffeine drink was coffee. I served on aircraft carriers most of my career and I can remember having an old school two pot brewer in our work center. Our Chief Petty Officer was a coffee addict. I truly believed that if he accidentally cut himself, he would bleed coffee. No joke! So it was imperative that the first order of business each day was to make sure that we had fresh coffee made for the Chief. Following that ritual everyday especially while on deployment is where the fondness of brewing coffee began. If I remember correctly, we received our coffee from the Supply department on the ship once every two weeks. Our coffee ration was based on the number of people we had in the work center. Our work center was one of four work centers in our division. Our division was one of five divisions in our department, and the department had a total of about 350 personnel. (Just a little background info…)
Getting back to the coffee… Each work center sent a person to pick up coffee and supplies (filter, cups, powdered creamer, sugar, etc.) on your designated pickup day. I recall receiving coffee in two types of containers. The first was in a gallon-sized rectangular aluminum container, and the other was a large silver vacuum-sealed bag. Both marked with “COFFEE” on the side. Please don’t ask me when it was packaged, if there was an expiration date, or any other informational data. All I can remember is that it said “Coffee”, and that’s all the Chief cared about. Of course, only the proven few were allowed to brew coffee for the work center. Without even knowing it, I learned about coffee to water ratio and temperature control. That was life as I knew it for several years as far as coffee was concerned, then something life-changing happened. Enter “STARBUCKS COFFEE”.
I remember in the late 90’s & early 2000, Starbucks coffee began to replace the mystery “COFFEE” we were drinking. As the Navy improved the quality of life environment on the ships you began to see the installation of small cafes onboard that served Starbucks coffee. Get this… Starbucks sent trainers to the ship to teach the crew serving the coffee on how to make the drinks the Starbucks way. How cool is that!!! That was my moment… The integration of Starbucks Coffee on base and the ship was my first introduction to specialty coffee and I wanted to learn more. I actively sought out coffee shops in different countries while on deployment and back at home looking for new coffee experiences. For as long as I can remember in my adult life (mostly in the military) the beginning of each day began with coffee. Every production meeting, gathering, or social event attended coffee was somewhere in the vicinity bringing people together. Learning, collaborating, and building a community.
As I write this, I have multiple tangents I would like to go on about my coffee experiences, but I’ll stop here. I expect I’ll circle back around to those (sea) stories in the future, but that’s my coffee story (the short version anyway). That’s how I met and began to grow with coffee. What’s your coffee story? We want to know… Click the forum tab, join our community, and share your story.