Coffee = love/hate/confusion ;)

As I sit to write this blog it's just after 10pm, and I am just through the door after a day down in Glasgow, followed by a tapas night out with some friends back in Inverness. I left at 7.30am, so it's been another epic one… But epically fun it must be said! 🙂

I have also been out for both lunch and dinner with some of the most wonderful people in my life. So I am not only incredibly full, but incredibly thankful.

But yesterday's post was about joy.

Today's will be about something far more serious.

Seriously… 😉


I have a longstanding and seriously confused love/hate relationship with coffee.


I love the smell. Yet I dislike the taste… But I really wish I loved the taste.

For about the past decade I have been trying to like coffee. I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. I study there. I meet young people there. I mentor there. I read there. I plug into the free wifi there. I chat to folk there.

I'm just a coffee-shop-kind-of-girl.

But yet, I frustratingly just don't like coffee.

It feels like I should. Because I love the smell so much. And because I talk about meeting people 'for coffee', or going 'for coffee'… (Going 'for tea' doesn't quite have the same ring to it…)

Some friends of mine work in a coffee shop and they once spent a whole day trying to find a kind of coffee that I could/would drink and could/would enjoy. After about 6 attempts, we finally discovered that if I had just a half shot mocha with some other strong flavouring like caramel in it… I could just about cope. But as that's 1) hardly any coffee, 2) doesn't taste like coffee and 3) contains about 4000 calories a cup… I soon gave up on that idea.

But semi-frequently… I take a little foray into the coffee tasting world again… You know, just in case my taste-buds have developed subconsciously or something.

Today was one of those days.

I was pretty tired by the time I hit Stirling services, and thought that some caffeine might be needed to support my morning meeting. However, I didn't really have time to go into the main cafe area, so I just made my way to the take-out Costa stand in the fuel station. And the take-out Costa machine didn't have a tea option.

So I got a Vanilla Latte.

Because it was too early for Hot Chocolate. And a latte's mainly milk, right?


This is me drinking my first mouthfuls of Vanilla Latte…

Ok, ok… I'm kidding (a bit…)

Today there was definite progress.

I might not have totally been sold on the taste… But I persevered and drank the whole thing. And it got better (or I got more used to it) as I carried on drinking. And… It wasn't unpleasant. I mean, it wasn't tea, don't get me wrong… But I would definitely consider Vanilla-Latte-ing it again on an early morning drive.

And who knows, (stares dreamily into space...) maybe one day I will become the avid coffee conisour I dream of being…

So why am I telling you this?

Well, I was thinking on my drive to and from Glasgow… That sometimes evangelism feels a little bit like my experience with coffee.

It does.

Because I do really love talking about Jesus. I do love sharing testimony. I do love the metaphorical smell of it. But my impatient human nature naturally wants everyone to be able to enjoy the strongest espresso shot of faith on the first conversation.

And sometimes that happens.

But a lot of time it's a journey a little bit more like my coffee one.

At least with my friends.

You start off with some gentle testimony, wrapped in story and covered with the sweet actions of genuine love. You move onto finding some common ground, building relationship, trying out flavours in the form of questions and wrestlings with the issues that matter.

And then the journey takes place.

Sometimes people seem so close to discovering they love Jesus for themselves, but then they retreat back. Sometimes it feels like there's no hope. Sometimes you have those Vanilla-latte-days where some serious progress is made. Often it goes backwards and forwards.

And I was just simply contemplating on my drive, that I'm so glad we are just called to be the vessels. We are called to be faithful in loving those who are lost, and faithful in sharing our testimony, and faithful in being unashamed of Jesus… But Holy Spirit is the one who works on hearts.

And just like I really do feel that one day in the future, my long persevering journey with coffee-enjoyment will bear some really great fruit… I guess I also know that when we are faithful in the long persevering journey of sharing faith and loving others, Holy Spirit will bring about the lasting fruit of eternal value.

He has. He is. He does. He will.

That simple thought encouraged me to pray for people with every sip of my Vanilla-Latte today. Maybe that's why I finished the whole thing!? 😉

Oh, and I'm sitting here right now in my pyjamas, drinking the biggest mug of Lady Grey tea I could make… Just as an extra special treat… 😉



4 thoughts on “Coffee = love/hate/confusion ;)

  1. OK, I’m going to try to restrain the coffee-geek in me, but I can’t promise anything. Anywho,

    I used to be in your shoes, I drank coffee for the caffeine and just tried to mask the taste with milk and sugar. It was weird, because I also liked the smell of coffee–or at least of coffee grounds–but drinking coffee… not so much.

    But I gradually got used to the taste, especially if it was ‘proper’ coffee (i.e. made in a cafetière) and went along more or less content. Until that day… Oh, that day!

    Long story short, 2nd year of Bible college I had some new flat mates. One of them owned an espresso machine, and the other was a coffee genius (don’t get me wrong, the first dude also had some moves!) The result was beautiful. Like, actually, genuinely, literally beautiful.

    My point is this: a properly made espresso is the coffee taste sensation you’re after. The colour, the smell, and the taste are all in full accord, striking a singular note of sheer awesome!

    So, you should try espresso. But, wait! Don’t. I repeat, DO NOT ask for an espresso at Starbucks, Costa or even “we have award winning espresso” Nero. If you do, it will almost certainly suck! Trust me, I’ve tried. It’s tragic. It really is. They have all this awesome equipment and then they train their baristas how to not use it. It’s painful to watch.

    However, if you are in London (where actually are you?) then there are plenty of awesome coffee shops full of baristas who actually enjoy serving people good coffee. Harris & Hoole in Southgate is one such shop, and the only coffee chain I know which makes decent espresso. You can normally tell whether you’re in for a decent coffee if they’ve written down that day’s ‘recipe’ on a board somewhere.

    Anywho, this is getting longer than your post, so I’ll finish my rant. Needless to say, a vanilla latte is not the way to go! You’re drinking vanilla-flavoured milk with some caffeine in it. I understand why you’d do that at a service station. It masks the flavour of the butchered espresso, wallowing in anguish at the bottom of your cup. But in order to actually experience beautiful coffee taste you need to go to a coffee shop where they understand the importance of stuff like extraction time.

    1. Wow! That is truly the longest and most comprehensive coffee advice I may have ever received! Thank you 😉

      Ok, as I type I am taking the MASSIVE leap of ordering myself an espresso from a coffee shop meeting all your requirements (Which in Inverness is a tall ask I tell you!)… My friends are not convinced this is going to work, so I have an audience (including the tentatively waiting barista… Haha!)

      And for one week only, I am still in the far North of Scotland… Then things get a little more confusing. I finish work this week, I’m back in Devon/Somerset for Christmas, then in Sheffield/Midlands until the New Year, then based in Glasgow/Edinburgh for a couple of weeks at Bible College… I’m basically becoming nomadic until I fly out to Japan at the end of January 🙂

      So, any coffee shop recommendations are welcome!

      P.S. I just drank my first espresso. The barista actually cheered. I feel like I have passed some kind of initiation in the global coffee-club… And you were right… Better than a latte! 😉
      However, I am now going back to a pot of Earl Grey tea. Old habits die hard.

  2. Wow, you are more nomadic than me! Good work on trying the espresso, and I can forgive Earl Grey drinking–I’m also a fan of that (that took a lot of work by an ex-boss: he worked me through from a Lady Grey/Yorkshire blend).

    Sadly I don’t know much about coffee places in Scotland or Sheffield. But let me know if you find anywhere good (^_^)

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