Meet Joe Black, coffee edition.

I am a wannebe coffee purist. I like my coffee with cream and just a smidge of honey, which I consider to be a major accomplishment since I began with guzzling down caramel fraps. I like soy lattes. And cold brew with milk is bae. But drinking coffee straight up black? I’ve never really done it.

Today was the fateful day, and I walked into Dapper & Wise Roasters with slight apprehension. Dapper & Wise is probably the only upscale coffee shop in the west side (around the Beaverton/Tanasbourne area). They take coffee brewing seriously; it’s an art of crafting beautiful brews that bless the palate. The drip coffees offered are all created by the pour-over method, which to a coffee newbie like me just looks like a dignified science experiment that can be ingested. After chatting with the sweet barista behind the counter, I learned that the pour-over method allows the maker to have control over the process, like heating the water to the right temperature and preparing everything fresh with newly-ground beans and whatnot.

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The space appeared quite dapper indeed, adorned with minimalist decor and glossy wooden tables. The atmosphere carried a laid-back, tranquil feel. I picked the Ethiopia blend because it sounded tropical and exotic (“notes of pineapple and mango”), and the barista brought it over in a large steaming mug.

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First sip: What.

Second sip: I feel like I’m not sitting on a beach.

Third sip: Ohhh now I dig it. (The taste became bolder and less acidic.)

Sixth sip: I cannot drink out of this mug without embarrassing myself by spilling some coffee down the side.

Twelfth sip: *casts furtive glance at counter in hopes of spying half-and-half

Fourteenth sip: gets up and meekly asks for creamer

Sixteenth sip: downs the rest like a shot (“I think I failed at this”)

So I managed to drink coffee black…more or less. It definitely did not taste like death–but nor was it the best coffee I’ve ever had. Still, I appreciate the difference in quality I can taste when I’m faced with its black, fathomless depths. The flavor is clearer and it’s easier to tell it apart from other blends. Cheers to you, coffee purists. Wish I could be as cool as y’all.

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