How This Cyclist Went from Hating All Coffee to Loving Black Coffee in 6 Months

This post is sponsored by coffee subscription service, Pact Coffee. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.

Get 10% off the Gran Fondo espresso with discount code: DCFONDO 

I used to hate coffee. Seriously. Even the smell of it I couldn’t stand.

The trouble was, I did find caffeine to be pretty useful – especially if I had an intensive tight deadline to meet. Something that does spring up from time-to-time when you work as a freelancer.

In the past, when I needed a caffeine power-up, I used to drink energy drinks like Red Bull.

I actually quite liked the taste of them, but I knew they were absolutely horrendous for my innards.

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So, a time came in late 2018 where I decided to be a real-grown up and start drinking hot drinks.

Step 1) Make It Less Coffee-y

The biggest issue in my pursuit of coffee enjoyment is that I really can’t emphasise how much I use to dislike the smell and taste of coffee.

In order to make the stuff drinkable, therefore, I had to find a way to make coffee less like coffee.

After asking a few friends, they recommended that I started with something milkier, like a latte.

So I tried a Latte and found it pretty awful. But the taste was improved a smidge by a copious helping of sugar in there too.

My great breakthrough, though, was discovering a coffee machine in Lidl near to where I lived. Why? Because I spotted that it served “Vanilla Latte Macchiato” and I bloomin’ love all things vanilla (custard, Milkybar and white chocolate and raspberry Nuii ice cream FTW).

So, Vanilla Latte in hand (with another scoop of sugar), I pottered back to my apartment and for the first time in my life, I had enjoyed coffee!

Step 2) Stripping Back

The trouble was, a Vanilla Latte with sugar was far from good for me – which was basically the point of this caffeinated journey, after all.  It contained over 200 calories – almost double that found in Red Bull, the unhealthy drink I was trying to move away from.

So, after adjusting my palette to sugary Vanilla Lattes for a couple of weeks, project “Strip Back” commenced.

The first part of this mission involved reducing the amount of sugar I was adding to my – admittedly – already sweet Vanilla Lattes. This wasn’t too difficult and in just a few servings I was down to no added sugar.

Obviously though, a shot of vanilla syrup was not going to be sustainable for the long term and so it was then time to go to “plain old Lattes”. The removal of the vanilla took the Latte down from around 180 calories to 140, but I did have to return to sugar for a little while as I broke my tongue into this new bitter-y world.

But again, my tastes adapted. After weening myself off sugar sachets, my enjoyment for the general flavour of the Latte was increasing with every serving.

Step 3) Climbing the Coffee Ladder

With my tastes quickly adapting to the coffee flavour, I decided to push on and continue my journey. Next came the mildly healthier Cappuccino – which was a pretty easy step.  But then I took the plunge… black coffee with milk (or “café con leche”, as I was in Spain at this point).

By this stage, I was drinking coffee out of enjoyment – as well as for efficiency.

For the final step of my “coffee transformation”, I had to reach the holy grail of enjoying black coffee – no sugar, no milk, no nothing.

Surprisingly, the final step was the easiest.

Again, I weened myself of coffee with milk and after just a couple of tries, I started enjoying black coffee. Just six months after hating coffee, I was enjoying the hard stuff.

Americanos and espressos are now part of my daily routine. Indeed, I don’t just drink them, I thoroughly enjoy them.

I’m even reaching peak cyclist/coffee/hipster levels as I start to explore the different types of beans and roasts available.

My current favourite is the cycling-inspired Gran Fondo Espresso from coffee subscription service, Pact Coffee. The Gran Fondo is a punchy dark espresso with hints of raisins and dark chocolate. It’s lush.

While I’m no competitive cyclist, I do love the buzz of commuting by bike after guzzling down my morning coffee. I seem to experience the ride a lot more and certainly shave a minute or two of my ride.

The Gran Fondo was actually created in tandem with 2018 Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas.

Like me – and doubtless most people – Geraint admitted that his early coffee experiences weren’t based on love of the flavour, “Initially it was like you first few pints of beer. You couldn’t stand the taste but you threw it down because you knew it was the right thing to do. The next thing you know, you’re hooked. Give it a few more years and you’re an our and out coffee snob.”

Ahead of his collaboration with Pact, Geraint also revealed that his love for coffee really grew when he moved to Italy and discovered “proper coffee espressos and cappuccinos”. Now he loves “dark roasts and traditional Italian-style strong tastes” – hence the inspiration for Gran Fondo.

Get 10% off the Gran Fondo espresso with discount code: DCFONDO 

Discerning Cyclist has teamed up with Pact Coffee to offer you 10% off the limited edition Gran Fondo Espresso and Filter. Simply use exclusive code “DCFONDO” at the checkout to claim your 10% discount. Offer expires 31/10/2020.

Pete Reynolds

Pete is the co-founder and editor of Discerning Cyclist. He commutes by bike daily from his home to his co-working space. Originally from Wirral, UK, Pete now lives in Spain. When visiting a new city, Pete loves nothing more than to explore it on two wheels. See Pete's Muck Rack profile

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If you're a fan of Discerning Cyclist and would like to support us (and help us get our caffeine hit), you can do so by buying us a coffee via the link below. Cheers!



IMPORTANT NOTE: Coffee funds may be converted into beers funds on Fridays.

If you're a fan of Discerning Cyclist and would like to support us (and help us get our caffeine hit), you can do so by buying us a coffee via the link below. Cheers!



IMPORTANT NOTE: Coffee funds may be converted into beers funds on Fridays.