Single Origins

Caitlin Drinking Coffee in shop
Endless hours buried amongst chemistry textbooks and anatomy and physiology notes are what began my love for the brown peanut sized bean. Love… dependance, same thing really. It was my Sophomore year of college at Portland State University that kicked off the trend. Between 2-3 hours of Volleyball a day, plus weights, 4-5 hours of classes, and trying to have some resemblance of a social life, it meant that my study time had been reserved for the late hours of the evening. With very little energy reserves, and dead lines fast approaching, I meandered down the five flights of library stairs to the small coffee stall servicing the hundreds of diligent students. I ordered a regular American coffee, and upon the first sip, my taste buds immediately punched the black liquid back out. I had heard of this phenomenon before. They say its an ‘acquired taste’, which for me meant adding caramel drizzle, and lots of whipped cream until the coffee taste was no longer required. The Caramel Macchiato become ‘my drink’.
Portland State University Library
You see, my love for coffee didn’t begin in a cute cafe, bustling with energy and good vibes. It started as a necessity, to keep up with the extreme demands of being a full time Division I collegiate athlete. Unfortunately this athlete status, meant the extra whipped cream and caramel topping couldn’t be sustainable (who would’ve thought?!). So little by little, I weaned myself off the mountain of sugar by now only adding a few pumps of vanilla. Voila! The vanilla latte was born.

Chemistry came and went, but Anatomy remained. We were required to memorise and name 206 bones plus their markings, over 650 skeletal muscles, including origins and insertions, their actions on the body, tendons, ligaments, organ systems – the list goes on. This meant more late night library sessions, and you guessed it – more coffee. I knew the vanilla couldn’t last long, so I gradually replaced it with my new favourite substitute, honey.
Fast track a year, and I had transferred Colleges to pursue a dual sport scholarship in beach and indoor volleyball, studying a degree in Kinesiology majoring in rehab science. I had arrived at San Jose State University, and my budding love for coffee had accompanied me there. This new chapter also brought changes to my diet. As I studied more in the areas of physiology and nutrition, my personal menu reflected my newfound knowledge. I cut out most processed foods, and stripped back on dairy. Im not saying there is anything wrong with dairy in moderation, I personally just felt better replacing normal milk with almond milk. By this stage, I would say I was coming into adulthood in terms of coffee maturation. I no longer needed any additives, a simple almond milk latte did the trick.
My almond milk latte followed me back to Australia during Christmas break, which is where my passion for coffee transformed from a necessity to nothing less than a pleasure filled warm hug. Australian cafe culture had captured my heart, and I was determined to do my country proud in continuing this way of life once I headed back. Buzzing with excitement, or perhaps it was the caffeine, I boarded the boeing 747 back to my second home in Northern California, to start my Senior year.
Thanks for having coffee with me,
Caitlin xx
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