Coffee is a popular beverage in Minnesota.  Can you say Caribou?  There are just over 300 Caribou coffee shops in Minnesota and approximately 70,000 coffee shops overall in the U.S.

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So, do you remember the first time you tried coffee?  That was one of the discussions during the holiday with my family.  It started with, “why is there ONE beverage that’s consumed all throughout the entire US, and much of the world?”

Photo by Brooks O'Brian Cappuccino
Photo by Brooks O'Brian
Cappuccino
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Seriously, out of all the beverages out there why is there one stand-out beverage in the midst of so many beverages?  Sure, tea is up there too, but in the United States it doesn’t eclipse coffee consumption.  So that lead to the question of, “do you remember the first time you tried it?”

Photo by Brooks O'Brian Pour Over Coffee
Photo by Brooks O'Brian
Pour Over Coffee
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For me it’s not the first time that I drank coffee that stands out, I don’t actually remember that. But instead, it’s the first time that I had a shot of espresso.  I remember it being at the Minnesota State Fair, of all places.  My friend told me about a vendor that had incredible espresso shots.

I didn’t even know what espresso was, he had to explain it.  But that moment stands out for me. I tried it and I remember loving it.  But it's not the flavor I actually remember. It reminds me of a fun day spent at the Minnesota State Fair with friends.  I don’t remember any other part of that day at the State Fair, but that moment in time is like a movie in my mind.

Photo by Brooks O'Brian Latte art
Photo by Brooks O'Brian
Latte art
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My brother clearly remembers the feeling and taste.  It gave him a stomach ache, and it tasted bad.  He was certain he’d never drink it again.  Today he owns an expensive espresso machine, buys coffee beans from all over the world and visits local coffee shops on all his vacations.  Again, more experiences that are creating memorable moments.

Photo by Brooks O'Brian Espresso Machine
Photo by Brooks O'Brian
Espresso Machine
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His wife remembers fondly that when she was around 8 years old, growing up in St. Cloud, her Grandma would let her have sips of coffee with dessert.   So she doesn’t much remember the flavor, but instead the experience. Getting to drink coffee with Grandma every time they ate dessert made a little girl feel all grown-up.

Photo by Brooks O'Brian Latte
Photo by Brooks O'Brian
Latte
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My brother-in-law used to work in Northern Minnesota cutting trees.  Thinning the forest was something they did in an effort to reduce risk of forest fires.  He was in his 30’s and it was during one of these work trips that he tried his first cup of coffee.  He didn’t like it at all.  Yet to this day he still remembers the experience.  Not to mention that now he's a discerning coffee drinker with all the tools of the trade to make  what he now believes is a delicious cup of coffee.

Photo by Unsplash
Photo by Unsplash
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It is often said that when you're gone no one will remember the salary you made or your fancy title.  But they will remember how you made them feel and your experiences with them.  Seems it's much the same with coffee.

Maybe this holiday season you can brew a nice hot cup of coffee and drink it with those you love before heading off to create another memorable experience.

Coffee shops to try HERE and HERE.

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