Okay, today is the day. It’s the day I start drinking my coffee black. Because black coffee is healthy and so am I. No more Aspartame. Goodbye, rich creamers. So long, spoons full of sugar.  

At my local coffee shop I say “Medium drip coffee please. No cream, no sugar, no room.” I do not ask for a vanilla latte with the cute little foam art. I do not order a mystical creature coffee creation. Just a cup of coffee. An ol’ cuppa joe.

I am chic. I am uncomplicated. I am a minimalist. I drink my coffee black.

I expect the barista to smile at me — a smile that I assume he reserves for those in the “know,” those who choose to drink their coffee without the superfluous addition of sweetness — but he simply looks at me and says “two fifty.”

Note to self: Black coffee is not cheaper than non-black coffee. But no matter, I did it! The order is half the battle, right? Now, I wait.

My order comes up fast and I grab my coffee with pride. I walk past the station with the sugar and cream. I manage to only cry a little. I step outside into the fresh air, I take a picture of my hand holding my cup at the most flattering angle, I take a sip and…THIS IS DISGUSTING.

Did they mess it up? Is this the sludge from the back of the coffee maker? Is this what coffee actually tastes like? 

I can’t do this. I need coffee. I cannot function without coffee, but I cannot drink whatever this is. I am a broken shadow of a woman that once was.

That is, until genius strikes. Genius by the name of Jennifer who works in marketing down the hall. Jennifer keeps organic stevia at her desk — she assures me it is the solution to all my coffee woes. I ask all of the questions: Zero calories? Check. Zero glycemic? Check. Zero chemicals? Check. Jennifer is my new best friend.  

Who says you have to drink your coffee black anyway?