I hate coffee.  I’ve hated coffee for a long time.  I decided that if you need lots of milk and sugar to make something taste good, that means it probably doesn’t taste good.   I feel the same about chocolate.
Several months ago, I tried some dark chocolate at a flea market in Brooklyn somewhere.  Up until this point, the only dark chocolate I’ve had is the typical Hershey’s Dark Chocolate.  Now that I think about it, it was Hershey’s that caused me to completely write-off chocolate in the first place!  Anyway, this Brooklyn dark chocolate was a whole ‘nother world.  In my mind, I went back and forth about 5 times, between labeling this an Amazing Ambrosia or a Bitter Blight!   In the end, I decided that it was simply complex and amazing.   Looking back, I think that seeded the idea that maybe all is not lost with coffee either.
When it comes to alcohol, I’m a light weight.  After one drink, I’m just calm and lazy.  After two, I just want to go home and do nothing.  After three, who knows, but I feel pretty horrible the next day.  I have yet to find video of me after 3!  While trying to figure out how to modify this effect, I decided to try and drink some coffee before a big night out.  I never drink coffee, so even a little will leave me wired.  I decided espresso would be the way to go, so I could just down it in a shot, get it over with, and move on to 3+ drinks!  This introduced me to espresso. It bitter and nasty, but I thought it might have some potential.  I found a thread on egullet for some recommendations in my neighborhood.  I reached for a sugar packet for my first “real” espresso.  When I poured the packet into the espresso, the sugar crystals just sat on top of the guiness-like “crema” and didn’t submerge without some stirring.   Everything was a bit sweet, but I think that had to do with the ratio of the smaller portion size to the packet of sugar (I learned is called a “ristretto”).  I came back the next day and had an espresso again with no sugar.  Queue the O Fortuna! After the shot went down, there was an after taste of brown sugar.  None of the bitterness I normally associate with coffee, even though I didn’t put any sugar in it.  On top of all that, it’s only 1-2 calories!
And so the espresso hobby begins.  I’ve been all over the city trying all the great coffee places.  There are a decent number of them, but I am apparently very picky and can notice the lack of consistency at many of these places.  Depending on who is on shift, the coffee quality/bitterness can vary significantly.  I always thought this stuff was automated enough to eliminate that kind of variation.  Apparently not espresso.  There are all sorts of variables that the barista has control over. Another thing is that even though I like really good coffee, I hate coffee houses!  If the atmosphere were more like a bar, I might like it.  An espresso is a really small drink. (which I like, because it makes me feel like a giant when I drink it from the really small cup!)  When I finish it, I hate having to go back to the counter to order another. Wait in line, then sit back down for 20 seconds.  I’m also not really into the skater/new-age/hippie vibe at these places. If it were like a bar, I could just nod in the direction of the bartender/barista for another round.   I haven’t seen a place like that, and in any case, there isn’t one near my place.  On to home options..
I’ve found the enthusiast forums, have the knowledge basics and am moving forward with a grinder and espresso machine.  The grinder is here and it is pretty serious.

I also found a coffee blend at the corner store that is well regarded by the coffee enthusiast.  I can’t wait for my machine to get here!  I chose a relatively inexpensive one and if I upgrade some day, I’ll have a better idea of what features are important to me (As opposed to getting the monster espresso machine right up front)   Hearken the new hobby!  Of course there will be plenty of photos and maybe video.