Last week I talked about how to get started drinking coffee when you can’t stand the taste. Here’s part two!

Okay, so you’ve found a drink you like or at least can stand. Now what?

Well, now you dial down the sugar and dial up the coffee. There’s a few ways to do this; one way is to order your drink with an extra shot of espresso, or with a pump or two less flavoring. Another way is to switch drinks — as a rule of thumb, coffee drinks that are lighter on calories are usually more coffee-flavored. Remember, you can always ask your barista for recommendations.

The last step of the process is usually to step away from lattes, mochas, and blended drinks and actually drinking regular coffee. This is the hardest step and if you never get to this point, that’s fine. I personally prefer lattes to regular coffee a lot of the time, and I never drink my coffee black. But if you’re having trouble being able to finish a cup of “regular joe”, here’s a few pointers:

Crappy coffee is not gonna help. Neither will coffee that’s too dark (I’m looking at you, French Roast). The Pike Place Roast they usually brew at Starbucks is decent, but if you really want to taste some good coffee, find a Starbucks with a Clover machine and ask the barista for a recommendation off their Reserve menu. This will be more expensive than a plain coffee but often cheaper than a froufrou latte. Or find a local coffeeshop that does pourovers, cold brews, French presses or the like, and try that.

Don’t assume that loading it up with sugar and cream is the answer. I find that going nuts on the sugar just results in a drink that’s too sweet to drink. Sweeten in moderation — and always start with less sugar than you think you need. You can add more if you want to. Another option is “classic syrup”, which adds the sweetness without adding any particular flavor. I get my Clover brewed coffees with two pumps of classic syrup and I find that’s just right for me

Experiment, experiment, experiment. The closer you get to plain black coffee the cheaper the drinks tend to be, so don’t be afraid to order something new. Ask baristas for opinions. Try new brewing methods. Try making it at home.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you “should” like. Everything I say here is just a recommendation. Only you can know what you like. Many people swear by McDonalds coffee, or Dunkin Donuts. If you like it, drink it, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong. Just because I encourage you to try new things doesn’t mean the things you already like aren’t good enough!

And there you have it: my method for learning to drink coffee. Got questions? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter!