That old idea – if you love something, set it free?
Or how every argument leads to incredible makeup sex. Or how the end of wars sometime bring about celebrations of liberation and peace.
Some will say “I love coffee.” Others will say “I need coffee first.”
Let’s not forget the T-shirts that read “Death before Decaf.” Mugs that read “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” Always adorned by the most charming people.
Every relationship with coffee starts the same way: the thrill of the energy, learning to love the bitter-calm taste, the idea of the morning companion. Then it goes haywire. Then the coffee needs added shots and sugars and flavors. Two cups, three, five. A whole pot before 10 AM and maybe another for the afternoon, just to be safe, I have work to do. Like an addict the dependency is justified outwardly with more and more expensive products: finer beans, trendier shops, better glassware, a filter made from sheep skin.
At some point coffee becomes a crutch. So many of us are crabby and foggy with out it, high strung and irritable with it.
There was this cafe not far from where I used to work that I’d sit in some mornings. Sometimes this crew of developers from one of the nearby tech firms would wander in usually around the same time. One person likely stood up, looked over the wall of their workstation and said something to the next guy and then a moment later a half dozen developers went to go get coffee. Collectively they’d walk over, get their oder, and walk back to their workstations, paper cups full of now-lukewarm caffeine in hand.
They likely each paid 4 or 6 bucks for that coffee. If all they needed was a walk and a cup of something hot, they might have been better off at the 7-11. Every single element that contributes to the romance behind a fine cup of coffee that we pay handsomely for is packaged up, shipped out, and turned into something that it is not.
We all get to this point: allowing ourselves to essentially hate the beauty around coffee and just need to strip it down to the basic elements. Like cutting down a forest to dig up the ore underneath it.
Seeing this, I gave it up.
Not coffee, just the transient nature of my coffee habit.
So I gave it up for a little bit. Not coffee as a whole, just the transient nature of our coffee habits.
No more coffee to-go. No more paper cups with plastic lids and cardboard sleeves. All my travel mugs stay in the cabinet.
Coffee made at the house is made well, with a good source product, in a clean container.
No more shitty break-room coffee.
No more after-thought coffee, or coffee that is part of concessions.
Coffee happens when I have the time to sit with it, to appreciate it and to let it fuel what I am thinking about actively.
Coffee will happen when someone has to perform a damn ceremony to bring it to life – a pour-over, a Chemex, an Aeropress. (And what a wonderfully pretentious sentence that was!)
Every cup of coffee should ideally be enjoyed with others who are also able to slow down and enjoy it with me. If you can’t sit down for 15 minutes with me to enjoy this, then what is the point?
After all, what is the point of elaborately decorated and curated cafes if we’re only going to box it up and basically forget about it?
I can’t tell you how many half-empty paper cups have gone stone-cold in my presence.
So this is a study, a presence.
Already a few that I’ve “gone for coffee” with are startled when I sit down at a table with a ceramic mug. After all, why only take 5 when you could take 15? Hell, why not make it an hour or so and talk about something other than work for a while?
On the weekends we tour a spot in Denver with Fika. It’s a good chance to go somewhere new and try something different. When we started I told Carly that everything we tried with Fika had to be enjoyed in-house, no matter what that house was. Conversations happen. The sometimes-chaotic weekends come to a brief pause.
Best yet, there’s no paper cups to toss away afterward. Everything enjoyed, nothing wasted.