I believe "instant coffee" has ruined us. The thought of a quick k-cup or a Starbucks drive thru can be tempting and appealing, but the ideal behind these is one of impatience and adds to the common misbelief that I am too busy to slow down and take the time to make a good cup of coffee.
The idea of anything being instant has caused a shift in the way we as humans perceive things. After all, this tends to be the generation of "instant gratification." From instant coffee to instant messaging, we move from one thing to another and we expect immediate reward or fulfillment.
We speed through life, filling our days with different tasks that need to be done. Our ever-growing to-do lists are never done. And with that, often times a cup of coffee is something that gets placed on a to-do list, as if it is something that needs to be checked off once it is completed.
Recently, after feeling the weight of a long list of to-dos and struggling with a lack of instantaneous results, I forced myself to slow down and make a cup of coffee.
I'm not talking about an instant cup of coffee where you press a button and walk away. I'm taking about a classic, thoughtful pour over. There are multiple steps to the process of making pour over coffee, and each step is vital to the process.
First, you have to pick the perfect coffee bean. Not every bean or coffee grind is good in a pour over, so your coffee beans are an important step. Part of the beauty of this step is also the miniature cultural experience you may have. Picking an international bean or an exotic blend is almost a guarantee, seeing as some of the best coffee comes from across the globe. Even though it is sad to say, often times that package of beans is the closest someone may get to ever actually experiencing that culture in person.
Next, you have to grind the beans. This is a step many prefer to bypass by purchasing coffee grinds instead of coffee beans. But in doing so, the coffee loses much of its oils and dries out in the process. For those of you who know coffee, you have seen the oils swirling at the surface of a fresh pour over and have tasted the smooth warmth with each sip. Even grinding the beans the night before so as not to wake sleeping family members in the morning can take away from the smooth taste. But who needs an alarm clock when you have a coffee connoisseur in the house.
Once the beans have been ground, you are ready to pour. But first, you have to rinse the filter. Pouring hot water through the filter washes out any paper residue, seals the filter in place, and warms the brewer. Skip this step, and your coffee may taste grainy or be cold. Next, you add in your coffee grinds. Even here, the small details are important. The size and amount of coffee grinds can make or break your cup of coffee. Once the filter and the grinds are in place, you are finally ready to pour.
Each pour of the process is a small lesson in patience. One must pour in slow and steady spirals to keep things even. And the water to coffee ratio is key. Too much water produces a weak cup of coffee, not enough water may make your cup bitter and sour.
This is the process I went through on Friday morning of a long week. I intentionally let myself be late to work, all for this process of making a good cup of coffee. Too much in my life had been fast paced, rushed, and unfulfilling.
But this cup of coffee made me believe in the fulfilling peace of patience throughout a slow process.
I felt an immediate sense of peace once the process was done. I had worked hard for that cup of coffee, putting in extra time that I thought I didn't have. And every sip was a reward for slowing down.