Alarm sounds. I jump out of bed, make my way over to my phone, a trick I have employed for years now after I got too used to snoozing when it sat by my bed. I walk, zombie-style, towards the door of my room, make my way to the kitchen, and flick the switch on my machine. The green light glows and I wait to hear if the pump draws water from the tank - just in case the water is low and the element doesn't come on. I've been burnt before.
6:33amBack in bed. Social media crawl. Look through the snapchats from friends and strangers over night. A couple of latte art pics, a cool snapchat story from European Coffee Trip. Flick through Insta, reply to some YouTube comments, probably watch Casey Neistat for some inspiration.. the usuals.
Second alarm. The coffee machine is ready. I head back out of bed, and go through the usual routine. Grind. Dose. Weigh. Distribute. Tamp. Extract. Texture. Pour. I could do these things with my eyes closed. Hey, half the time I probably DO. Suddenly, I've had my first cup of coffee, without much of a thought. It tastes good. Hell, it tastes great. I think to myself that I have specialty coffee every morning, as good as any cafe in Perth. Suddenly it dawns on me how much I take this morning ritual for granted.
So it's epiphany/existential crisis time, as I start to think about the fact that I have created hundreds of videos, trying to help people understand and appreciate coffee more, and here I am downing cups of coffee every morning like it ain't no thang. When specialty coffee is standard, is it still special? If you were to have put this coffee in front of me five years ago, I would have been excited, perplexed by the intricate flavours. Now? "Hmm, tastes a bit over.."
Now, I'm not saying that every time we drink a coffee, we have to write a five hundred word essay on the symbiotic relationship between first world coffee drinkers and third world coffee farmers. For one there's no way you could do that topic justice with five hundred words. But for years I have championed terms like 'ritual' and 'routine' in coffee making - after all who doesn't want to make great coffee every time? But what happens when great becomes standard? In a way, does it make great less great than it actually is? I'd argue that it does.
So, how am I going to recalibrate? Well, I'm certainly not going to start drinking bad coffee. That would be one way to make me appreciate the good stuff. Instead, I think I am going to change my habits, brew coffee differently more often, and change my routine. I am going to stop making coffee the first thing I do every day. Or maybe after a week I will come to appreciate that my morning cup is the reason I can attack the day, and I will have another type of appreciation for my morning Joe.
This week, I have put a bit of time in to practising the infamous 'empty heart' - made famous by @tensai0421 on instagram. I remember when I first discovered this pattern, I went through litres of milk, trying to replicate the look of the final art. I produced a video at the time, pouring the coffee the way I thought it was poured, and although that technique was ultimately not the way it was done, it is a technique I have used to rework some classics. You can watch that original video here: The reason the empty heart...