Each day, 63% of American consumers enjoy at least one cup of coffee. We visit our favorite coffee shops, brew pots for breakfast enjoyment, and savor a cup after dinner. Our day-to-day coffee experiences are a ritual. Some may be more involved than others – but all are a ritual — and all are rooted in the essence of the coffee experience.
To each of us, our daily coffee ritual is something different. I remember my father’s ritual of pouring a cup of coffee and heading to the basement to practice his drums; or the percolator brewing on the stove as we arrived at Grandma’s on Sunday afternoon. This thick, over-percolated coffee would accompany my family’s time as we reconnected with our extended family.
But lately, I think many of us are missing out on something – the opportunity that coffee gives us to slow down and to connect with people. We seem to be focused on grabbing a daily latte or super-sized coffee, and rushing to get to wherever we are going. Our coffee ‘ritual’ consists of having this dark brew on hand to caffeinate us while we answer emails in the local café, drive to work, or rush from meeting to meeting.
Looking back at the history of coffee, coffee is the drink that has caused us to slow down and enjoy (think of conversations had at European coffee houses, the Ethiopian coffee ceremony, or the time spent preparing a Turkish brewed coffee), but lately, we Americans have transformed the ritual of coffee into an on-the-go event. Coffee is now the elixir that is used to move us – quickly – from one spot to another; from one task to the next; from morning to night.
Admittedly, my morning ritual isn’t perfect. I may not frequent a coffee café to grab my coffee and go, but my morning ritual consists of a cup or two (or three) enjoyed in front of my computer answering emails, while the house is quiet. This is my time, and coffee is a part of it, helping me get a jump-start to the day.
But, I could take a bit of slowing down, and enjoying coffee for what it brings to an occasion, rather than how it gets me through an occasion.
I realized this on our recent vacation. We had not been on a relaxing vacation in years, and I made the effort to turn the computer off, and for the most part refrained from answering emails or searching for the latest news to post on Coffee Universe. Instead, I sat with my husband enjoying the morning cup of coffee, at the beach, or on our front porch. Coffee became the centerpiece of the morning, something we enjoyed together, and brought us to conversations. It was not the liquid that fueled me through the morning chaos, instead it was the brew that brought us together in a moment.
Day after day, I sat enjoying the aroma, savoring each sip, and experiencing the moment, without other daily distractions. I didn’t try to over-evaluate the coffee and its quality. It was good, but not excellent in its flavor, Yet, looking back, it satisfied me more than my morning coffee does at home.
It was a morning social experience that I shared with my husband – something we rarely do at home. By the time we’re together in the morning, I’ve already had a cup or two, and the kids are hovering waiting for breakfast.
Too often tea is named as the ‘slow down’ beverage to enjoy. But your true coffee experience is waiting. It is definitely what is brewed in your cup, but it is also who you enjoy it with and where you are enjoying it.
I may longer be on the porch of our rental home in the Florida Keys enjoying my morning cup, but I’m more aware of my daily coffee experience. In fact, I’m striving to enjoy my Vacation Coffee experience right here at home. With that said, please forgive me if I answer your emails a bit later in the day, I’m experiencing a Vacation Coffee moment.