Staring at the bright light of my computer screen, I have a jolt of realization not caused by coffee beans. It’s 2022, and I have not published a blog article on my site since 2017.
Then I do the math. That’s a whole five years! During that time, I invested a lot into my professional focus on digital marketing. That focus, while beneficial for growing my career, soured my entire perspective on my personal blogging.
My resounding thought on blogging during those years: Why bother? I’m not trying to sell you anything here. I know all about Google’s search algorithms as well as the rise and fall of the same (see this Feb 2022 article from the Toronto Star).
Today I return to typing away to share my thoughts not for the world or some end goal. The endeavor is a selfish one. I have these thoughts buzzing away in my brain and the only way to get them out is to type them up.
Another theme of the last five years for me has been the physical location of my work, and how this relates to my coffee obsession.
While I was freelancing as Nautilus Consulting, I worked from cafes and coffee shops. The environment was social and relaxed. My coffee consumption habits followed suit, with coffee meetings to chat with clients and colleagues as frequent time blocks in my weekly schedule.
Subsequently, I moved into working for one company in one commercial office space. This introduced more boundaries on my day. I grabbed coffee in a to go mug at a coffee shop down the street from my office. I sipped it without thinking while sitting at my desk. By mid-afternoon, a caffeine urge would hit. I relied upon the office Keurig coffee maker for a quick refresh.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything for me, as it did for so many. My company sent us all to work from home. Everything went online. I bought a condo and set up my own home office in the space. I admitted to myself and others that I was more productive, focused, and content in a private (quiet) home office space. It has also been extremely important to me to reduce my time spent driving in my gas-powered Nissan Micra. See my past blog article on the subject, called Commuting for a Career.
This was also an inflection point for my coffee drinking habits. During lockdown after lockdown, my mental health was rooted in the structure and order of my day. And each of those days began with a cup of coffee.
This cup of coffee remains my mental crutch. I have made it into a slow and beautiful process that unfurls like a gentle sunrise.
First, I open my container of coffee beans. If I can, I treat myself to EcoCafe St. Jacobs coffee beans. I allow the fragrance of the coffee beans to waft into my nostrils. My eyes close in contentment. I grind the fresh, delicious beans. The process is quick while the sound of the coffee grinder startles my kitchen into wakefulness.
Then I measure out the coffee grinds into my pour over. The hot water kettle is just about done. The blue light pops off as steam hisses out of the top of the kettle. Taking it into my hands, I carefully rotate over top of the pour over, trickling hot water through the grinds and into the waiting cup. A touch of milk alternative completes the perfect cup.
The first sip in pure bliss. I savor it. Sometimes I say a short prayer of thanks. It starts my day out perfectly – and is a key supporter of my mental health.
Why would I ever want to end such a perfect coffee obsession?
On special days I will use my manual milk frother to create some foam, and perhaps add a little bit of artificial flavouring or honey. This is less common these days with the price of milk rapidly rising due to inflation. I hope to continue documenting some of the experiences and trends I am observing in these strange times. It’s fascinating to look back on them after five years and remember ‘what it was like back then’!
As another side note, I work with a remote team out of Nicaragua. One of my colleagues there recently shared that although one of their major exports to the world is the coffee bean, they do not enjoy premium beans as locals. Instead, they access only the cheapest beans. This shocked me into another kind of realization – the very great privilege that I enjoy in my daily coffee ritual. I hope to reflect more on that in future blog posts.