Patti Maciesz of Craft Coffee spends her days with the sommeliers of coffee, digging through the country’s top beans to uncover the best hidden gems. The views expressed herein are hers and hers alone.
For the most part when people think about life-changing morning rituals, things like jogging, meditation, and a well-balanced breakfast come to mind. All great things: exercise, discipline, and nourishment.
But for me, wellness comes in a surprising form: Taking the time to enjoying a cup of coffee every morning.
To be clear, I’m not talking about just “having” a cup of coffee. I’m talking a serious "kick back and indulge" moment.
Like most people, the idea of “free time” and "morning” don’t go together so well. In my case it often feels like a hilarious obstacle course: ten minutes to get out the door and twenty things to do. Sound familiar?
So I’ll be honest, adjusting my morning “ritual”—if one can call the series of chaotic events between getting out of bed and out the front door something so lofty—didn’t come easily. Like most rituals it evolved slowly, starting with some small changes. Setting the alarm 20 minutes earlier, limiting myself to only three snooze cycles, and yes—allowing myself to be five minutes late sometimes.
I start the day by choosing one of the quality varieties I keep on hand. I hand-grind the beans just before brewing. I forgo the traditional Mr. Coffee machine for a Chemex, a beautiful hourglass shaped glass brewer (no electronics required). The whole process is simple, and beautiful, and only five minutes to make, and five minutes to enjoy. But somehow, those collective 10 minutes have brought me the kind of peace and satisfaction self-help books try to sell.
When I tell people about working at Craft Coffee, I can’t help but go beyond the quality of the beans we select. To be honest, as lovely as the coffees are, I’m probably most grateful for finally being able to enjoy something I always took for granted. How many other things are out there waiting to be discovered, delved into, and truly appreciated?
Coffee is one of those strange things that touches our lives every day (how else would you stay awake?) but somehow manages to slip by largely unnoticed. I certainly didn’t put much thought into where my coffee came from, how it was produced, or even how it tasted. Sure, I cared about where my kale came from and how organic my apples are, but coffee? It conveniently delivered milk, sugar, and caffeine—what more could I expect?
It all started last summer, when I was invited to attend a coffee tasting with a new company, Craft Coffee. At the time, I had no idea that it was even possible to deeply explore “tasting” coffee—I secretly just hoped that some kind of muffins would be involved.
Instead what I found were a group of young men, the company's evaluation team, hard at work. I was completely mesmerized by their ritual: weighing beans, pouring multiple varieties into small glass tumblers, noisily slurping coffee out of spoons, and taking detailed notes on the smells and flavors each beans imparted on their taste buds. I had never seen anything like it. And I had certainly never tasted anything like the coffee they were serving.
I timidly asked questions like “What did you put in here?” and “Wait, there really isn’t any sugar in this?” Their patient explanations were a blur and I did a lot of nodding and smiling trying to imitate their thoughtful grimaces as they tasted each coffee on the table.
I walked away that day with a simple kernel of an idea: A cup of coffee doesn’t have to taste only like coffee—it takes on as much rich flavor and personality as the beans that make it. Each batch of beans is unique, and—depending on where they were grown, processed, and roasted—each variety tastes very different. Most importantly, coffee could be incredibly delicious. For the true coffee lover, this may all seem so obvious. But for me, it was a revelation.
The next day, I called the Craft Coffee team to schedule another tasting and learn more. Soon after, I would join their team full-time and to this day I continue to unlock the potential of coffee on a daily basis. But I don’t do that part at work. I do it at home, every morning, and enjoy it deeply.
Do you take time to do something special for yourself every morning? Have you tried to change your morning routine for the better? Share your experiences in the comments below!