The Zen of Morning Rituals: Coffee


What does morning mean to me?  Since I am an optimist, I like to consider that magical transition between dark and daylight as pure ripening potential: a time to open my mind to all the possibilities and new experiences looming on-the-horizon, coming my way for the plucking.

As part of my morning wake up, I typically head for the kitchen to prepare a lively pot of hot coffee; it’s my signal that a new day is underway.   

Over a fresh cup of well-made coffee, I spend a little time in quiet contemplation: I write a bit, set a few goals, and I create a list of my to-dos for the day ahead.   Since I look forward to this special time, my morning coffee has become associated with comfort, anticipation, pleasure, and creativity. 

My coffee making history is also a reflection of an ever-changing lifestyle. For many years the plug-in coffee maker with the drip filter was just fine.  It was during those hectic days that the novelty of a built-in timer became a must-have addition. When espresso makers hit the market I was all over that.  During this period, a favorite called the three-in-one made filter coffee, espresso, and also frothed milk for lattes and cappuccinos.  What could be better?! 

When I lived in Florida, the Cuban influence took over and I got hooked on the simple stove-top aluminum espresso maker.  However, I finally had to admit that a little of this espresso was like drinking jet fuel, that the jolt was rocket propelled, and perhaps more suitable for an afternoon pick-me-up. 
   
This was also a time of serious weather upheavals; we had one wild hurricane after another.  I was in luck.  Armed with the stove-top espresso method and my propane catering stove, I was set and assured of my morning coffee ― under any conditions.    

I’ve always believed the French press was a kinder and gentler way of preparing and enjoying coffee.  In this Zen manner (if that is possible), the coffee beans are not ‘cooked’ over high heat; rather, briskly boiling spring water (preferably) is held briefly to reduce its heat, then a slight amount is poured over the freshly ground beans ― allowing them to expand and bloom.  More very hot water is poured over the ground beans and then allowed to stand for a few minutes to further develop their essential flavors and aroma.  

With that approach to coffee, you can well imagine my reaction.  A small individual portion would surely not suffice.  It was not long before a larger unit was mandatory.  

I have since moved on to an even bigger and better  48 ounce thermal press, plus an electric water kettle ― for the maximum Zen experience. 

Ah, yes, there’s nothing like a fresh cup of coffee to launch my day. 
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