Disclaimer: I get absolutely no commission or money from any of the companies mentioned in this post.

This post had originally been titled ‘Caffeinated Routines’, but has been renamed to reflect my active decision to introduce coffee into my life. ‘Introduce’ here indicates a desire to have coffee-making as a part of my daily routine at home. I have a special place in my heart for Lebanese coffee:

Enjoyed while reading – on an unexpectedly early finish from work

I have recently signed up for Pact Coffee. It has been one of the few useful discoveries made through Facebook ads. I must say I signed on because they offered a discount for a first-time sign-up – you got the V60 Vario dripper for free (which also comes bundled with 40 coffee filters). My first coffee was a ‘Villaure’ (pronunciation help: Vee-Yah-Oo-Reh), which came with a slim booklet talking about the history and ethics of the company.

Unboxing the first delivery

The informational card about the coffee indicates the darkness of the coffee, flavor notes, sweetness, acidity, mouthfeel, process used, producer, geographic origin, varietal, and altitude. It also includes a quotation from the farmer on their decision of working with Pact. Finally it has a note from Will (the co-founder).

It took me two weeks to deliberate before signing up – it IS quite pricey, especially considering the price of fine brands in supermarkets, or even specialty coffee stores. In the end I had two major selling points:

  1. I could avoid the slightly stressful experience of going to Cardews (more on this later)
  2. They don’t roast the beans in the fires of hell till it only tastes of burnt dreams and desires

It must be a combination of the drip-method, and the type of roast, but this was the first time in ever, where I’ve managed to actually taste the complexity of the coffee. Granted I still can’t get the plum exactly from this coffee (it must be because of the heinously spicy food I prefer), but I can tell the fact that it’s fruity and sweet. The joy – coffee can be flavorful.

Confession: I keep an electric kettle in my room. A host of factors led to this development, none of which are relevant for this particular post, but now I save my joints a great deal of bother from having to inflict stairs on them an extra few times (and every bit helps).

I have finally honed my morning and night-time routines to the point where they serve me perfectly. And recently, coffee has played an important role in this.

0715: wake up, check weather, check if enough podcasts are downloaded for walk to work, brush teeth.

0730: Skype with parents.

0745: Start electric kettle, start getting dressed. The different stages of getting dressed, combing a mess of hair, getting contacts in, ensuring that my bag is ready, all takes place between pours. I completely understand the idea of the meditative practice of the pour over (explored here, for example) and this is my way of doing it. Of course it may not be for everyone. The result is that by the time I’m done getting ready, my coffee is also done.

0800: Drink coffee and read. I will defend this time tooth and nail if challenged. I savor the joys of reading (fiction, always fiction) as my first main activity in the morning. I don’t check my messages, email, or the news until I reach work, and want the first major chuck on material I consume to be something I deeply enjoy. This works out perfectly, because I then follow it up by listening to podcasts on my walk to work.

Now, the reason I say I made the space for coffee is because previously it was occupied by tea. Tea with a deadly amount of sugar. For some reason, instead of going cold-turkey on sugar (which immediately led to a complete disinterest in tea), I decided to explore the world of coffee (without any added sugar). Something I had thus far only peeked into, as a furtive outsider.

This is not to say I’ve abandoned tea. I absolutely love spicy tea (the one pictured is from Greece) and I still drink it to calm down from particularly awful days

My second coffee of the day is taken around 1430 in the afternoon. By this time I’m reaching the stage of complete post-lunch torpor. The act of taking the coffee and cafetiere to the kitchen, the first burst of coffee-smell from the bag, and minute of blind staring at the notice board, and the final pouring heads off the completion of the food coma. This is then drunk slo-ooo-owly while reading articles off my Feedly feed. This accomplishes the purpose of polishing off the last things off my to-do list, and keeping me alert enough to enjoy the walk home.

And there are of course the extra-special days where tea just happens to be involved while spending time with people I love

And now the note on Cardews: I love this shop. They have lovely teas and coffees, and all sorts of useful caffeine-related equipment. Conveniently located in the Oxford Covered Market, they are a good, non-cafe source for everything caffeine. However, I have been frustrated at the slightly (hopefully imagined) judgmental look I get on asking for a lighter roast. With the result that I leave the shop feeling diminished. A disgrace to the coffee consumer’s world. But that is still my experience. I highly recommend the shop – excellent array of products, and knowledgeable staff.

Notes for the environment:

  1. Previously my coffee consumption consisted of buying the occasional coffee from one of the local cafes – often part and parcel with study sessions with friends (many thanks to the Society Cafe, for the style of their seats). The waste from these sessions was low, because no take-away cups were involved. However, rash decisions involving close proximity to the The Missing Bean did result in the sad use of a take-away cup. My trusty travel-mug has always, always been in other bags for these instances. My commitment to coffee-at-home now has resulted in almost no instances of take-away-mugs. Causation? Correlation? Guilt?
  2. My one concern with purchasing drip-coffeemakers has always been filters – you do have to keep buying them, and they do end up in the trash. Recently I’ve tried to recycle the coffee grounds as part of food-waste, something which was thwarted fairly quickly because food-waste recycling has not worked in our house. I will revisit this when I move. It has been successful at work, where I use my cafetiere (a purchase that took entirely too long to happen) and the grounds can be dumped immediately into the food-waste bin. Go SoGE!!

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