A friend's coffee maker was found non-functional this morning. That means different things to each of us. For me, it's time to go to the backup. We have Keurig as primary but keep a Cuisinart in the closet...just in case. We also have Starbucks Via on hand...just in case. And a French press, with ground coffee in the freezer...just in case...and teas, in case I get really desperate.
Fortunately, there are also three coffee shops within a twelve minute walk, six if I jog it. There's also a Wendy's, who serves coffee, and a Minute Mart who offers a coffee facsimile, if the situation is dire.
Yes, coffee and I share a mature relationship. Although friends at one point thought that I'd been born suckling coffee, I didn't take it up until I was in my twenties and in the military. As I ~ shudder ~ AGED, I found a little caffeine on the midnight shifts helped stay awake and breathing. I wasn't particular. Sanka instant was available. Nuke some water, shovel a few spoons in, stir. Good enough. Or the day shift had left some in the 30 cup coffee urn. Heat it up, I'll drink it, or there was some cold stuff remaining in a carafe.
In essence, I was a coffee scavenger, going brew to brew, consuming whatever was available. A pivot point came. Pivot points are always educational moments when your attitude or direction changes. You eat steak for years then one day enjoy a well prepared prime cut. Suddenly your taste buds sit up, startled, inquiring, what's this? A legacy organic tomato comes onto your plate after years of hothouse tomatoes. Romaine replaces iceberg. Craft beers replace American lagers and Pinot Noirs replace Boonesfarm and Mad Dog 20-20.
Like an educated mind, an educated palate creates that pivot point. You become more thoughtful and aware of the nuances. What once passed as acceptable becomes scorned.
Tasting a good cup of coffee opened me up to what was really out there. I bought a coffee maker and a grinder for my home. I added an espresso machine. Did it all at home, sampling beans and roasts, storing them, trying them, refining my preferences. Making and drinking coffee became a ritual. Like wines, beers, cheeses and fruits, I found certain roasts go better with different foods, and could be dependent upon the time of day.
I was hooked.
It became known as so at my offices. I always had a cup close by and passed judgement on what was brewed. My coffee drinking at work grew legendary. I liked arriving early so I could make it 'right'. When we moved into new locations, co-workers suggested that lines be connected to the break room so I could have an IV drip from the coffee pot to my arm.
Yet, priorities pass on to other matters. Rituals consume time and I needed time for other requirements. Coffee makers and roasters were also becoming more refined and sophisticated. I moved from maker to maker until...along came the Keurig.
At first, I dismissed the Keurig with contempt. Coffee premeasured in a cup? Bah, what good could it be? Friends and relatives swore by them. My wife wanted one. She thought it would be convenient. The words cut me; had I fallen so low in my coffee consumption that convenience was my greatest measure?
But...convenience is nice.
We bought the Keurig and tried different roasts and providers via the K-cups. I had a K-cup whereby I could make my own and did so. Meanwhile, I found Newman's extra bold French roast.
Along came some northwest French bold.
Ah, there we go. Now we were cooking. The Keurig and I became friends.
It's worked out well with the Keurig. I have my small collection of preferred roasts for different times. My wife, who prefers coffee flavored water, has her K-cups, and we can offer guests a variety at will. There is still a ritual but it's much easier, easily incorporated with other morning rituals of powering up the computers, feeding the cats, opening the back door to confirm the world is still there and sipping a glass of hot water (yes, it's another morning ritual). The rituals are routines, freeing me to slip into my meditations and drift toward the daily writing and the works in progress and the tall masts of new ideas rising up over my imagination's horizons.
The ritual is a pivot point embraced each day. As it passes, the day really begins.