Mornings. One of the most controversial times of the day. There are the lovers and the haters. The cheerleaders and the opponents. Whether you wake up in a flurry of energy, or you hit snooze for 30 minutes, we imagine everyone appreciates a morning without deadlines that you can just enjoy. No where to run to, no where to be, just your own time. Not the case most mornings, is it? It's the small rituals we can create to take back a few moments of that joy on a daily basis that help ground us.
Taking the time to enjoy a warm beverage made just to our specifications is like a slow, warm hug that reminds us to stop for a beat. Tea or coffee have become the most popular worldwide choices. Coffee is a relatively new drink compared to tea, by more than a few centuries, and has become just as much a part of our morning ritual culture. In fact, it really has created a culture of it's own. The best roasts, the best way to brew, the tools, the taste, the technique.
A big debate is what is better, coffee at home or coffee out? Incomparable some may say! Apples and oranges. Folgers and Fernwood. They are two totally different beasts. Maybe so. (It also probably depends on how apt you are at concocting a delicious home brew!)
Being at home gives you the option to create your own sanctuary. You might even have a breakfast nook, a special chair, or a few choice pillows near a window that allow you to wake up slowly as you sip your morning brew. The current coffee trends in home brewing have taken us beyond the coffee maker and into precise steps that have been more commonly in the hands of baristas. Hand grinding the perfect amount for your cup makes you appreciate the scents of the beans, the freshness of the grinds. Using a pour over, chemex, areopress, even a french press, involve you in every step to ensure you're getting a quality cup.You can't just flick a switch and come back an hour later. You are connected to the process. You are mindful of every step and from that a gratitude for what comes of it develops. And why not take the time to do it right? Especially if you only get one cup a day. Why not choose an ethically sourced and perfectly roasted bean that will satisfy your craving and make you feel good about your morning? What a lovely way to set yourself up for the day.
Going to a café is a totally different experience. Coffee becomes a destination. There is anticipation built up as you make the drive or walk to the front door of your favourite java source. As you cross the threshold, your senses are assaulted with the hum of other patrons, the whir of the espresso machines, and the smells. The thick wafts of a dark roast carried on steam, like a caffeine sauna. Maybe the sweetness of a freshly baked good or two hangs in the air. And somehow, it always smells just right.
As is still the way now, historically coffee houses became a popular place for people of any socio-economic status to sit and simultaneously enjoy a hot beverage and a stimulating conversation. In the corner of any given cafe you can likely find a few suit clad office workers deep in a meeting. A lone student with earbuds in, textbooks and papers strewn across their table, seemingly lulled into focus by the activity around them. A first date. A last date. The start of a business, a friendship, the next biggest thing. Coffee shops are hubs for news, intellect, emotion, and creativity.
Choosing your favourite spots can be hard. It could depend on your mood. Do you want an environment that is buzzing, that lights you up and surges through you? Or somewhere you can find a quiet window seat and watch strangers walk by in peace? Or your preference could be seasonal. On Salt Spring, our favourite winter coffee spot is Café Talia. A tiny white building a few minutes away with eclectic furniture and excellent treats. When the breeze warms and the morning sun lasts all day, across the street the doors to the Perch open. We love toting our re-useable cup over to grab a fresh cup of Mt. Maxwell Coffee and enjoying it as we watch the sun skim the harbour. In Victoria, Discovery Coffee (that incidentally got our owner Jessica through the long hours of photography school with their Tidal Thief blend) is the spot we are most looking forward to frequenting more when we arrive for our new location. Thankfully we'll be neighbours!
The nice thing is that there doesn't need to be a winner in this debate. We can like both and mix it up daily if we feel like it. We know it's more economical to make it at home, but it's also a nice treat to gift ourselves a special brew once in awhile.
Regardless of where you do it, it is something to look forward to every day. Something that slows you down before it speeds you up. Stopping to take those comforting sips allows us a few moments of mindful thought to find what we are grateful for and set intentions for our day, or just to slow down long enough to give our mind a rest (and to not burn ourselves!). Cheers to slow mornings and good coffee.