Modern life makes it very easy for us to live without really thinking. I rely on technology for much of my existence, and I’m mostly ok with that. But recently I’ve realised it was time to claw back some parts of my life – to make them more simple and authentic. Right now, it feels important to live more thoughtfully.
Eye-roll, if you will. I promise I’m not preaching at you – I just want to inspire you.
Recently I’ve transformed the way I make coffee. What used to be a quick, mundane process, is now a daily ritual that’s both satisfying and engaging.
Let’s rewind a few years: when we first bought a Nespresso machine, it felt like a revelation. Good coffee, with no mess or expertise needed. I happily made my daily coffees like this for a couple of years. We never recycled our pods. Somehow it was always easier to just throw them in the bin – out of sight, out of mind.
But recently, the guilt set in. I know the coffee pod manufacturers are keen to point out that lots of their pods are recyclable. But for me, that wasn’t the point. I felt bad about the fact that they’d even been made in the first place. There’s this huge industry in place, manufacturing and then recycling these little pods – and it’s all just so I can make a cup of coffee without getting my hands dirty.
And that just feels plain wrong.
So we have retired our machine (which was on its last legs anyway) and we’ve gone old-school. We are now the proud owners of a La Pavoni machine. It was made by old men in Italy and it’s very simple. There’s a boiler and a handle to carefully press down to make your espresso – and a steamer to heat your milk.
Getting the hang of it has been a challenge. But that challenge has been good for me. Every morning I take 5 minutes out of my day to grind beans, to gently press down the lever for just the right length of time. Each time I have a little competition with myself to see how good a crema I can get (still not there yet). I then sit and drink it. It’s good, complex and authentic. Every cup is a bit different, depending on my mood. I’m still learning. And what a great thing that is. You can’t say that about a coffee pod.
And the mess? I can’t deny that my worktop now has a permanent coating of coffee grounds. But in a way I find the mess quite satisfying. I sprinkle my coffee grounds in the garden, or put them straight in the compost. It’s simple, honest and authentic.
I know this sounds clichéd, but ditching the coffee pods has been a great exercise in mindfulness. Concentrating on small, physical tasks is great way be relaxed and mindful. Taking time out to make proper coffee feeds the senses – the sounds, smells and taste. It’s therapeutic, focused and thoughtful.
I could say it’s a mini meditation in a cup, but I might be going a little far. What do you think?
If you’re interested in knowing more about our coffee machine it’s a La Pavoni, bought for us as a present by my father-in-law. Thanks for coffee inspiration John!