By Kevin Jiang
Nothing gets up me in the morning like the smell of coffee. That delicious scent, dark and rich; a deep roasted aroma. To me, it is the smell of comfort, a warm reminder that “Hey, the day is going to be OK”. It’s what drives me to class in the mornings and gives that extra power boost in the afternoons. But hold up. Before you say I am addicted to coffee, let me affirm that I can stop drinking coffee whenever I want; I just have no desire to do so.
Coffee is my morning ritual. I don’t make it from some auto-brew coffee machine or the infernal Keurig (which are absolutely terrible for the environment, not to mention expensive), nor do I buy it from some overpriced coffee shop. I actually hand brew my coffee myself, either via a pour over or a French press (which I will explain in detail later). In the mornings, before my mind has the opportunity to fully comprehend my dreaded wakefulness, I trudge over to the kettle and heat up some water. I wait for the familiar thrum of the water heating before grabbing the beans. As I open the bag, the scented waft of the beans hits me hard, like cold water to the face. In an instant, I feel more alert and ready. I scoop out some whole beans into my hand-grinder. I begin churning, feeling the coffee beans crushing with each loop. As I crank, it is as if I am winding myself up for the day ahead. Then grabbing my machine of choice (either the pour over* or French press**), I begin the extraction. I pour a bit of water over the beans and allow them to “bloom***” for 30 seconds. A burst of scents—floral, earthy, and rich—flies up with the steam. I then pour in the rest of my water and wait patiently for my cup of bliss.
For me, this ritual is a physical way to signal that I am ready for the day. I interact with my coffee in every step, and allow myself the time to craft each cup. I may have to wake up earlier to do so, but each minute of lost sleep is worth it. My ritual is sensational; it involves all my senses: the sound of the coffee dripping into my cup, the aromatic smell that fills the room, the sight of the deep brown cup I consider my good friend, the heat of the filled cup in my hand, and the rich taste that enraptures me as I slowly sip my creation. I am slowly awoken, transitioning from the wondrous, peaceful sleep world into the stressful chaos of the waking world.
Do you have any morning rituals?
*A pour over is usually a ceramic inverted cone that works like a normal drip coffee. A filter paper is used to hold the grounds, and coffee is poured over it and allowed to drip into a cup. A pour over gives more clarity and uses a medium grind.
**A French press is a larger glass container, fitted with a stainless steel mesh. Water is poured over the beans and allowed to steep for around 4-6 minutes. The mesh is then slowly pressed down to the bottom that brings the grounds with it. A French press is high in body and uses a course grind.
***Blooming allows the beans to release carbon dioxide.
Featured image by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash
Kevin is a sophomore studying Neuroscience, and is considering picking up a Computer Science minor. He is a born and raised San Diegan and loves the Southern Californian weather and atmosphere. As a swimmer and water polo player, as well as a frequent beach goer, he enjoys being near water. Kevin also enjoys modern art, cooking, but most importantly eating GOOD FOOD (Which LA has a ton of)! Like most people, Kevin enjoys traveling and experiencing the history and culture of other nations.