I've never been one for getting up early, I've tried and failed many times (don't worry this isn't the same old 'i don't function before my coffee' story). It was always a source of stress to be flushed from my warm and comfortable bed as my alarm, obnoxiously named 'Bright Morning', went off. However, recently I don't mind the jingle and I get out of bed early and easily, I make a pot of coffee and start my day rather than being pulled into it. I won't say what time, because to my now WFH friends in the tech industry, I don't want to boast about the moral superiority of rising early, and to my friends with young children I dont want to brag about how much I can sleep in.
My intention is to say coffee has played many roles in our life, maybe it was first thing you did when you arrived at the office or provided a reason to break away in the early afternoon to reset for minute, and maybe now it plays a completely different roll. Maybe, as in my case, it's the anchor that maintains a morning ritual that I respect and cherish. Maybe it's a small bit of normalcy in a very abnormal world.
We are being asked to do things that seem innately unhuman. The things that fulfill us and make us happy are the very things that we are being asked to avoid in order to protect ourselves. Sitting face to face, exchanging ideas and troubles in a vulnerable manner is now done behind a mask, eliminating our greatest born tool for expression. Coming together as a group, potentially even melding multiple groups together and seeing the almost limitless potential of human to human interaction is on pause.
There are tremendous forces at play that both push and pull us apart, and create an unavoidable feeling of loneliness. But if we reflect for a minute, we might see that this epidemic of loneliness has been bubbling under the surface for sometime. Maybe we comforted ourselves with thinking that it was a choice, similar to the feeling of seeing your friend's bacon cheese burger show up to the table next to the cobb salad you responsibly ordered in anticipation of a terrifying bathing suit outing in the near future. Maybe now, when the opportunity returns, we'll appreciate the chance to be close to one another, to be a part of the community. It's a story as old as time, the grass is always greener on the other side.
I doubt that a coffee roaster’s blog, where he finds himself having gone so far off the rails of his original intent to plug a whiskey barrel aged coffee that he's now considering professional assistance to evaluate his mental fitness, is the proper place to examine such deep and difficult issues. So I'll attempt to bring this to a swift and encouraging close.
As I've seen it, a fight against a common enemy is often the strongest force to bring us together. This common enemy takes many forms in June of 2020: systemic racism, a pandemic, a malaise that has settled over us, etc. It's not really a question of whether we'll emerge from all of this, we will. But the nature of our actions and virtues of our intentions will define us as individuals and communities, and determine if we've truly won or truly lost.
So what am I going to do? Not entirely sure. I'll have to borrow a quote from Dr. Seuss here, 'When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.' The one thing that I will do with certainty is wake up early tomorrow, grab a coffee, and enjoy a moment of quiet before I start the day. I encourage you to do the same.
Please buy barrel aged coffee,