For three years I was a professional earlier riser, caffeine addict and coffee brewer. The girl with coffee grounds wedged under her fingernails and the scent of French Roast following her around like unwanted perfume. Measure. Grind. Brew. Pour. Repeat. I could fill a 5-kilo roasting machine with reasons why I loved serving coffee. First because it gave me (my only) edge. Lydia… legal drug dealer. Second because I coveted coffee as an art. There was always something to study or to master. But mostly I loved the long hours, poor pay and barista milk burns for one reason. I saw how easily 12 ounces could light up someone’s world.
Most of us brave a daily routine with bustle and crowds. Amid long waits and uncomfortably packed spaces one can easily feel anonymous. Insecurity exacerbates feelings of smallness. Some of us end up shuffling through days feeling entirely forgotten or alone. As a barista I realized coffee wasn’t the only way to make customers happy. It was more significant to make people feel heard. Measure. Grind. Brew. Pour. LISTEN. Repeat. My theory was that even on your most abysmal day, when you found yourself doing the depressed Charlie Brown trudge all the way to get coffee, if someone engaged you as a friend and handed you the perfect drink before your mouth formed an order, well then your day would have to defy all laws of physics to continue being abysmal. It just would.
These days I brew coffee for one instead of one thousand. There’s no shuttles, no carafes. Just my small, three-button machine and a single cracked cup. However modest the operation, for me brewing coffee is always a celebration. And not just the welcome home parade I always throw for caffeine. Coffee brings people together. It inspires happiness. Twelve ounces can light up someone’s whole world remember? Even the darkest roast. Even on the gloomiest day.
“If I go anywhere, and I don’t have my coffee, I don’t drink coffee. When I travel, I carry it with me – and I ask hotels to grind it and brew it for me if I can’t have it in my room myself.”