Of Coffee, Style and Meaning. Let the important take over the urgent
I have been thinking about coffee lately. Well, I always think about coffee. The daily presence of coffee is both a routine and a powerful experience, illuminating what we value and appreciate as well as what we are unintentionally missing out on.
After 20 years in the US, the coffee on-the-go cup still remains culturally alien to me. I understand that sometimes you are in a hurry, and you need the caffeine, and taking it on the go is the way to go. But it has created an ethos, a way of living, a way of experiencing. You have to have coffee for caffeine intake purposes. It is instrumental.
If you have been to Italy you might have noticed that Italians go into a café, order an espresso, a macchiato, or a cappuccino (always before lunch), and they have it mostly al banco (standing up at the bar) – that is, they stop. It may only be 2 minutes between the barista making it and the person drinking it. And coffee is served in real cups – not non-recycling or compostable disposable cups, just real ones. They come, they drink, they leave.
Coffeehouses which position themselves as having a product of high quality (of substance and sophistication! as opposed to those watered down and over hot coffees) have made a point to “dress” their coffees with nice and genuine cups. Because they know that it takes the coffee to a different level. You stop to savor it, the spoon makes noise against the ceramic. You appreciate the details, the pleasure of the taste and the beauty of the cup convey a more meaningful experience. It all comes together. It is not just on the go; it stays with you.
Think about it. Really. Picture that coffee in your mind. Recall the feeling. It is a comprehensive experience, aligned inside and out, aesthetic as much as chemical. So much more powerful.
Yes, this is about SUBSTANCE AND STYLE.
How so? People have to dress – it’s like one’s daily caffeine intake (for most people, anyway, allow me the analogy). You can do it instrumentally, on the go. Or you can let the important take precedent over the urgent - and dress truly and beautifully in a way that aligns with your flavor, exalts your meaning, gives you confidence, and invites people to really appreciate who you are and what you are about.