My Life is My Work

I actually don't drink capps anymore

One of the things I promised myself was to publish this article by the end of the week. Due to how things played out, I didn’t have time to proofread it properly, but I’m sticking to my promise.

For a long time I’ve been using my work as a way to ground myself in reality. To give structure to my days and weeks, help me get up early and get moving. Opening the doors to the shop in many ways meant to me the first step in starting my days. The first hour was a moment to review thoughts, jot things down and prepare for the rest of the day. As I dialled the coffee in and got it to taste just right, I was also dialling myself in. Leaving the shop, I could keep this productivity up, do sports, cook something, read, write, etc…

But on free days, when I didn’t dial coffee in and centered myself on getting up, I tended to feel lost, like I was moving without direction.

Mind you, things only ever got to this point because I absolutely love my work. I’m passionate about what I do day in and day out, sometimes even to my detriment.

It’s not coffee

I know a lot of people start off hating the thing, or drinking it with copious amounts of milk and sugar to mask the taste but still get the caffeine. I guess I was fortunate in that regard, since I never particularly disliked drinking coffee black and never really did consume too much sugar and milk. For the longest time, I neither disliked it nor liked it, but I was always attracted by the ritual surrounding the beverage.

Nowadays, though, if you ask me if I “like” coffee, I’d probably answer that I don’t. At least not what is commonly regarded as coffee. You give me something that isn’t a somewhat fresh crop, fresh (and light) roast, fresh ground, fresh everything, and I’ll probably not manage to drink it. Maybe that means I became a snob. I’ll leave that up to you, I guess. But in the process of becoming a snob, I realized that coffee is much more than just coffee.

Stay Dialled

Every specialty cafe worthy of its name will, before opening the doors to the public each morning, pull some espresso shots, look at the flow, change the grind setting slightly, and taste its product throughout.

This process1 is known as “dialling in.” Every time a new coffee comes into the hopper, variables need to be changed before sliding the cappuccino across the counter. The difference between having the espresso base extracted for 32 and 27 seconds2 is the difference between having the guests drink something bitter and dry, or something sweet, balanced and luxurious.

And then, life happens. You open the doors, people come in slowly at first. You blink and find yourself with five orders standing in front of you. Each of them with their special wishes to accommodate. Each of them expecting just as good of an experience as the guests receive when getting into an empty cafe with an energetic barista who just opened the doors. You have 20 drinks to make, and they better be good.

Coffee and the Pursuit of Excellence

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Coffee.

Over the past few months, this word has taken on an increasingly important role in my life. Those who know me know I’ve always drank the “black” liquid in one form or another. It was at the background of some of the most memorable conversations I’ve had throughout my life.

On “The Way of the Warrior”

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Whenever we try out something we never did before, we learn a few things.

Yesterday (as the time of writing) is when I finished the last edit in the final “The Way of the Warrior” article, just two days before my deadline to publish it. Since even before finishing it, I’ve wanted to write an extra piece on the matter. Nothing about the topic itself, but more about the process of researching, writing and editing. I might make this a tradition for whenever I finish a big series, or I might not. Only time will tell.

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