A couple of years ago, I got some news from my doctor that I needed to make some changes. My cholesterol levels were too high and I would need to make some lifestyle changes or go on medication. I elected to try the lifestyle changes first and have been successful in lowering my cholesterol levels through diet and exercise.
But in that process, I learned something else. I’ve learned to find joy in making coffee.
I love a nice, hot cup of coffee in the morning. However, as a busy person with lots to do, I looked for the easiest ways I could get my coffee. I originally landed on a Keurig machine because it is so fast and easy. I also would frequent one of the many locally owned coffee shops in downtown Springfield for a mid-day cup.
One of the dietary changes my doctor recommended was intermittent fasting. Essentially, I have been skipping breakfast and only eat during an 8-hour window each day. This shifted my morning routine. I had been in the habit of making myself a hot breakfast every morning. To help me with the shift, I decided to up my coffee game.
I started by purchasing a french press and a coffee grinder. I conducted a search for the best coffee beans trying several brands before landing on a few of my favorites. I learned what I liked and I learned how to make it the way I liked it. Over time, I upgraded my process to include a temperature controlled kettle and a better grinder. This year, I even added an espresso machine. I purposely chose a good machine, but one that is manually operated. I’ve even expanded into cold brew coffee in the summers.
I have learned a lot about making coffee and I have surprisingly found that I enjoy the process and the result. The result is easy to like. I drink the best coffee I can make every morning and that is a nice benefit. However, the surprising outcome is that I also enjoy the process. There is something fulfilling about doing something the right way, every day.
When I decide to make espresso, I follow the process I have learned from the machine directions and by watching online videos. I preheat the filter. I grind the coffee and carefully dose it into the filter tapping the sides as it grinds to help the grounds settle in. I tamp the grind with the right amount of pressure so that I get the right extraction that I like. I run the machine before I add the filter to get the temperature perfect. When I’m done, I flush the system out, empty my drain pan, and wipe down everything.
It’s quite a process and it seems like it could be a lot of work, but the process gives me joy. Doing something well gives joy. In a world where shortcuts are plentiful, it is easy to get through a day without doing some things really well. As humans, we are hardwired to want to impact the world around us, even in small ways such as making coffee in the morning.
If you are looking for a little more joy in your life, maybe it’s not a big change that you should be making. Find something that you can do really well and do it. Maybe it's making your bed every morning. Maybe it's packing a gourmet lunch. Maybe it’s sending a handwritten note to someone every day. Maybe it’s making something.
Whatever it is, there are opportunities all around you to find joy in the everyday tasks that can be done well.