This past year I have been incredibly spoiled by my sister and brother-in-law. Inspired by a coffee fueled zip lining weekend last fall, I was given a french press and coffee grinder for an early Christmas present from my brother-in-law. I thought I was in heaven. Then, to add to my relaxation bliss, this past week I was the recipient of a new tea kettle, ( My former one meeting an unfortunate end when I forgot to turn off a burner one morning.) gourmet tea, and a tea mug/infuser in one for my birthday. Thank you family! Both the french press and mug/ infuser are perfect for a single person. The size of these items saves precious space and cuts down on clutter. In addition, the devices allow me to easily prepare single servings of my favorite beverages. What more could an aspiring Minimalist want in the kitchen then space-saving devices that are designed to produce the desired serving size for one person and promote relaxation?
Why Coffee and Tea?
I grew up in a Swedish Lutheran home. If you have never listened to Prairie Home Companion on NPR and are not aware of the basics of Swedish Lutheran culture in the US, I will tell you that coffee is the center of pretty much everything. Every aspect of life presents the opportunity to serve coffee. My dear mom always had a pot of coffee on from our rising to going to bed. Amazingly, caffeine never seemed to affect her. I often saw her drink her last cup of coffee after 10:00 p.m. and then head off to bed. Not that I am recommending this to anyone. Church was the same way. Coffee was always brewed and the adults would drink coffee and eat doughnuts while the kids were in Sunday school. Afterwards, everyone would head up for the church service. I am pretty sure that a Lutheran church gathering without coffee is some kind of heresy. ( So is not serving jello at a pot luck, but that is a story for another day.)
So, as you can see, coffee is culturally part of who I am. As for tea, well I am not sure when I started enjoying a cup of tea in the evening. It was something I acquired later in life. I imagine after many years of watching my favorite British shows I slowly became drawn into the ritual of tea drinking. Now days, I often look forward to lighting a candle and incense, curling up on my couch with the afghan my mom made me, and snuggling with my kitties; a cup of tea close at hand. This ritual has calmed my nerves and soothed my soul on many evenings.
Being Mindful of My Coffee and Tea
While coffee and tea have been in my life for a long time, appreciating these beverages as a practice of mindfulness and relaxation has not. In my youth coffee came in a can and was brewed in a pot to last hours if not all day. Tea was Lipton and no real attention was given to the blend or steep time. I drank many cups of poorly prepared beverages out of habit without taking the time to enjoy the moment.
I Have a changed quite a bit since those days. Coffee and tea are still a part of my life but in a very different way. Several part-time jobs as a barista taught me that making a good cup of coffee is an art. The grind of the coffee, the type of bean, the temperature of milk when making a latte all make a difference. I quickly learned that if making a good cup of coffee is an art so is a good cup of tea. The blend of the tea, water temperature, and the steep time all have a role in making a well brewed cup of tea. I am just beginning to learn about coffees and teas and am by no means an expert. Yet, by becoming aware that making a good cup of coffee or tea is an art I have been able to slow down, enjoy the brewing process, and use my morning and evening ritual of enjoying a warm beverage as a practice in mindfulness and relaxation. Gone are the days of large pots of instant tea and previously ground coffee being mindlessly consumed. .Now I measure, and grind and my coffee and wait patiently for it to be ready to pour. I am focused on what I am doing, and mindful to drink coffee in moderation. . Because coffee can be hard on my stomach, I usually save the pleasure for the weekends as a special way to start my weekend off on a relaxing and enjoyable note. Similarly, I choose my tea blends carefully and enjoy measuring out the tea admiring the different ingredients in the blend. Again, I wait patiently for the tea to steep for the correct amount of time. My tea drinking ritual has become the way I end most evenings letting the events of the day slip away and helping to ensure my mind is relaxed and ready for sleep.
So there you have it. Enjoying a cup of coffee or tea has gradually helped me become more mindful and in the present moment. Who would have guessed?
Are any of you coffee or tea lovers? Do you have daily rituals that have helped you become more mindful? I would love to hear from you!
Until next time,