The hotter the water, the more difficult to get through, the better the taste and the richer the rise!
As I was sitting in my favorite coffee house, Kitamu Coffee, on an early Friday evening watching TED Talks and contemplating the idea of pure joy and that moment of unfettered elation, I eavesdropped on a conversation/training taking place behind the counter regarding the techniques to make the best cup of coffee. I sat listening in amazement as the wisdom flowed from that conversation into my atmosphere.
The coffee expert, also potentially known as a coffee sommelier or maybe a coffelier, imparted his knowledge to the waiting ears of those in attendance and I remember he made these statements. The coffelier said that the key to great coffee is the concept of extraction. The act of the flavor moving from the grounds to the water as it is passing through on its way to the cup. Now there are key steps to making this happen. They are critical to giving your customers full and rich flavor.
First, the temperature of the water must be hot enough to begin the process. Water that hasn’t gone through the stress of being heated is not going to help you. It must be hot, close to boiling to bring out the flavor of the coffee beans. Water that is too cold will derail the extraction reaction and create a mild tasting water that is satisfying to no one. Therefore, we must raise the temperature and excite that water so that it will draw out the flavor.
Second, the coffelier said that the grounds must be fine enough to resist the water passing through too quickly. This will provide the time needed to allow the heated water to extract the flavor making it a richer more flavorful coffee. Therefore, we must break down the coffee bean to the perfect size. The size to where it provides the correct resistance to the water. If the water goes through it too fast, the extraction of flavor will be minimal. The water must be slowed as it moves through the grounds. This resistance to the water’s movement is critical. This what allows it to extract more flavor and transform into that amazing cup of coffee.
Wow! This isn’t just about coffee. This is about life. Allow me a few liberties as I expound on this.
Consider us the water. We often seek to be tepid. We are Goldilocks searching for the porridge that isn’t too hot, isn’t too cold, but just lukewarm. We don’t particularly like it when the heat is on in our lives. When in a heated excitable state, we experience the excitement of feeling alive and fully engaged, yet we seek the perceived safety of tepidness. Why? Simply, it’s comfortable and requires very little of us. Yet, this tepidness leads to a lack of flavor and a less than rich experience for us and those we were meant to touch with our gifts and lives.
The other aspect of why we resist the heat, weariness. I know I definitely feel this one. We are consistently battling distraction and negativity within and without that we are just tired. We allow this weariness to steal our joy, our purpose, our life and we wish to be anesthetized to give us a break. Yet, it may never provide this break, but increase the feeling of weariness. Again, this break is only a path to being tepid. We must be stronger than our situations by getting above them and having a greater perspective of who we are and what our purpose is for our lives. Engage in allowing our gifts and purpose to heat the water of our being so that we may unlock the flavors waiting to enrich and transform our experiences and how we impact others.
Next, consider the struggle of life and the rewards within it (joy, connection, happiness, peacefulness, fulfillment, etc) to be the flavor trapped in the coffee grounds. Once we are heated, excited, and ready to charge forward with our uniqueness and our gifts to fulfill our purpose, we will experience resistance! It has to happen. Count on it happening. Not as a means of evil, but as a means to get the BEST flavor! There will be those that wish evil upon you by giving you resistance. They want to see it break you or take you away from your purpose. However, it is also meant for good. It is the ramp that ignites your RISE and provides your being and life with EXCEPTIONAL FLAVOR!
I love this and hate it at the same time. Life has to be a challenge. Why? Because numbness and tepidness is the only other recourse. Ease brings about complacency and complacency comes to collect – not just a figurative collection or one of material goods, but it comes to collect us and our very purpose.
So what does all this mean? It means we have to EMBRACE THE STRUGGLE! Through this struggle and resistance, we will find the joy that life has for us. I close with two quotes.
“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” (Vince Lombardi)
“Nothing that is ever worthwhile is easy. Remember that.” (unknown)