Monthly Archives: November 2017

You say “coffee” I say “ritual”

The story I tell myself is that I’m not one of these folks that can bound out of bed like Tigger and be ready to face the day. I prefer some solace, some reflection, some coffee time. The daily ritual I’ve allowed myself is the grinding of coffee beans for the preferred method of brewing for the day; there’s my Chemex, my French press and my Braun electric drip. What determines which brewing method I use at any time? Your guess is as good as mine.

Not long ago I had a minor tantrum in a hotel which sparked the revelation that I need a traveling coffee service. I wrote about this in a post about coffee dweebdom

Some things have changed since that post but some things have not.

Recently, I needed to travel for a job and as I was traveling via airlines, I didn’t want to carry my coffee rig with me. This was a choice.

Most every hotel has them now, the in-room coffee maker/service. This machine sits forlornly on a tray among some sanitary wrapped paper cups along with something that was once coffee in some sort of pre-measured container accompanied by various manners of packets of sugar, creamer and perhaps some stir sticks, sippy lids and maybe even some cardboard sleeves.

Dear reader, if you prefer your coffee with additives beyond coffee beans and water, I’ll submit that you are in fact not a coffee fan.

I made a choice to use the in room coffee service. My routine was thrown for a loop. There was no grinding of the beans – I should mention that this is a new twist in my coffee rig and traveling coffee ritual – there was no heating of the water, no steeping of the coffee grounds in my Aeropress.

Dump some water into the reservoir filled with who knows what sort of living organisms, install a coffee pod, place a paper cup under the spout and press play and wait.

Oh, the waiting is the hardest part.

Change is good.

Changing things up adds a twist to the day and a new element for your brain to chew on.

Do you put your coat on the same way every time? Do you put one arm in first every time? How about your pants? Do you put the same leg in first every time?

I bet you do.

How about brushing your teeth, use the same hand/arm combo? Granted this activity is different than donning clothes, however, the concept is the same.

Put your coat on with the other arm first! Throw caution to the wind and put your pants on with your other leg first. Fumble around with your other hand/arm and brush your teeth, feel like a beginner again.

I’m learning to embrace change but I do not like to change my coffee ritual with substandard substitutions of choice. I like coffee. I like coffee in my coffee. I make good coffee. I made my coffee rig to bring as much of my morning ritual with me as I could while traveling and so far it’s worked out wonderfully.

Not long after I made the rig, I decided I needed a grinder. What sort of self-respecting coffee snob would I be if I traveled with pre-ground coffee? The Porlex Mini grinder is small, lightweight and very effective. It’s also added a new twist to the morning coffee ritual, almost a new coffee ritual if you will.

I use my Baratza Encore conical grinder at home. Dump in some beans – oh no, dear reader, I can’t be bothered with a scale! – in the hopper, turn the dial to “On” and get my brewer of choice ready while the Baratza works.

An Aeropress is labor intensive and it’s a good thing. The Porlex hand grinder takes some time and contemplative effort and the Aeropress demands some attention in the service of producing an elixir that escapes the efforts of the humble hotel room coffee service.

From now on I think I’ll figure out a way to travel with the necessary elements of my traveling coffee rig, for the sake of my sanity.