Your daily routine is as individual and unique as you are. Alarm goes off, you roll out of bed, turn on the radio and pop down the toaster. You catch the early morning news headlines as you brew a cuppa. You’ve got your preferred seat on the bus, you’ve timed to the second how long the journey door-to-door takes to the office and you clock in at pretty much the exact same time daily. Your routine hasn’t failed you yet…
Most of our coffee drinking habits are also similarly regimented and become coffee rituals. A much-needed filter in the morning, a skinny latte on the route to work, espresso at 11am or even an aeropresstwo or three times throughout the working day. As humans we’re creatures of habit, but some are more particular than others about what should be drank at what times and that trickles through to the workplace too. For coffee rituals, some swear by a french press to start their day, others are happy to spoon granules of instant into a cup and drowning it in hot water as often as possible. Many even prioritise a busy day around meetings at their favourite coffee stop for a daily cortado or flat white.
Whatever your preference, and however you indulge in coffee drinking rituals, know that you’re not alone! In fact, it can actually be seen as a cultural thing. Take a look around the Mediterranean. Italy will be the first to boast that their coffee and the way they drink it is best, and it’s where various coffee-based beverages originated. But for Italians, milky coffee is considered a faux pas to order at any cafe past 10am. Wake yourself up with that milky, soothing cappuccino and then it’s strictly on to the strong stuff for the rest of the day. Similar traits appear in the Iberian peninsula, where locals will always prefer a quick espresso as they go about their day.
Moving to Antipodean customs, of course we can thank the Aussies and Kiwis for the iconic millennial mainstay, the Flat White. It might look like a smaller version of a latte but there’s a science and ceremony to crafting the perfect ‘flattie’. It’s designed to be drunk quickly after ordering as it’s petite and the perfect temperature for a quick caffeine hit. With a combination of a double espresso shot, steamed milk (to a temperature of 65 – 71ºC) and the ideal amount of barely-there bubbles known as microfoam. In coffee capitals like Melbourne and Wellington, milky well-made coffees are a mainstay throughout the day.
And then northwards to Scandinavia where fika is a particular phenomenon. A word and concept which doesn’t necessarily translate, fika is a daily, almost mandatory, ‘time out’ from work and the stresses of the day to enjoy a hot drink and a sweet treat. In Stockholm, Copenhagen and Malmö you’ll find cafes kept busy throughout the day as friends catch up over cake or workers sip coffee solitarily whilst reading a book for thirty minutes, all enjoying a much-needed breather and focusing on ‘me time’. With workplace wellbeing never a bigger priority, fika feels like a fitting ritual that the Irish could adopt.
Bosses might turn a blind eye to a quick natter at the office coffee machine, but they would most definitely balk if you decided to break your workday with a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The country of origin for Moyee coffee beans is famed for its incredibly special and detailed coffee ceremonies. An invite to one is a true symbol of friendship and one of the highest honours in Ethiopian culture, but be sure to clear your diary for a few hours.
A family affair, various members of the household are designated tasks, from gently roasting green coffee beans on a large flat pan to grinding the huskless beans in a big pestle & mortar. Sieving then takes several stages before the grounds are placed into the ‘jebena’, a black clay coffee pot with a round bottom and straw lid. The coffee is boiled then poured from the height of a foot in a thin spout into each cup with lashings of sugar (or salt) and never including milk. As an invitee, it’s considered rude if you leave the gathering before consuming at least three cups of coffee and eating the various snacks and dishes provided. Each cup is a stage in the spiritual ritual of the coffee ceremony, the final being the blessing.
So if coffee is your religion – kind of like it is ours – trust in the ceremony of your daily cup.