Rituals

I start every morning making coffee. For a long time the routine included putting ground coffee in a very small (read toy) espresso machine. Since last Christmas I have been using a Moka Pot (aka stove top espresso) that I received as a gift. Thanks Marcela and Orlando!

There is an increasing interest in providing frictionless experiences, making life extremely easy. However, sometimes at least, we require friction in the same way that we require sadness. A totally happy, sad-free, existence does not provide contrast to enjoy ‘the rest’.

A frictionless start of the morning would be to have an instant coffee (anathema) or to have an automatic machine with a timer that grinds the coffee and makes a ding! sound that wakes us up. This machine would also produce a perfectly consistent cup of coffee. There would be no ritual involved.

In my start there is pouring water in the bottom of the moka pot, setting the coffee container, filling it up with ground coffee (but not compacting it), carefully cleaning the borders, and screwing the top part of the pot. Then I turn on the stove, wait a few minutes (until the top container is between half and three quarters full and removing the pot from the stove. One can see the crema on top of the liquid. I will have some milk and (little) sugar with it.

The coffee is never exactly the same, never perfect. It requires some work and distracts my mind for a moment. I don’t want to work on improving it (as people suffer here). I can try different coffees, but I will not spend a lot on a ‘brand’ moka pot, or on sophisticated cups, or on a spectacular coffee grinder. It would be transforming the ritual into religion, which is not the point.

Humans require rituals. Rituals require some friction.