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Why coffee is the perfect meditation companion

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October 12, 2018
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It took Starbucks 47 years to open their first café in Italy and when they did open, in early 2018, the premium store in Milan bore little resemblance to the ones in the U.S. and Western Europe. You can’t order a Venti pumpkin spice latte with extra cream and sprinkles at the luxurious 30-foot bar carved from Tuscan marble, but what you can order is a small espresso that respects the Italian art of coffee drinking.

We have a lot to learn from the way Italians take their coffee: short, intense, accompanied just by a small glass of water, best enjoyed from the window of a dainty café, while watching the world go by. Instead of drinking coffee for a quick shot of energy, we can take it in slowly, enjoy its aroma and see it as a chance to slow down and live more mindfully. And, if you would like to include meditation in your life, coffee can be the perfect companion.

 
But first, learn the mindful act of coffee brewing
 

Buying a watered-down coffee from the store at the street corner and drinking it in a hurry while waiting for the bus is no way to honor one of the oldest and most valued drinks in the world. Sitting in a long queue breeds nervousness and anxiety and as you constantly check the clock and rehearse the order in your head you already put yourself in a negative state of mind. Instead, learn to make your own coffee at home, according to your own preferences and enjoy it in your own personal daily ritual.

In Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, the drink is prepared during a ceremony and enjoyed in a sacred ritual called Buna, which is the main event of the day.  In India, coffee is carefully brewed and spiced with turmeric, the spice of the Gods, associated with mystic properties.

Try to borrow from these practices and add a mindful, personal note to the act of making coffee. Buy your own fresh, ethically sourced roasted coffee beans and grind them at home for a superior tasting kettle coffee. If you prefer espresso, buy a coffee maker, but not one of the models where you simply insert a capsule.

When making coffee, feel the texture and smell of fresh beans and allow yourself a moment to focus on the drink. Don’t think about the work commute or what tasks you have to do when getting to work. Observe the coffee with all your senses, notice its fresh smell, the rising steam coming from the cup and its warmth as you hold in your hands. Drink the coffee slowly, allowing it to reveal its undertones and full flavor. Drink coffee at the right temperature: neither boiling hot so you can’t feel the taste, nor lukewarm and never, ever reheat your coffee.

 
Follow up your morning cuppa with 15 minutes of meditation
 

When looking into the best time of the day to meditate, most beginners are told that they should do this early in the morning, before breakfast and coffee. Assuming you are a morning person, this is indeed a good time. But many people aren’t. When trying to meditate at 6 a.m., you might find that you’re hungry, uncomfortable and lack focus. Your thoughts will wander off to the tasks of the day and you won’t be able to achieve the purpose of meditation.

But waiting until you’ve had your first cup of coffee can help.

First off, drinking coffee in the morning is a deeply ingrained habit. Coffee lovers take time for it every day, with extremely scarce exceptions, and scheduling your meditation afterward can bring some structure to your routine. Without realizing it, coffee and meditation will go hand in hand. As you brew your own coffee mindfully and drink it in contemplation, your mind already creates the perfect mood and meditation will flow seamlessly afterward.

One of the reasons why some do not enjoy meditation is because their mind is not in the right place when they start. They feel grumpy and tired and clearing their mind simply doesn’t come easy. But, after you have your first coffee your body starts to release dopamine, which makes you feel happier and even euphoric. In this state, your mind is more open towards meditation and you can achieve a more positive outlook towards it.

And lastly, coffee helps you stay focused on your meditation. For example, if you couple meditation with yoga and find it hard to stay still in the same pose without letting anxious thoughts get in, post-coffee focus might be exactly what you need.

 
The lunch coffee break can be a window for meditation
 

If you drink coffee during your lunch break, you can apply the same principles to include a short session of meditation. What most people do is that they drink the coffee as they speak with their co-workers, watch YouTube videos or scroll their Facebook feed. Again, doing something else as you drink your coffee stops you from being present and acknowledging the moment. If possible, drink your coffee alone, in a nearby park or next to a window with a beautiful view. Breathe in, relax, don’t think about your to-do list or about the traffic and you will discover coffee for what it truly is: not just an energy kick, but a complex and mystical drink that reconnects you with yourself.

Browse Front PageShare Your Idea
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