I’ll start by saying that I am not a coffee addict. I’m not a coffee snob. I don’t need six cups of coffee to get through the day. I don’t need a cup of coffee to get me started in the morning.
But on my days in the office (that seem so far away now), one of the ways that I break up the morning is going for a coffee. Not every day, but a couple of mornings a week, I would take my lovely glass keepcup (other brands are available) and go grab a coffee at the work coffee bar. It was as much about having a walk, not being at my desk for ten minutes, seeing something different and having a little chat with the people who work at the coffee bar. Or sometimes I would see someone I know from another team and I got to have a little chat with them, see how they are, what’s going on.
Sometimes if I met someone who’s a smoker and who was going outside for a cigarette break with their coffee, I might go with them and stand outside for a bit (albeit upwind of their smoke).
My preferred coffee of choice is the oat milk latte. Like I said at the start, I’m not a coffee snob. I don’t like strong coffee that tastes of coffee. I don’t like black coffee. Sometimes I’ll have a flat white, sometimes I’ll have a cappuccino, but I’m not a macchiato person, and I wouldn’t drink a plain espresso.
Lots of people in my team have switched away from dairy milk. For one thing, we’re trying to cut down on dairy intake generally, but also there’s a little poster at the coffee that explains the various CO2 emissions, water consumption and land use required to produce a litre of various types of milk. Oat milk has one of the lowest scores across all these categories and – hey – as we work on combating climate change, it makes sense to make little changes that are in line with how we work.
Working from home there is no coffee bar. Well there kind of is, it’s called a kitchen, and I would have to make the coffee myself. And I don’t have a fancy milk frothing machine. Otherwise, if I want coffee, I have to leave my house and go for a 30 minute walk to find one of the few cafes that are still open and get them to make me a coffee using their professional coffee machine. So not really practical as a mid-morning break, more part of an early morning pre-work walk. In fact all my recent ‘real’ coffees have been part of early morning walks.
But it’s not the same. There’s no chat. There’s no keepcup. Just coffee.
And coffee without the surrounding rituals is just bitter water.