I sat down with some other members of the Terra Kaffe team to talk about our morning rituals. Like with most good things, coffee is just a starting point.
We all have them. We all use them to prepare for the day ahead and — if all goes according to plan — to get some good momentum going that propels us through the rest of the day. Some of us do that with coffee. Some of us do that with the morning paper or a bit of yoga. There really is no one way to do The Morning RitualTM, which got me thinking, just how many ways can one start their day, and what kind of rituals do we have in-house? I spoke with 2 of our beloved teammates to discuss what gets us out of bed in the morning.
Cate, Chief Experience Officer
Lucky for Cate, her husband Gui gets the morning shift. He’s up in the early hours with their daughter Yvette while she and Maisy (another daughter, of the canine variety) sleep in ‘til around 8:00. Then, it’s go-time.
First things first, Maisy gets her morning walk around the neighborhood — one of the many perks of living in beautiful Staten Island; suburbia in the 5 boroughs. Once the pup is tuckered out, Cate reaches for her first caffeine dose of the day. “I have a pint glass from Ikea that I fill with 4 straight shots of espresso. Sometimes I drop an ice cube in there so I can chug the espresso immediately. Plus, I have to drink it quickly because if I set it down, Yvette will try to steal some.” Some babies are intrigued by bright sounds and colors, others are fascinated by espresso. Like mother, like daughter.
“At home, the coffee is functional. I press the espresso button, and that’s the fastest way to get caffeine.” When she gets to the office, however, that’s where Cate can really enjoy her morning coffee. After her drive from Staten Island to Greenpoint (a journey she’s dubbed the “twelve miles of glory”), she finally has time for herself. “The office always has the best coffee (lately, my favorite, Tandem Time & Temperature). When I get into the office, I can make my favorite drink, the CX Latte,” aptly named for the Customer Experience (CX) team.
Of course, we asked for the recipe: 2 shots of espresso, steamed oat milk, monk fruit sweetener, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Quinn, Customer Experience Associate
As a former barista, Quinn found himself with an inconsistent schedule. “I’d have random days off during the week, so I decided to take those days to just get away from the city.” So he settled on Rockaway, a place where he could find a consistent and fulfilling ritual at the water’s edge.
Over time, others joined along for this new stay-cation of sorts. Friends would meet on the strand and enjoy early morning coffee, accompanied by the aroma of seafoam and the sound of the waving tides. “But as the mornings grew colder, my party shrunk. I noticed that the only people who maintained any sort of regular outing hours were the surfers. It was only a matter of time before I joined their ranks.”
Cut to early September, when Quinn booked his first surf lesson. He was immediately hooked.
“Rituals help expedite the process of finding home.” As a relatively recent transplant from Baltimore, Quinn was intentional about how he wanted to spend his free time. “In an endless sea of eccentric clubs, social groups, and hobbies, New York was my opportunity to find something uniquely me.”
These days, having found his balance (and shaved minutes off the time it takes to put on his wetsuit), he spends many mornings a week hitting the beach. “I can’t drink too much coffee before I’m locked inside the suit, but I enjoy a quick shot or two of espresso at the crack of dawn before driving down to the water.”
After a few hours, it’s time to head to the office. The quick turnaround includes changing out of the wetsuit in his car, a “2-second shower,” and soaking his beach clothes in the tub — just to thoroughly remove the beach smell.
George, Director of Communications
Wow okay. Definitely don’t think my ritual compares to those two. I mean, Quinn surfs! Like, gets up at the crack of dawn and hits the beach! I didn’t know about the CX Latte, either. Honestly, my whole ritual is just the coffee part of it. I jump out of bed and I’m like one of the Gilmore Girls — “Coffee, coffee, coffee!”
For me, my entire morning ritual is dictated by my cat Willow. I like to say she gets to use the scale before I do, since I use it to weigh both her kibble and my coffee beans. 30 grams in the AM, 30 grams in the PM. She’s like a dog. She does “sit,” “speak,” and “spin around” and then she gets her breakfast.
Then (and I’m very particular about my process) I can make my morning coffee, which I think of as my seven minutes of Zen. First, I grind my beans for pour over coffee in the Chemex. 25 grams to be exact — 5 less than Willow’s breakfast. Then I wet the filter to remove any paper flavor before placing the freshly ground coffee on top. With water heated to exactly 202 °F, the ritual can really begin.
First it’s 50 grams of water for the grounds to bloom. And after about 45 seconds I begin the first of two brew pours. I’m aiming for a total of 400 grams, so a coffee to water ratio of 1:16. After about 200 grams of water (added in circular motions, of course), I give it a stir and let it all filter down. Then the next 200 grams and it’s time to enjoy. Usually it’s in front of my window that looks onto Roosevelt Island. Willow likes to enjoy it, too.
For me, the recipe is the ritual, and the intentionality of my morning coffee helps me bring that same level of focus and mindfulness with how I tackle whatever’s on the agenda for the rest of the day.