My morning routine is important to me. I’ve never been much of a morning person so until I’ve sipped my first cup of coffee, my eyes don’t quite open, my thoughts lack cohesion, my speech is monosyllabic and my disposition is… well, let's call it bear-like. In other words, pre-coffee, I tend to plod along at a manageable pace, just as long as no one pokes me with a sharp stick.
I love coffee. I love everything about it. Sugar or cream? No way! Why diminish what I consider to be one of the most wonderful tastes ever concocted by man. And that smell! Who needs lavender sachets? I adore the spectacular smell of coffee so much that I’ve been tempted to put little coffee packets in my drawers!
Though I love coffee any time of day, it is that morning cup of coffee that is the most important. Because that first cup is so revitalizing, I have spent many years of hard work and practice perfecting the steps for the perfect cup of coffee and now I believe I have developed a technique that is not only streamlined and efficient, but it results in perfect cup of coffee each and every day.
Each morning I jump start my day by savoring one delectable shot of espresso after which my compulsory morning coffee follows, a very strong “Americano” – shots of espresso, topped off with hot water. Feel free to vary the steps below as necessary for your favorite coffee drink. Also, though this method works for me, all of these steps may not work for you so again, feel free to modify at will.
Step 1: Begin with one good-natured Significant Other (SO). I have found this to be the first essential ingredient to the perfect morning coffee. A spouse works perfectly, but a roommate will work just as well; there are no rules here so feel free to be creative. In my personal opinion, there is nothing that strengthens a relationship more than hearing those three little words, first thing in the morning, “Ready for coffee?”
Note: I have found that it helps to facilitate Step 1 if you choose an SO who is more of a morning person than you are. If this is not the case you may want to proceed to the Variations at the end of this post.
Step 2: Fine Tuning. It is important to note that careful behavior management toward your Significant Other is critical at this juncture. The old expression, “you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar” has never more applicable. For example, pointless growling or snapping is considered strictly out of bounds and counterproductive. Useless activities such as demanding your coffee from your SO or chuckling at your SO’s hair upon climbing out of bed will not bring you any closer to your goal. Though you may feel like a Oscar the Grouch on steroids, rein it in and do all that you can to be pleasant and amenable. To achieve the perfect cup of coffee on a consistent basis it is important to remember that this magnanimous person is providing the first essential building block of your day so that you can become a functioning part of the human race. Worthy of at least a bit of patience and some semblance of a smile, don’t you think?
Step 3:The Actual Coffee. Okay, it’s important too. We (the “royal we” is definitely in use here) use fresh beans and we grind our beans daily in a burr grinder (which tends to provide a more consistent grind than the typical blade grinders). We prefer an espresso maker, but we occasionally use a French press when we have company. I know that others prefer drip coffee, a percolator or some other method; it all comes down to personal preference here.
Step 4: The most important step of all. Never take your SO for granted! Those of us who suffer the painful affliction of anti-morning disease know and understand all too well the necessity of that first sip of morning nectar. If someone is willing to to climb the stairs first, negotiate the measuring, grinding and brewing of those coffee beans just to present you with a cup of that incredibly delicious and eye-opening beverage, you need to recognize that you have found the morning coffee drinker's equivalent to the holy grail. So, once your eyes have opened, your thoughts have formed, and your speech has recovered, it’s your turn. Don’t forget that all relationships are two way streets. Fix breakfast, do nice things throughout the day, and for Pete’s sake, say Thank You! You've just discovered the secret to perfect morning coffee, you don't want to jeopardize it now, do you?
Variations: For those who live alone, or those living with other non-morning people, try using a SI (Stand-In) in the place of an SO. Go out in the morning and use these steps with your favorite server or barista. With slight adjustments, most steps should still be applicable. Especially Step 4 – who doesn't like it when people say Thank you?
Personal Note: In all seriousness, yes, my husband makes my coffee each morning. Yes, I'm incredibly thankful for him, and absolutely, yes, I know how lucky I am. We greet each day with the obligatory cup of coffee and plenty of laughter. To be honest, even if I were a morning person, he'd still be making the coffee - he really does make a fantastic cup of coffee! ;-)