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Slow Morning Routines: Coffee and Creativity

By Lukas van der Lende

Making pour-over coffee has always been a staple of my morning routine. The caffeine it provides is a welcomed energy boost, but the attraction to brewing coffee lies much deeper.

There is a slowness that comes with making a cup of coffee: the time it takes to grind the beans, the aroma as it wafts through the room, the feeling of the paper filter—it opens up a space for reflection on the day ahead. It is a journey that opens up your senses—it awakens the creativity needed to take on the day ahead.

I’ve been brewing coffee for about twelve years. In high school, I even worked as a barista for four years, where I learned to appreciate the art of making coffee and dabbled in roasting the beans. I’ve been introduced to other cultures and many people from around the world through the art. Brewing coffee is more than just making a beverage.

Ignite creativity with your first drink of the day

Once I saw a video of someone talking about how making your bed every morning is important. Starting off your day by finishing a task makes subsequent tasks easier to finish. I find that making pour-over coffee, too, is just that. But in making pour-over, creativity is also ignited.

Much like creativity, making coffee is a process, and if you take your time without rushing then something beautiful is bound to come out on the other side. You might be the only one enjoying the fruit of your coffee brewing labors, but this process is kindling for your day. As a professional photographer and cinematographer, creativity is at the root of everything that I do on a daily basis. My job is to capture the ordinary and make it beautiful—and isn’t that exactly what brewing coffee is? Taking something so ordinary—a simple kitchen staple—and making it beautiful. Brewing coffee is the start of the creative process for me because it ends with something tangible, and it makes it easier to finish my next creative task.

A creative calibration before your first sip

There is a constant refinement to making better coffee: Finding the best beans and practicing different techniques to brew. We come back time and time again, searching for the perfect cup. My wife always laughs at me because I’m constantly wanting a new brewer, or to try a different roaster, all to get the best coffee experience possible.

When I’m slowing down and brewing coffee it’s a reminder that the world isn’t all about me, and that is really refreshing. I love to think about how many people it takes to get that bag of coffee to my at-home coffee bar: the farmers, harvesters, roasters, and baristas. All of us working together for one common goal. Separated by distance and different walks of life, yet unified under one bag of coffee. We’re connected to people we’ll never meet but who have brought us our most sought-after beverage. It is a great calibration at the beginning of my day—not only because I’m making a drink that will give me energy but because it fuels my wonder and awe of the amazing world we live in.

At the surface, we are all just making our daily cup of coffee, but it is more than that. It’s about taking the time to reflect and slow down. About looking at the tools before you and using them. It’s about concocting something that wasn’t there before. So, stay in, turn on some soft music, slow down, reflect, and make yourself a cup of coffee.

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