At my work, days are either fairly relaxed or extremely stressful, certainly mostly the latter. There are very few moderately stressful days, which is quite interesting and cannot easily be explained. As I would describe myself as an introvert, although I am certainly among the more outgoing ones in this category, I get easily exhausted when dealing with crowds and have been prone to getting migraines regularly for the past five to ten years. I am fairly familiar with the warning signs and have developed strategies for preventing the migraine from causing me to collapse completely.
About half a year ago, I attended a full-day conference for work and was supposed to also go to another event in the evening, with only a short break between both obligations. The whole day, my body slowly became tenser and tenser and my brain started feeling more and more overwhelmed. By the time the last panel was over, I couldn’t walk to my favorite cafe, Jonas Reindl, fast enough in anticipation of caffeine working its magic. I ordered the usual, a Hario V60 filter coffee. If I am not mistaken, the guest roaster at the time was one of my favorites, Workshop from London (they usually feature a new one every two months). I took a seat at a two-person table and soaked in the atmosphere. The smell of coffee mingled with bits and pieces of interesting conversations I picked up around me. I could finally breathe and an immense weight was lifted off my shoulders. When my coffee was ready, I poured a little bit from the server into my mug, clasping the mug with both hands, closed my eyes and inhaled the wonderful coffee fumes. I was finally by myself, in my own world with my cup of coffee and felt complelely relaxed and cozy.
I am not entirely sure if I enjoy the smell of coffee for its own sake or because it triggers so many happy memories. Ever since becoming a coffee snob (that story certainly deserves its own post), I have tried really hard not to become addicted to caffeine, which is very hard at times if you have a stressful job. Even though they are only a year or two old, our Nespresso machines at work, which are of the household type and not built for constant use by around 30 employees, have a lot of stories to tell. They make on average four coffees a day per person for people who are sprinting from meeting to meeting, dragging themselves to the coffee machine in the morning in hopes of feeling a bit more alive after only getting a few hours of sleep and trying to last a bit longer if a deadline is coming up. The squeaking noises and the collection of rancid coffee oils inside the machines bear testimony to that. However, unless it is really necessary, it try not to fall victim the ease of making a cup of Nespresso, take the time to make myself an Aeropress coffee and enjoy it because I primarily like the taste and not the effect it has on me.
Even though I love the taste of coffee, I have to admit that I enjoy the smell even more, especially that of freshly brewed coffee or a bag of beans I have just opened. Smelling coffee has an extremely calming effect on me, which I discovered for the first time when I was visiting London, where I have lived previously, with my mother and grandmother a bit more than two years ago. One of my biggest regrets about my time living in London is that I was neither a coffee afficionado, or shall I say coffeecionado, or a knitter back then. I try to make good on that lost opportunty every time I visit the city though. When I travel with my husband, we visit at least two cafes a day and try new ones as often as we get a chance. We would probably spend entire days in different coffee shops if our stomachs could take more than two coffees a day. My mother and grandmother also appreciate a coffee, sadly not necessarily a good one because they prefer the milk-with-a-bit-of-coffee coffee, but I took them to my favorite cafe in London, Workshop, specifically the location near Oxford Circus, anyway. I had a wonderful and informative chat with the barista and decided to bring a bag of espresso beans back for my husband. I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the most heavenly scents I have ever smelled. In fact, I couldn’t stop smelling it and was even laying in bed with the bag of beans tucked between by chin and my chest so I could enjoy the smell while knitting.
For me, the smell of coffee is deeply personal, and I am sure there are people who hate it (of course not all beans smell amazing, but I try to surround myself only with the most fragrant ones). Our furry baby Hanzo, for instance, is not too fond of it. He doesn’t understand why we drink coffee and is quite frustrated trying to get rid of the smell by attempting to cover our coffee mugs like he does with his poop in the cat toilet. It is actually really adorable when he gets frustrated and coos almost like a pigeon. Yes, I know, I am a mean cat mommy. Long story short, I am happy I have coffee in my life. It is what keeps me going during the work day and sweetens cozy weekend mornings spent with me husband. It is not only about getting a caffeine fix, but enjoying every sip and every whiff of coffee aroma.