This is our guide to mindfulness through a pourover coffee.
As convenient as life in the modern world can be, the stress, anxiety and other overwhelming symptoms of psychological distress that come with it are perhaps, the price we need to pay for the comfort we enjoy everyday.
You may or may not have noticed that uncontrollable, chattering voice inside your head that insists to be heard. That’s our inner critic: it feeds on our regrets and worries, and intensifies our self-doubt and anxiety by re-playing scenes from the past and worst-case scenarios in an endless loop. When our stress levels are high, the voice becomes even louder and disconnects us from what is really happening inside and around us.
Meditation (or mindfulness practice) is an art of disciplining the mind and taking control of the inner critic inside your head. It is a simple tool that helps us create a mindful space for ourselves, in which we can focus our thinking and manage our emotions, enhancing our decision making, work, relationships and more. In fact, findings from multiple researches suggest that meditation contributes to both our physical and mental health.
To many people’s surprise, sitting still isn’t the only way to meditate: global spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh thinks mindfulness practice should be enjoyable, not work or effort. To be mindful is to be truly present with your mind and body, meaning we stop talking and thinking, and concentrate on living in the moment. As we practice mindfulness, it is important for us to allow our breath to take place, and to be aware as we breathe in and out.
If you are a beginner, it might be difficult to focus on just your breathing. One way to start practicing mindfulness is to pay full attention to your five senses: sight, smell, touch, sound and taste. Since all five of our senses play a part when we make coffee, it would be a great opportunity for you to meditate as you pour your cup of black liquid gold in the morning.
To add onto our pourover guide, below are a few tips on how you can turn your pourover routine into a sacred morning meditation session, simply by bringing awareness to your senses in the process:
Pourover coffee recipes are quite specific: to achieve a delicious cup of pourover coffee, you need to make sure the coffee-water ratio, water temperature, grind size and pour time are on point. Keep a close eye on all the measurements and observe your coffee as it blooms.
When you are done pouring, give your coffee server a good swirl and take a good look at your coffee: the body of your pourover coffee should almost be tea-like, and the colour should be a light, reddish brown.
To fully experience our coffee, it is essential that we involve our olfactory sense. You may or may not know that coffee is very complicated chemically and physically, with each green bean containing about 500 aromatic and flavour components. While our taste receptors can only identify the basic tastes of sweetness, saltiness, bitterness and acidity, our sense of smell is what helps us identify the aromas and complex flavours.
Fun fact about coffee aromas: the aroma profile of your coffee changes once you start pouring hot water in. Smell your coffee after you grind it, as you bloom it and once you are done brewing. Notice the scents of your coffee – the more aware you are of your sense of smell, the more likely you will be able to pick up different aromas.
We use the sense of touch so often we pay little or no attention to it, unless we are hurt or in pain.
As you prepare for the brew, reconnect with your somesthetic senses by bringing awareness to the sensations of your skin contact to your coffee and equipment. You can notice the grind size and texture of the coffee ground, the temperature of your brew, and take time to feel the way you hold your equipment.
From the moment you prepare for the pour, observe the sounds around you. Listen to the crunching of the coffee packaging, beans dropping into the container as you weigh them, hot water streaming down the dripper. The more you practice listening and hearing, the more subtle sounds you will be able to pick up from your brewing process.
Although your taste receptors can only detect the four basic tastes, our sense of taste still plays a major role in our perception of coffees. We would usually state our preferences in coffee based on bitterness, acidity and sweetness, and most coffee drinkers gravitate towards balanced coffees with a touch of sweetness.
Similar to the aromas, the taste of coffee changes at different temperatures: sip on your coffee when it’s hot (also when it’s cold), swirl it around your mouth and let it rest on your tongue for a moment – focus on observing the tastes.
When you finish the five senses exercise, take note of how your body feels. Practice as often as needed, and enjoy some peace of mind alongside your daily coffee.
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