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Slowing down.

 

Since my last post, my lifestyle has shifted pretty significantly. This post is the start of a shift towards other things like my struggle trying to live sustainably, the process of planning my upcoming wedding, and other lifestyle things that I am passionate about now that are very different from just a year ago. This blog won’t be seeing many more make up/skincare reviews, unless it’s really notable or I made it myself. For now, here’s a post on slowing down. Enjoy! 

I’ve been drinking cold brew coffee for about two weeks.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cold brew coffee. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and grabbing a cup of coffee straight out of the fridge without the efforts of making it. But here’s the thing: I’ve really, really missed making pour-overs.

Stay with me, faithful readers. I’m not about to turn all hipster snobby coffee person on you. Promise.

What I miss is not only the hot mug in my hands, the scent of brewing coffee, and the hum of gently simmering water (below boiling for coffee guys, below boiling). I realized in my two weeks of iced coffee madness that what I missed was the way that making a handcrafted cup of coffee forced me to slow down and relax at the beginning of my day.

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I’ve always had trouble slowing down. From childhood I dashed forward relentlessly, read voraciously, talked at Gilmore Girl speeds, and never stopped to take prisoners. I have always taken the attitude that if I’m not doing something, reading something, learning something, entertaining myself with something… then I’m not being productive. That I’m wasting my time.

Making coffee had changed that, in a way I didn’t expect when I started to do it by hand, wanting to drink a better cup of coffee. Not being able to afford an electric bean grinder but wanting to achieve a better tasting cup of coffee, I finally caved in February and purchased a Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill (I love it, but this is not a post about coffee products… not really). It forced me to take 2 or 3 minutes every day to grind the 15 milligrams or so of beans I need daily to make my giant mug of coffee, while I get water from my kitchen’s hot water dispenser to the right temperature in my, yes, you guessed it, Hario Bouno Coffee Drip Kettle.

The process of dripping my own coffee in my Chemex coffee maker (as previously mentioned) takes about 10 minutes for me total, start to finish. Since I started pouring coffee this way last year, and especially since I obtained the new gear in February, this time has come to be a time of contemplation on what happened yesterday, and what I want to accomplish today. It’s been a time of reviewing my day, because I often fall asleep at the end of the day without really thinking about it. It’s been a time of looking forward to the future. During this time I’m free to watch the coffee slowly go drip drip drop drop, sometimes maddeningly slow for what I want, and I let my mind wander. And then, I am centered.

Some days this happens better than others. Some days I get tempted away by dishwashers that haven’t been unloaded yet or counters that need wiping down. But most days it helps me feel sure of where I’m going for the rest of the day and gears me up for my day. Between wedding planning, learning to be a better piano teacher, trying to live consciously and thoughtfully for others and for the environment (and failing 90% of the time), and learning to be a partner to my husband-to-be… this is time I needed. Time that I, weirdly, missed, when I had ready made coffee in my fridge.

And so, when I ran out of cold brew iced coffee yesterday, I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then, this morning, I made coffee. And contemplated.

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The New Coffee Corner: the Autumn Edition

A year or so ago I wrote about my caffeine corner, the place where I find energy in the morning. My morning coffee routine has changed a lot, and continues to change all the time. During the summer I favored making large batches of cold brew coffee and just pouring in the morning with some Starbucks Vanilla syrup and some half and half, but as the first day of fall finally struck here in Southern California two weeks ago, I woke with a shiver and realized that there is, after all, a place for hot coffee in my life.

I’ve begun to favor stronger, more full-bodied coffee these days, and my pod espresso habit was no longer working for me. Due to the terrible influence of my friend D, I ended up looking into a variety of methods to brew coffee and landed on my current routine. I thought I’d take some photos of this updated “coffee corner” (some days I drink tea, though!) for you all, because I don’t take nearly enough advantage of my beautiful kitchen in this blog.

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I’ve had my favorite ampersand (&) mug from Starbucks for a while now and I wanted it to become “my mug” and the center piece of my coffee corner. The ampersand happens to be my favorite shape in the English language, and the bright red and white contrast of this mug is perfect for fall and will carry me nicely into the holidays! I wish I had gotten a second one of this… or a third… or a fourth.. just in case something happens to this one!

The Chemex coffee maker (Chemex 8-Cup Classic Series Glass Coffee Maker) is what I ended up purchasing because I realized a nice smooth drip will be the happy compromise between my usual sugar’ed and creamed up espresso lattes (I’m trying to dial back on my sugar and cream intake, because I don’t want to die an early death), and as I have been playing with this awesome coffee maker this week, I find myself drinking it closer and closer to black. I probably never will go to black coffee all the way though, because, well, I like cream and sugar… The Chemex coffee maker really is a beautiful piece of equipment and so far I’m pretty happy with it. I definitely recommend it!

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A few months ago I also purchased a beautiful glass teapot on Amazon.com, and I love to use it with my favorite tea, the peach blossom oolong from Lupica, which I’m almost out of (I’ve got enough for maybe two tiny cups) and desperately need to purchase. The cute little pink cherry blossom cups are from Daiso, my local Japanese dollar store for $1.50 each.

I still have my old espresso corner from last year, but I use it far less often and have been enjoying hot brewed coffee every morning. As we go into winter this will probably change, but for now this is where my caffeine addiction has taken me!

 

Places: Miette.

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A few weeks ago I got to visit San Francisco & wander around aimlessly. It was pretty glorious. One of the places I wandered into was a branch of Miette, which seems to be some sort of candy shop/bakery combo. It. Was. Amazing. Everything was beautiful and tasty and I ended up buying their cookbook, Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop.

Everything was glorious and beautiful, so here’s a sampling of some photos I took of their very cute shop.

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The coffee corner in my kitchen.

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I inherited a nice Illy espresso machine from my parents who basically do not use it. I shamelessly made off with it & purchased a Capreso milk frother. So far so good. My first latte was delicious and this will hopefully save me so much money in the long run buying coffee.

I’m excited to be bringing my own coffee to class, work, etc in my new Kleen Kanteen bottles!

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Kleen Kanteen.

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At the recommendation of a friend, I purchased these Kleen Kanteen bottles. They are food-grade stainless steel and free of all the nasty plastics and coatings that get in your water/drinks & ruin your body. So far, I like them for the convenience, the simplicity, the great easy-to-clean design, and the great features on the two insulation ones I purchased (the smaller ones). Of course, since taking these photos I’ve promptly left the larger water bottle at my piano professor’s house, but that’s another story…

I plan to use the large bottle of water for long days, exercise, and dance class, and the little insulation ones for coffe & soup. This will be good at school especially.

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