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COFFEE A journal and archive of my coffee rituals.

STAINS Volume One


INDEX HOME CUPPINGS SOLO FRIENDS WORK SOCIALIAZING COUPLES

Written and Illustrated by Emilie Nagahama


HOME Through such rituals we stain our minds with memories of beautiful beginnings, and create anchors in time for future moments of nostalgia. Most days one of us gets out of bed before the other. This person’s feet guide them to their first task of the day without needing to think - begin making coffee. Put on the kettle, then crank open the blinds, and maybe even prop open a window or two. In the summertime a warm breeze sets the tone for our morning coffee ritual. Waking up first is rewarded. Shuffle over to the computer to check emails, or read the news while waiting for the water to boil. As the whistle begins its ascent, one suddenly bolts up to pop the top and silence its cry. Thus saving the sleeping one from an abrupt awakening. Instead we always whisper to each other that coffee is on its way. We buy freshly roasted coffee pretty much every week, and we enjoy going to different cafes to try out different Roasters roasts from various origins around the world. Sometimes we hand-grind the coffee in the mornings, but recently we’ve had to get it ground beforehand because our Hario grinder needs new burrs. Though it may seem tedious to do by hand, the

connection to the process of making coffee, while respecting and carefully executing the many different steps, is actually quite mediative. My partner agrees, believe it or not, and so we gladly take turns. We begin by rinsing the filter with boiling water; while it drips to the bottom of the Chemex we weigh out the coffee on a scale; heat up our coffee mugs for it could be a while till the second person gets out of bed. Next, we tap the grinds into the filter and slowly cover them with hot water for the first fill. Fill two more times, compost the filter, and decant the coffee into mugs. Oh look who is up! Remain in a long held hug with partner who has just shuffled over from bed. Now we begin our day together with a fresh cup of Chemex coffee. Through such rituals we stain our minds with memories of beautiful beginnings, and create anchors in time for future moments of nostalgia. This never goes out of style, and it will only fade if we choose to forget.


CUPPINGS I would find peace in my focus on coffee – being in the moment, learning to express what I sense, and letting my senses guide the way. About a year ago I was working at Momento in Kitsilano. We were serving Origins Coffee roasted on Granville Island. Through the cafe I met Drew J. who was the Master Roaster at the time, and he invited me to join him and his staff for cuppings on Thursday mornings. On Thursday I would usually sleep in, and then hop on my bike and ride over to G.I. around 10am. The sun, when it was out, would fill the whole front end of the shop. It warmed the wooden floor and counters, giving off a light perfume. I always felt like I was entering a dream land. The aroma of coffee roasting wafting around, harmonized with the sunlight and warmth. Delight!

We always cupped the recently roasted coffees. One does so to check for consistency from batch to batch, and also keep one’s palette tuned. Some of my favorite cuppings were when we played “the triangle test”. We would arrange all the cups into clusters of three. One of the three would be a different coffee from the other two. The challenge was to pick the odd one out. I loved being forced to concentrate on blocking out distractions to pick up any nuance that would jolt my memory. I would find peace in my focus on coffee – being in the moment, learning to express what I sense, and letting my senses guide the way.


SOLO My coffee often cools while I’m lolling. There are times in my life when I am graced with the season of freedom from employment. During those times I find myself regularly biking to coffee shops I dearly love to begin and finish books. I especially love Prado on Commercial drive and 4th. The benches outside are south facing. Catching the morning suns rays rising in the east, and holding its gaze till it sets in the west. Yes I’m talking about rainy Vancouver. When you choose to spend as much time as possible outside you come to the realization it rarely rains all day. There’s often sublime moments of time, in any given day, when precious sunshine pokes through the seemingly constant cloudy ceiling in this city. The book-reading-outsideweather-Gods must be looking out for

me because I frequently have the opportunity to be sitting on those wonderfully positioned benches when I visit Prado. I have finished many books while soaking up the sun on their glorious benches. I’ve also met the few select customers who also pursue the outdoor seating passionately. What a great way to connect. They serve coffee brewed to order. This matters to me for two reasons. One, I can taste all the nuances while drinking it black. Two, it still tastes amazing when it cools and often becomes sweeter, depending on the coffees origin. My coffee often cools while I’m lolling. Hours well spent. If I happen to finish my book while I’m out there, I can walk across the street to Bibliophile to pick up a new one. This happens one out three times. Bam!


FRIENDS A method of unearthing the ability to transcend city life while not having to leave the city. Of those pleasures in the world that we indulge in, may we be thoughtful, appreciative and meditative in our consumption habits. I’m in bed and the sun is streaming in the windows warming my room. Incoming text message: Coffee? Five minutes later I’m out the door, on my bike, and headed to a JJ bean on a gorgeous summer day in Vancouver. A few of my girlfriends and I began most of our weekend mornings this way throughout last summer. We’re morning people, and we love to go to a JJ Bean early in the morning, at those precious moments when the sun is warming their outdoor seating area. If we happen to miss it you can find us on the other side of the street with our mugs, bathing in the sun, and soaking up life’s good vibes. It’s not uncommon for us to see familiar faces coming and going that we proceed to introduce to other friends – creating these brilliant mornings of universal family. We are peacefully celebrating a beautiful moment in time.

Friends are sprawled about, empty coffee mugs lying amongst the blades of grass. The time we spend enjoying slow mornings, savoring the complex flavors of such a simple activity, remind me of the importance of building rituals. The time dedicated to activities that bring us pleasure, whatever they may be, become investments for our spirit to draw energy from. A method of unearthing the ability to transcend city life while not having to leave the city. Of those pleasures in the world that we indulge in, may we be thoughtful, appreciative and meditative in our consumption habits. This is one of my many beliefs, and how I create a connection to everything I’m surrounded by. There are mental states to be achieved through habit that bring us closer to our spirits and strengthen our connection to nature, serenity & peace.


WORK Butter croissants vs. 12oz hot chocolates. Cute vs. Crazy-Hyper-Active. Working with kids means occasional stops ly. Butter croissants vs. 12oz hot chocolates. for hot chocolates, and regular pick-me-ups Cute vs. Crazy-Hyper-Active. Adorable to carry me through the rest of the day. steals my heart and avoids potential chaos . I recently bought a JJ bean cappuccino travel mug, so that when I do buy a kids a hot chocolate, it doesn’t come any larger than the 6 oz. mug I have on hand. (Some shops will make kids hot chocolates in 12oz sizes and that’s not good news for anyone!) If a 3 year old can say croissant - than I’m instantly charmed by his pronunciation and produce one for us to share immediate-

Matchstick makes wonderful croissants, pulls great shots, brews coffee fresh to order, and they have bubbly H20 on tap, for $2, that goes towards charity. Good stuff all around. The open space is stroller friendly (as are most JJ Beans) which is why I often find myself sitting there mid-morning, or in the early afternoon having a coffee break with the rad 3 year olds’ that I work with.


SOCIALIZING Absorb time and invite those around you to do so as well – with a tasty coffee as your beacon. You’re home, restless, perhaps need and great service, dedicated owners who a break from work, or simply feel the have captured the neighborhood, bringneed to get outside. Bike or walk over ing in a fun array of people to their doors. to the Bump and Grind at the north end of Commercial drive at Venables. Join someone who’s already on the bench outside. Be the person people join There are many great gem spots in this on the bench. Call them over as they bike city for spontaneous, bubbly socializing, up the drive because you are sure to see but BnG has a soft spot in my heart. Perhaps someone you know go by. Absorb time I’m a little biased because I’ve worked there. and invite those around you to do so as The unique combination of all the things I well – with a tasty coffee as your beacon. love in a cafe: Top quality coffee, great staff


COUPLES How sweet is it to meet your lover for a coffee mid-day! It’s pretty wonderful. I would say its even crucial for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. However, that might be just my opinion. Is your romantic meeting place Revolver? Their ambience, thoughtfully cultivated by the three boys who opened this quaint, trendy, top quality cafe sets the tone for memorable gatherings every time. Since they opened in August 2011 they’ve been smoking busy. When it’s full to the brim it is nice to get macchiatos, which come in these charming little glasses, and proceed to sit outside for a few savory sips. There’s hearts in your cup <3.



Coffee Stains