I would never have thought that the dark roast, that thick dark brew at the coffee shop, would not be the most powerfully caffeinated of all the coffees. My local barista told me the medium blend was actually more potent. No way.
I read that In Italy, “barista is a coveted title. It’s a career that requires significant apprenticeship and for which no one would assume the title unless he or she could profess to having dedicated time and practice to this art.” They went on to say that “here in the United States, the term barista is given to anyone who happens to be standing within ten feet of an espresso machine, properly trained or not!”
That is a bold statement and when I sit in my favorite coffee shop, or just about any coffee shop I find myself in across the country, it seems those coffee-making employees are rocking out some crazy named caffeinated stuff in a hurry. They seem to me to know a lot about coffee. I sit for hours enjoying the whole experience, the smell, the sounds, the random conversations.
But what that writer was talking about is the European process, not the American money-making model. Our American franchise coffee folks are amazing but not true barista’s in the European definition. In Italy the beans are hand-picked, then slowly roasted to perfection at each level. Then they use very carefully measured grounds and specifically measured amounts of water to get a certain flavor. And it is anything but rushed.
My heroes are the cowboys who roamed the plains and mountains across America. For them, a few dried grounds boiled and sometimes filtered, sometimes not into a cup were staples of their day. It was as much a social tool as an energy boost, a belly warmer, and just a moment of familiar comfort out on the range. The smell giving them solace for the loneliness and rugged life they endured for long stretches.
So much of what we experience today is fast and Americanized. Don’t get me wrong, I stand for America, but the things we are missing today are hurting us.
So our days start with getting our youngest son, Jon-Michael, up, dressed and fed. Off to school, baseball, and whatever else is on his calendar. He gets home at 7pm, we feed him dinner and by 8pm he is doing homework until 11. His Saturday is half full of baseball or other activities, and Sunday it’s church and getting ready for the week ahead. Mix in a little youth Bible study, some time with his dog or bike, texting, on the computer, watching a bit of TV and what is left? If a kid spends 12 years of their life in this craziness, what comes out the other end? When do they learn about listening to God in still quiet moments? Don’t we need a little bit of that every day?
I know of one place, one activity that hits deep inside for him. He loves to bow hunt. He can sit for hours in an old oak tree and listen, watch, and wait. No distractions beyond the natural. He told me last year that as he sat in his tree, an owl flew in and landed right in front of him. Another morning before light as he walked to his tree, a huge boar hog walked out of the brush right next to him. He drew and dropped it in its tracks with one arrow. Imagine the hours he spent in his tree reliving that moment. So often at the ranch he hangs his hammock in the barn or cow chutes and naps in the afternoon. Quiet, with his own thoughts. In these times he is most calm and joyful; I see it in his eyes, in his demeanor. Close to God.
The guide to coffee says, “when brewed by volume (as in most regular coffee machines), dark roast coffee has less caffeine than light roast because some of the caffeine is lost during the roasting process.” I would never had thought that the darkest, really worst tasting, was not the strongest. So often we miss the obvious and assume things that don’t equal the facts in the end. All those mornings I spent thinking I was maximizing the caffeine. So often we think we are doing good by just keeping everything on schedule, getting the kids to their appointed games, and replying to emails at 9pm. Where is the real value in all of the business?
When I think of the places of value, the places or times I am happiest or feeling joyful, it is rarely in the business of this life. Do you just leave a wake that rocks everything as you go by? Where do you go to sit, think, listen, smell the coffee? Don’t let it all get away from you. Be intentional.
Psalm 62:5, “My soul is quiet and waits for God alone. My hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and the One Who saves me. He is my strong place. I will not be shaken. My being safe and my honor rest with God. My safe place is in God, the rock of my strength. Trust in Him at all times, O people. Pour out your heart before Him. God is a safe place for us.”