The World Behind My Morning Coffee

I think I started to work from coffee shops more than a decade ago. Way before it was cool (I know I wrote that before, but I can’t get enough of it, to be honest).

In time, I created a small routine.

I wake up, do my personal rituals, and then I get out of the house, trying to plug in to the source of my morning energy. Most of the time I know beforehand what’s the coffee shop where I’m going to do that (but even if I don’t, in time I got to a point where I can pretty much “smell” a suitable coffee shop even if I’ve never been to that city / country before). So I just start to walk to that place, enjoying the crisp morning light, the intermittent, familiar noises of the city awakening, all this while slowly building up in my head the agenda for the day. What work do I have to do, who do I meet, where do I have to go (if anywhere).

And then I reach the place. There is a familiar vibe about it. I know the barista (most of the time), so I engage in a little bit of conversation. I know what I’m going to have. When I enjoy a lot of good karma, they are even custom building my tostadas, like in Flying Bean, Valencia, where, if I’m not mistaken, you can still order a “tostada Dragos”, even if I’m not living there anymore. Then, I order my coffee. 99.99% of the time it’s a double espresso. I don’t play around with my coffee.

And then I sit at a table and let everything come together. The tostada, the double espresso, my laptop on the table and the day ahead, ready to unfold in familiar, supporting patterns.

What’s Behind This

It all looks like a perfect movie setup, but I know very well it’s not like that. For all this magical stuff to come together, a lot of things must happen, and they must happen consistently, in a predictable way.

It starts with the guy seeding the coffee beans, somewhere in South America. After a few months, these beans are packaged, shipped and somebody roasts them using a complex and noisy machine. Then, closer in time to the moment I show up, there’s someone picking up the aguacate and shipping it to the city warehouse. Even closer in time, maybe just a day ago, there’s someone baking that amazing surdough bread I’ll have in my tostada. And then, just two hours before I show up, there’s the barista coming in, opening the shop. Cleaning up, setting up the tables, making the mixes for tostadas, prepping the place.

So, when I show up, everything feels ready.

Behind this “ready” there’s a lot of work. There are a lot of people. There is a lot of energy spent, a lot of processes unfolding and intersecting. There’s a convoluted, yet incredibly functional fabric of people, activities and technologies, all working together.

All working for my morning coffee.

If just one of these people won’t show up, there won’t be any morning coffee for me. The entire experience will be invalidated.

We depend on each other. We are not isolated, we’re not islands. There are subtle roads between us, there’s energy flowing form us and towards us.

In time, I learned not to take this for granted. I learned to appreciate it and support it. And I also learned that I have my own part to play here.

And that’s one of the reasons I show up too, on this blog, in challenges like this one, in which I commit to write every day, for 365 days in a row.

Even if I’m tired, I’m not in the mood or I’m not at my best. Somebody may need this tiny little piece of text, just like I take my coffee for granted every morning.

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