A Slower Cup
Words by Sarah Lang Photographs by Chantelle Grady
A couple reflects on the slow and methodical brewing technique that allows them to spend time together and offers a relaxed start to their day.
A beverage as alluring, delicious and influential as coffee should be savored. If prepared correctly, it adds so much to the morning meal, the time of day that offers us a brief but important chance to prepare our bodies and minds for what’s to come. My husband and I savor the sun poking its rays through our windows, the robins and finches celebrating the new day, the last sips of coffee before heading out into the world.
Many people only have time for coffee as they rush out the door. It’s not thoughtfully enjoyed, but merely consumed. For them, it is a necessary evil, an abused drug, and its job is only to awaken, to dilate, to encourage us out of our slumber so we can face the feverish pace of the workplace. Their ritual consists only of pressing a button.
My husband and I prepare our coffee in a siphon coffee maker. The method was devised in the late 1800s, and was a popular brewing method until the mid-20th century. The siphon is immersive and intentional. It’s controlled chaos. The teakettle whistles away, informing us that the water is ready. We hand grind the beans, a sound that is harsh but enticing. A small burner’s flames lick the base of the siphon’s flask, forcing hot water into the top flute. We add the grounds and stir, watching them swirl around inside the chamber. After just over a minute we snuff out the flame. As the flask cools, its vacuum forces the coffee from the top flute back down into the base. We are forced to slow down, to wait, to enjoy the gift of morning.
For my husband and me, it’s not the coffee that unfurls our minds and spirits, but the meaningful conversation that accompanies it. It’s not the coffee that lifts our eyes and awakens our bodies, but the time we take to make it. And it’s not the coffee that prepares us for the day, but the encouraging words from those we love.
Siphon coffee is a beautiful sensory experience, but more importantly it’s a part of our routine, one that calls us together to sit and stay a while. And for those times when we drink it alone, it offers an opportunity for quiet reflection, a moment of clarity before we start our daily journey.