Felix Olschewski

Composer. Musician. Author.

Choices

Just when I had pressed down the plunger of the carefully prepared French Press and was about to pour a cup of my freshly ground, cherished Rosetta Asuvim coffee, my Parisian host’s oldest son entered the kitchen, drew a cup from the drip filter machine that had been idling there for at least an hour and rammed it into the microwave. Inside me a little kitten died right that moment before I regained my composure and smiled. This is the variety of life. I like my coffee. You like yours.

We live in a world where you can listen to as much Justin Bieber as you like. And I am free to listen to Richard Einhorn or Miles Davis. If and when I like. We all have these choices. That is beautiful.

Later that day I encounter a café near Notre-Dame that sells their cup of black water for an impressive 6€. I chose to pass on this opportunity to try another cup of carelessly brewed hot beverage. After a while you learn to spot the signs of both careless and careful baristas at work. That allows you to make careful choices, save money and improve your day.

We have all these choices. What makes me sad is how few people are aware of them. Most coffee drinkers know only their black roasted, pre-ground, drip-filtered, microwave-reheated coffee. They are not aware of the alternatives. They do not know about origin, processing, roasting or filter methods. They do not understand that all these factors make a huge difference. They can not believe that coffee can, in fact, taste like tea or juice or chocolate. They live in blissful ignorance.

I smile again, wider this time, when I finally enter the doors of Café Craft and gratefully receive a cup of carefully V60-filtered Ethiopian joy – my first thusly brewed coffee in months. Intense memories of honey still linger on my tongue hours later and the day’s circle closes. And I just can not stop smiling.

I don’t expect for everyone to drink specialty coffee only. Instead I wish for everyone to drink the coffee he or she likes best. That, though, requires education. If you do not know your alternatives, you do not know what you like best. This education every single one of us can take into their own hands. You do not need to study music theory in order to understand jazz or classical music. All you need is your senses and awareness. We have plenty of that but waste it staring at screens or fantasizing about irrelevant things past or future.

If you want to learn more about the choices you have in life, just turn on some music, close your eyes, listen closely to every single sound and be aware of what it does to you. Switch off all expectations. Do not expect the music to do anything to you. Instead watch how your body and mind react to the sounds. And stay aware. Listen to as much and as varied music as possible. Never stop.

That is the only way to find out which type of coffee you like most.

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