¶ Fussy Coffee

On episode 87 of The Talk Show, John Gruber jokingly shared the three things necessary for becoming Internet Famous:

  • You must have a fussy way to make coffee.
  • You must have a clicky keyboard.
  • You must have a Sodastream, so you can over-carbonate your water.

Now, I do not have a clicky keyboard, nor do I have the desire to have one. I would gladly accept a Sodastream, as I love carbonated water with a little lime in it. I do, however, make my coffee in an extremely fussy way.

I start off my coffee making process by setting my Cuisinart PerfecTemp kettle to 200°F. While that heats the water for a few minutes, I weigh out 12g of coffee beans from my favorite local roaster.

Here is where the fussiness sets in. I then grind my coffee manually in a Hario MSS-1B Mini Mill Slim grinder. After grinding the beans, I use an AeroPress to brew a single cup of coffee into my awesome coffee mug.

I repeat this process 3-5 times a day.

So why bring all this up, other than to give fellow coffee nerds a peek at my secret public vice?

It's a matter of craft. The built-in OS X dictionary's primary definition of craft is:

an activity involving skill in making things by hand

An alternative definition is:

skill in carrying out one's work

It is often all too easy in this digitally driven world to lose the tangibility of accomplishment. When you labor physically to make something excellent — yes, even a cup of coffee — you benefit greatly from the achievement.

As far as coffee goes, my comparatively laborious method yields a much better tasting cup of coffee than my automatic dripolator can provide. Quality over quantity.

As our society has moved to the intangible, it has become easy to forget what craftsmanship looks like. People scoff when a great app is not free. A dollar is deemed as spendy when it comes to software, for example.

But you know what I noticed? Many of the very best apps — the ones where it is apparent that the developer sweats every detail — cost more than a buck. It's these kinds of apps that are my favorite. And that is because their makers are true craftsmen. And I'd wager that they sweat the details and fuss over other tangible things, as well.

I think what I am really trying to get at is if put a lot of care and detail into something tangible, it will help you to apply that same care and detail into intangible work.

Get fussy.