Posted by: Joan Spiller | June 16, 2012

Mama was wrong! Life is more like a cup of coffee ..

Today I found myself thinking about life as I made my coffee. Perhaps in response to the death in our family earlier this week.

But also because I’d been lazy the day before and not cleaned my milk steaming wand thingiemajig and had to do it before I made today’s coffee.

Which got me to thinking about how life really can be likened to a cup of coffee. Way more than it can a box of chocolates!

Now before you all tell me I’ve finally lost it, let me explain..

You cannot make a good coffee without the right equipment. Same goes for being equipped to handle life when you think about it.

Even if you are fortunate enough to have the best beans, an expensive / fantastic machine and other necessary coffee making paraphernalia but you don’t know how to use it – you will still not be able to make a good coffee. Education, understanding and / or learning how to do things (then applying those learnings!) .. life isn’t likely to go well if you don’t get a handle on the important things.

Well done you, so you’ve mastered how to use all the equipment, you’ve found the perfect beans after many trials of the myriad brands out there. But you don’t bother to maintain the coffee machine. This will result in a poor quality coffee, eventually. Oh sure, you may get away with it for some time.. but eventually that lack of care will come back to bite you. And generally it’ll be when you’re in most need of your fix, that’s just the rules!

Just like our bodies, the equipment required to enable us to live. Let it fall into a state of disrepair and see how UN-fun life can become. And oftentimes life will seem to get us while we’re down, making that lack of health even more difficult to deal with.

Every morning when I make my coffee there are a couple of things I do, they’re kinda silly but I do ’em none-the-less!

1. I gaze contentedly into the mug as I wait for the extraction to take place. In just under 30 seconds I can tell if my coffee is perfect or not. And when it is perfect, that moment is something tragically cool. Yes. I’m an addict 😉

2. When I’ve heated the milk and stretched the proteins JUST so, pouring the silky-smooth bubble-free liquid into the coffee, I always take a second to stare at it as I anticipate how good it will be to sit down and drink it!

My morning coffee isn’t just about having a coffee. It’s a ritual, no two ways about it!

However, if you were to be too fixated on admiring your lovely coffee every day such that you don’t dive into it while it’s in optimal condition (ie perfect for consumption!) then you will find you’ve left it too late and the coffee will not be as good as it was. At the same time, you do want to be sure to savour the coffee and get the most out of it having put all that effort into making your coffee just the way you like it.

Knowing when to act, when to admire your handiwork and when to dive on in and keep going – all handy skills in life.

And sometimes – for no particular reason – I make a bad coffee. I’ve had this coffee machine for 7 or so years now and in that time I’ve made a minimum of one coffee a day. Which works out to around 3000 cups of coffee. Allowing a few extras for visitors .. And I can totally tell at a glance if the coffee is any good.

I can also tell by the smell, it’s over extracted and also – hard to explain but it’s kinda.. watery. The crema is all wrong and at this point I have to man up and throw it out – even tho it seems wasteful to do so.  Even though I may be down to the last few beans. Even though I may be desperately wanting a coffee. Or in a hurry.

I have to choose. Throw it out / dispose of it. Or have a bad coffee experience?

Just like life. Sometimes we have to choose to stop something, because we aren’t going to enjoy it or it’s going wrong. That is one of the hardest things to do, I know!

So now can you see why I think life is MUCH more like a cup of coffee than it is a box of chocolates?



  1. Love this post Joan. And oh god you’ve made me want a good coffee machine even more.


  2. Oh, and I need to tell you that I got a big bottle of rice bran oil at the Japanese Grocery today!


    • WOOHOO!! How’s it working for ya, liking it? Was it expensive?


      • It was a giant bottle for $7.63! And I am absolutely loving it 🙂 It is by far and away so much better than vegetable oil or grapeseed oil. Thanks for the tip!


  3. I love this logic. It makes so much more sense and is so much more meaningful than comparing life to a box of chocolates.

    Sounds like you have a wonderful coffee ritual!


  4. Your logic is bang on! Love your blog today. I’m sure when you buy yourself the new coffee machine you are talking yourself into, you’ll create perfection once again! Kindest regards, Janet


  5. Obviously a slow day(G)!


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