047 - What It Takes To Make Great Coffee & Other Important Things
Why you need to give a shit about your work, but not too much
Grantham’s Coffee Shop Aungier Street
Why you need to give a shit about your work, but not too much
Welcome to the Editor’s Journal; A daily thought on writing, the creative process, art, work, the world and how it all goes together. Every morning I rise early, I sit here in the quiet of my kitchen and I write whatever’s prominent. There’s no clever headlines and no script, just open and honest thoughts. I hope you enjoy the read. If you like this article please offer some love by hitting the 💚 cheers!
I’m what you might call a coffee snob.
I’m extremely picky about my cup of coffee. And so it should be, considering that these days you could be paying upwards of €3.00 or more in some places for an Americano.
At that price, I expect exceptional taste and service. Even at €2.50 a cup I expect exceptional because I know that I can get a high level of quality in certain coffee shops for that price.
But it’s not about the price.
My wife calls me picky and throws her eyes to heaven when I point out the often less than average service in many places I visit. “You’re never satisfied”, she says.
Maybe. But what is it to be satisfied? Maybe that’s a question for tomorrow.
You see it’s so easy to get it right but so many get it wrong.
It’s so terribly disappointing to get a shity cup of coffee. It’s like being served average or less than average meal in a restaurant. It’s so so disappointing.
Why should I expect exceptional?
Because I have complete respect and admiration for people who give a shit about what they make. It doesn’t matter what it is, to be on the receiving end of something unique is to be in it with them.
There’s something in the experience that I want to be a part of.
This is what art is.
True art is both the making and the receiving of the something made. The joy needs to be reciprocated in order for the artistic process to be complete. That’s why making something great is only great by virtue of you getting it out into the world.
What good is it to make something that sits on your studio shelf gathering dust all for your fear of compromising your artistic integrity.
That’s a balls of an idea.
Many artists have a hang up about business and money. We hide our stuff away for the most part and expect the world to come to us. But that’s not how it works.
We’ve got to get our stuff out into the world in order for the artistic process to be complete, and that means making peace with the business of art.
Anyway, I digress…
I was talking about the importance of making great things…
My New Favourite Coffee Shop
This morning I picked up my coffee in Grantham’s on Aungier Street as is now my usual habit when I come to DBS.
It’s a relatively new place on a street already filled with coffee shops. I’m guessing there’s probably 10 or 15 coffee shops along a 200 meter stretch of road.
Another coffee shop!?
Yes, but this place is different. The coffee tastes the best I’ve had anywhere. The service is good and the vibe is good. The guy who owns the place has staff who know what they are doing. It’s obvious to me they’ve been trained well.
Turns out the guy is a barista champion so he obviously cares about what he does. My only concern for him is that there are enough discerning coffee drinkers in the area to support his enterprise.
I reckon there is. And if there isn’t there should be.
Few Will Notice At First
I take comfort and reassurance from places like Grantham’s that people are still willing to take a chance on themselves.
Too many of us are willing to choose comfort and pedestrian humdrum of security over sticking our necks out and trying something new. It’s so bloody boring and lifeless.
We’re happy to stay in jobs, working for other people, undergoing the constant monotonous fridge humming of normality in our minds for fear of getting it wrong.
Little do we know how great it could be if we just took a step towards that something new that’s been on our minds for so long.
Yeah sure, few will notice at first, but if we make that matter, especially in the initial stages then we are sure to fail.
Then the prophecy of failure will make itself true. We and those who warned us will say; “told you so”.
Nobody noticing our work, in the beginning, has got to be ok. When we start we’ve got to do that thing for the sake of it. In fact, if we ever lose the initial impetus of “for the sake of it” then we lose the originality and beauty of it.
But don’t misunderstand here, this is not a veto against marketing or commercialising your enterprise. On the contrary, embracing the business side of the creativity coin is essential.
What I’m suggesting is that when we create we stay connected to the reason why. If we lose our reason why then we lose.
Creating Is Only Half The Work
Building the something great is only half the work.
We’ve got to get the things we make under the noses and in the hands of the people who matter, and that can take time.
Whether it’s a tech company, a sculpture or a coffee shop, the basic principle of creating great things applies;
We’ve got to love it enough to make it special and then we’ve got to let it go. To love it too much is to kill it. To love it not enough is not to give birth to it.
Not giving a fuck means it never grows, and that’s such a misfortune. So many businesses have great potential to give important things to other people but they don’t care enough about service that they fall short.
Giving too much of a fuck doesn’t let it grow, and that’s a misfortune too because holding on too tight smothers the thing.
I’ve been guilty of both.
I’ve been guilty of not investing enough of myself in one project to make it happen. I’ve also been guilty of holding on too tight.
Altogether there’s a fine line and once we find it we’re generally gone too far. But that’s part of the art and joy of creativity. We get to experiment and figure it out along the way.
My particular creative and professional journey has been a tooing and froing across that elusive line.
I think I’m getting better at knowing where it is.
That’s it for now. If you liked this article please offer some love by hitting the 💚 cheers!
I’m Focusing On Habits: I’ve got some bad habits I want to overcome and I have some new habits I want to establish. You see I know that through establishing good habits (momentum of positive behaviour) I can get to where I want to go. So I’ll be writing on this subject for the next few months, exploring what psychology and neuroscience say about developing creativity. Follow all new articles here.
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Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write about art, creativity, business & marketing. When I’m not doing that I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.