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2022's Best cup of coffee

Kicking off the year in review...

This is the beginning of a few short emails on some of my favorite everyday experiences of the year. Without further ado...

I'm evenly torn between two very different candidates for best cup of coffee this year, and I can't choose because they were both the best for very different reasons.

For the pure sensory and taste experience, there were many great cups of coffee this year but the best was a double shot of espresso that I made at home in September using beans from Manhattan Coffee Roasters in Rotterdam. It struck the exact balance that I want from an espresso: both the bold fruity notes of a lighter roast and the thick texture of a concentrated shot of coffee. 19g in, 42 out in 34 seconds...perfect. My coffee corner was newly setup in our new house, and while the house was still a bit of chaos I felt myself in a perfect zen state as I made that one espresso shot, moving seamlessly through the whole workflow without thinking.

Oh look - I can kinda make latte art.
Oh look - I can kinda make latte art.

But, really, if I ask myself, "is there a cup of coffee that I'll remember as a defining moment of this year? When I look back in 5 years, will anything stand out?" Well...that's a different story altogether.

In May, I made my way into Amsterdam to my favorite cafe (the name of which I dare not speak, not because it's sacred or anything but just because I literally can't say it out loud). The weather in the morning was utterly pleasant, so I got off the bus early and took a longer walk to get there. I arrived, found my favorite table in the back open, ordered a coffee, and started writing something in my journal. After just a few minutes I looked up and found someone standing in front of me with their cameraphone pointed in my direction...and this seems like it could be a moment of deeply creepy discomfort, but it wasn't because the person wielding the camera was my dear friend Yusuf, who I hadn't seen in nearly four years at that point, who I had grown closer to over the course of the pandemic, who had become one of my favorite collaborators, and who had come to Amsterdam for his babymoon. The coffee itself was good - notably good, we both commented on it - but the moment was a whole lot more than the coffee. This was a year when we started to see so many people again who we hadn't seen in far too long.

I'm hoping for many more of both types of "best cup of coffee" in the future.