Hola from the beautiful hills of Guatemala!
I love coffee. And below is the story on how I fell in love with coffee.
In fact, my passion for coffee has motivated me to fly back to my hometown to teach a yoga class featuring Guatemalan coffee and chocolate. This upcoming Pop-Up Yoga class on August 13th will be my last workshop in Houston. I am now devoting more time to coaching people towards more creative living through my online book club, working with clients to help them transition out of the cubicle life, and teaching yoga and art here in beautiful Guatemala.
I really like the neighborhood Chelsea in Manhattan. There are so many lovely things to do there: you can grab a quinoa salad (after standing in long winding yet efficient line) at Trader Joe’s, eat your amazing Trader Joe’s goodies at Madison Square Park, take a delicious yoga class at YOGAMAYA, experience the crazy crowds of people buying food at the Chelsea Market, stroll down the beautiful High Line, and pick up good art supplies at Blick or MUJI.
Oh, and there’s always coffee. After a yoga class one hot and steamy afternoon, JT and I asked where we could get good coffee. The stranger we asked sarcastically replied, “Uh duh! This is New York. You can get good CWAH-FEE anywhere. Jump on yelp, you guys.” MMMMkay. Don’t need to be sassy with us.
What is a FIKA?
So we stumbled upon FIKA, a chain of cafes scattered about in Manhattan. What the heck is a FIKA? FIKA is a pause in your day. It is a time to slow down and savor the beautiful parts of your life. It’s the traditional Swedish coffee break which happens twice a day. Typically there is a coffee or a tea and a baked good. It’s taking the time to relax. Apparently, the Swedes have FIKA twice a day at the workplace too.
This can be a pretty foreign concept for most Americans who grind it out in cubicle land. I also think there is this pressure to sip coffee all day every hour in the States. There was a period in my life where I didn’t consume coffee for two years.
I blame Italy for my coffee addiction.
Then one day I was lucky enough to go to Tuscany. The Italians are all about that espresso. They would all look at me like I was insane. They told me that it was considered rude to not accept the cappuccino at the end of these multi-course meals we were enjoying. These dinners went on and on and on. It was 10pm at night and they all wanted to have an espresso or cappuccino late at night. And, my American straight-laced personality just didn’t want to participate. I still didn’t understand why we had to start dinner at 8pm at night. And who the heck drinks espresso at 10pm? I wanted to be in bed by 9pm because I was waking up early to go running at 6am the next morning.
Finally one afternoon, I didn’t have anything to do. I was just strolling the streets of Florence on my own- buying stationary and looking at journals. I was exhausted and I hit that 3pm slump. I smelled the coffee as I passed by multiple cafes. And, I succumbed to the strong pull of coffee. I decided to try it.
Sitting down long enough to pause, I realized that Florence is an aesthetically beautiful city. I could see stylishly dressed Italians whiz by on their Vespas. Little school children holding hands. Tourists taking photos of the duomo. And there I was wearing bright red lipstick, a black and white sleeveless Kate Spade sundress with my cute flats and sunglasses chillin’. I finally understand what the Italians were talking about. La Dolce Vida!!
The quality of the coffee in Europe seemed to taste much better than the coffee that I was used to sipping in America. If you drink good coffee, you only really need to drink one cup or maybe two cups. Do you really save time sipping your coffee out of a paper cup while driving or running to your next appointment? Multitasking is such a hurried American thing. I don’t even think I can taste my coffee if rushing around with a paper cup in my hand while talking on my iPhone.
My name is Nicole, and I have been addicted to coffee since 2008.
I am grateful that I learned how to appreciate good coffee. I make it a point to slowly drink my coffee. Sometimes back in the days of cubicle land, I would spend my lunch hour at a coffee shop. I would sip my skim cappuccino, read a good book or journal my thoughts, and eat the lunch I packed. That pause in my day sitting with my coffee became a selfcare ritual. That 15 minute cup of coffee or that 60 minute lunch break with coffee made me feel human again. It’s like that one hour prisoners are allowed to go outside and see the sunshine. There’s something that re-invigorates my soul when I take time out for myself.
On a day off, I always made it a point to deliver good cups of coffee to people. I made an effort drop off coffee to my boyfriend while he was working hard at an inner-city school, drop off coffee to my cousin working in the med center, or delivering coffee to a co-worker in need. Coffee is a sign of kindness.
I am now at the source.
Here in Guatemala, I am an entrepreneur teaching yoga and art and coaching others to discover their own creativity and implement positive changes in their lives. I’m grateful that I have created the space for myself to enjoy a good cup of coffee (or tea or even a green smoothie). Even if I didn’t work for myself, I still think it’s important to take a pause even if it’s for 15 minutes.
Having the opportunity to visit coffee farms, I have seen how coffee is made and why the volcanic terrain here produces the fertile soil for these coffee beans to grow. When you meet these farmers, you can tell they take great pride in their work. When I meet the baristas here, they are also happy to take the time to prepare the perfect cup of coffee for you. Maybe it’s all this time and thoughtful care that makes Guatemalan coffee taste so good. Or maybe it’s the time and thoughtful care that I have invested in myself that makes this coffee taste so delicious.