coffee tray

To say that I was having a hard year in 2016 is an understatement. My stress level was so high that my husband sent me to the doctor to make sure that I was not about to have a heart attack. I had to sit down and reevaluate my days and the flow of my weeks. I had to pare down to only what was necessary. I asked myself a question:

What one thing can I do to have a better day, everyday?

I thought about it, prayed about it, made lists. I was reading books about the Swedish art of hygge and dreaming of the warm feel that a good cup of coffee, a roaring fire and soft slippers give on a cold morning. I was reading that book as I had my cup of coffee from one of those single serve coffee makers.  The inspiration I took from reading about hygge made me look more deeply at that cup of coffee that started my day.

I was looking for a feeling and a ritual that started my day well. I needed a way to say to myself that no matter what goes wrong today, this moment is good. We were deep into the greatest trial of our lives. The unexpected was looming over us at all times. It was truly oppressive and I just needed one tangible unquestionable anchor in my day. I was reading a beautiful copy of the book of Psalms everyday like my life depended on it, because it did. There was deep work happening in my soul and I needed something similar to hold onto in the physical world. I treasured this beautiful book and read it each day, how could that translate to a cup of coffee?

Ordering a pour over or a french press made by a qualified professional never failed to be the best. So I started to research making pour over coffee with the hope that the intentional practice of one great cup of coffee, from grinding my own beans and heating just enough water would be the one thing that would start my day with the little bit of tangible goodness, I craved. The thoughtful action and the waiting for each step was like a liturgy that started my day with sounds, smells and tastes of good things that God had made.

And the peace it worked into my morning filtered down to the rest of my day. I have never been one that needed my cup of coffee for the caffeine. I really love the smell, the taste and the feel of a warm mug in my hand. It takes only a few minutes to make a coffee-house coffee in my kitchen. It became a ritual filled with so much meaning for me. I really would sit in my quiet kitchen and read and sip and as I finished both and began the day that would be hard, I could say, “No matter what happens, no matter who calls, no matter what news is delivered, this was a good moment. Thank You God, for this moment.” Day by day, sip by sip, I found myself crawling out of the dark hole of dread.

Are you struggling? I encourage you to find one thing of beauty to help you make it through a difficult time. Just one, maybe it is fresh-cut flowers, bakery bread or taking time to soak in the tub. If it is coffee here is a list of my recommendations for equipment you will need.

Here is what you need for a pour over:

Good coffee beans, I use whole beans and grind them right before I pour the water over them. You can bring home ground coffee, but the whole beans ground fresh will give you the best flavor. You have plenty of time to grind your beans while you heat your coffee so you might as well grind your beans each morning and the let the aroma of the beans become part of the physical practice that brings you to be present in this moment.

I usually brew a french roast or a dark roast like this one:


A grinder:


A ceramic coffee dripper: (this one comes with filters)

A goose-neck hot pot:


A french press might be your favorite:


Maybe you are fine with the single cup coffee maker. This is the one brand that delivered the best flavor consistently.


Here is a great tutorial on the science of pour over coffee:

Beginners Guide to pour over Coffee

Video Tutorial for making a pour over

Books that will minister to you as you drink your coffee:

This is the stack of books I accumulated at that time. I often did not have my own words to pray so I prayed the prayers of others and they carried me through and filled my heart when I did not know what to say to God.

coffee cup on stack of books

The Valley of Vision– I like this leather-bound copy

Every Moment Holy  By Douglas McKelvey

A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie

This is the copy of The Book of Psalms that I love.  I have given this book so many time.

What one thing can you do to have a better day?