Need a hobby?
Those in the know will tell you that life is about balancing that which tends to take the most time – work – with that which is important – family, health, exercise, and learning new skills, to name a few. Hobbies are a perfect way to distract yourself from the stresses of work, and affords you with an opportunity to learn new things. The challenge is often in selecting a hobby – it cannot ‘steal’ away too much time from the other important things.
Intertwining your hobby with other parts of your life; that will work, right? Millions of people have made coffee their livelihood, but not a lot of people has made it their hobby, despite coffee ticking all the boxes. We name a few reasons why we believe coffee can make a great hobby.
``The Siphon or Vacuum Pot can take a bit of getting used to, but is an exciting way to brew coffee. ``
History and Complexity
Coffee is rumoured to have been discovered in Ethiopia by a goatherder who saw his goats frolicking around energetically after eating coffee beans. From there coffee spread across the globe to where it is today, a highly traded commodity with an estimate of about 2.5 billion cups of coffee drunk daily.
Coffee, like wine, has specific regions each with its own tastes and characteristics. These regions are mostly found between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, and mostly in Third World Countries, attributing to a history on inequality in coffee trade, too. Anything from the weather and altitude to processing methods plays a role in how your coffee reaches you, and there is lots to learn in-between. You can even combine a love of travel with visiting the mysterious countries where coffee is grown. From a content perspective, coffee offers unlimited learning opportunities
Unlike wine, coffee gives you the opportunity to experiment to no end to try and obtain the perfect cup. Brewing methods range from the Plunger to Pour-over, Aeropress, Syphon, or bean-to-cup machines. The machines, and the roasting machines, too, sometimes remind of old-school motorcycles or mini steam trains – all chrome and copper and gauges and steam. There also the grinders – hand grinders with porcelain burrs and stainless-steel designs, or highly electronic and accurate. So are the measuring equipment – to get the correct amount of coffee and water… and we haven’t touched on the kettles yet!
Yup, more than enough gadgets to keep anyone entertained. The truth? The same coffee, grinded differently and brewed differently, tastes completely different to each another. If you enjoy gadgets and experimentation, coffee will not disappoint.
The whole family can join in
Unlike wine, golf, hunting or scrapbooking, everyone can partake. No, the kids should not be drinking coffee, but nothing stops them from grinding, weighing and brewing. When you visit a roaster, there is most often baby-chinos on the menu, as well as a vast array of eats. We paid a visit to Truth Roasters in Cape Town recently, and my 4-year old absolutely loved the vibe. At Wings Coffee Roasters in Stellenbosch, the kids hooked up with mates and was pellet-gun shooting in no time. I love it, my husband loves it, and it gives the family something to do together.
Coffee won’t necessarily break the bank. Yes, a decent bean-to-cup machine starts at R10 000. Once you start learning about coffee, you will quickly realize that the R200 plunger is an underrated way of brewing coffee, and that the Aeropress at about R600 probably affords you the best cup of home brewed coffee combined with simplicity of use. Coffee itself need not cost you more than R250 a kilogram. That will work out to about R5 a cup. Considering everything it can give you in return, coffee can fit in well on any budget.
You can take coffee anywhere. Love camping? Put the Moka pot on the fire or gas stove. Love traveling? Visit a coffee producing country, or just the local coffee spot. Guaranteed you will meet interesting people there! Working long hours? 5 minutes away from your desk allows you to brew a great cup of coffee, and serves to distract and refresh you. Taking the family on a picnic – great coffee rounds off a meal. Inviting friends over? Why not do a quick cupping instead of just drinking coffee with the milk tart. No matter what the other aspects of your life is, coffee can easily fit it.
Learning and enjoying coffee
The topic of coffee can be as complex as you would like to make it. Luckily there are a number of courses, some online, that can teach you anything from the history of coffee, to coffee appreciation, to becoming a home or professional barista. The experimentation and getting used to the taste of great coffee also comes with time. Has the bean been roasted too dark, too light? Do you taste roses, or strawberries, lime or sage? The coffee flavour wheel contains hundreds of possibilities, and learning to discern these can become a delightful journey across time and space.
Although growing in numbers, not a lot of people has made coffee a hobby yet. The number of people who will only drink good coffee is increasing, but spending time with coffee allows you to easily become an expert on the topic. As your knowledge develop, so does the lingo. Others recognize this quickly, and suddenly opportunities to discuss and share your hobby with others start to grow. This often not only inspires others, but also inspires you to learn even more about your topic.
Coffee can be something you drink in the mornings to get a caffeine fix, almost in the same way as some students drink anything alcoholic not for the taste but for the effect, or it can afford the opportunity to learn a new skill and hobby, without necessarily breaking the bank or taking away time from other important things. Need a new hobby? Why not coffee!