Taking Time: The High Calling of Coffee

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Taking Time: The High Calling of Coffee

There's no doubt about it: David Blanchard pours a mean cup of coffee. For him, though, coffee roasting is about more than providing a caffeine fix. It's about understanding God and His creation a little better, from bean to cup. It's about paying attention, which Simone Weil once called the rarest and purest form of generosity, and the foundation of honest prayer.

Most of us probably don't associate coffee with slowing down; usually, at least for me, it's quite the opposite. I tend to see it the same way I often see food, especially when I'm in a hurry—something to give me a jump start on the day, something to keep me going—and honestly, that's usually all that it is. We tend to find what we're looking for, whatever else might be there.

But David, when he looks at a cup of coffee, when he smells the dried coffee berries roasting, when he rolls the beans between his fingers, sees something different. He sees the result of hours of careful labor, the work of sun, rain, and a farmer's hands, and of his own—and maybe, when the coffee's poured, the chance of a few minutes of peace in the middle of a hectic day. For him, making coffee means making time.

What might our days look like if we did the same? If you're like me, time may not mean a whole lot before your first cup of coffee. Fair enough. But paying attention to the goodness of creation—of which a well-roasted, perfectly brewed cup of coffee is most definitely part—is something we can do any time of day. We're surrounded with gifts … of other people's time, labor, and creativity, and, ultimately, the unending labor of God in fostering the goodness of the world He has made. Gratitude is a natural response to beauty—if we can take the time to appreciate it.

That's why I'm glad there are people like David to remind me of how beautiful a cup of coffee can be … or a piece of furniture, or a well-tended landscape.

We're also grateful for Nathan Clarke, who is responsible for this video, the two linked above, and a whole lot more of our favorite films on work and faith.