Artisanal Coffee as the New Morning Ritual

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The creator of this coffee maker—sorry, “fully integrated pour over brew system”—pitched me yesterday. It’s a machine that grinds and brews a single cup of coffee at a time, with the option to operate it from your iPhone. That’s it. The Kickstarter page enumerates the many problems with more traditional forms of brewing coffee.

Seems like a cool tool, if you’re particular about your morning joe.

Mostly it just reminded me of how the proliferation of these devices—along with Chemex and other drippers and decanters, K-cups, and the now-ubiquitous espresso—speaks to the way coffee has morphed from a utilitarian drink to a personalized morning meditation of sorts. Personally, I don’t care how my coffee tastes as long as it’s caffeinated and in my face within 15 minutes of waking up. But it’s amazing to watch people who really love this stuff go about their delicate caffeination ceremonies.

Maybe eventually it will become a new kind of unisex morning ritual, thus ending the reign of makeup.