How Coffee Made Me A More Mindful Materialist


I’m a homebody by nature—as such, I’ve learned two key elements of that part of my personality over then near-decade I’ve had my own space— first, I’m a sucker for really nice things, and second, if it makes what’s between my walls feel more like a sanctuary I never want to leave, it’s totally worth it.

I inherited this from my mom,  Janet, who has always been a home-based, bargain queen— outfitting our old house with expensive goods that she procured at incredible deals; ones that made our home feel so deliberately designed for our family. Through watchful eyes, I’ve developed her keen ability over the years to put it all together with such care.

It was never about purchasing in a purely materialistic way, but curating happiness at home through thoughtful items. Perfecting  Janet’s sensible approach, I continuously try to be mindful of and ultra-thankful for my ‘upgrades’ over time and, in turn, utilize more practicality in purchasing the everyday objects that fit alongside that big stuff— instead of buying frivolously.

Each year, I consider what objects I feel would enhance in my life and begin to budget them in, if all goes well financially. Five years ago, I chose my coffee routine.  After reading Allen Watts’ Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life— I was changed by a singular quote from that series of talks, “Instant coffee is punishment for people in too much of a hurry.”

I threw away my instant coffee maker that day and bought my first French press. From then on, instead of my morning routine a meaningless activity, I began to use the moment time to reflect, be present and thankful. Mindfully aware of tiny fractures of time and thoughtful about the items incorporated in them— do they bring me a little bit of happiness?

The French press switch started it all— eventually, I found a long-term bean grinder I love; discovered Stumptown and Blue Bottle, my personal favorites; collected individual pieces which have now become a beautiful serving set. I created meaning from a seemingly mindless task by giving myself enough time and being thankful for the luxury of having the right tools.

Finding pleasure in nice things isn’t something to feel guilty about— your self-worth will never be derived by the ‘stuff’ you’ve accumulated, of course, but I find that, too often, we’re made to feel badly about treating ourselves. Having elements at home that give us joy— in a Marie Kondo kind-of-way— is important to our overall well-being. 

My unexpected awakening came from coffee— you assuredly have a wake-up call in your life too; one probably in a seemingly mundane routine that could actually have a tremendous impact on your life. Give yourself a little more time, pay attention to the details— and don’t punish yourself; you’ll assuredly see a shift.

x Kate