I’ve been thinking about the topic for this post since late 2019. I’ve even drafted something, but reading through that now it doesn’t capture the message I really want to put out to everyone who reads this blog. So this is an entirely new draft of an idea I have been thinking about for a long time: Your coffee is loud not strong.
Bitterness, oh sweet bitterness
I have an officemate that everyone in the team calls “the coffee guy”. Well technically I’m his boss, and he spends more time with his team because I’m spread out more, but he’s his team’s coffee guy. This dude buys pre-ground coffee from the grocery, brews a four person batch in a French press, and proceeds to let the grounds sit in the water for hours until he finishes the entire thing. Of course it’s bitter, of course it’s dirty, but since he downs this concoction without any sweeteners or creamers, he’s labeled as “the coffee guy”.
I sounded bitter there, didn’t I? I’m really not. I’m more fascinated how the group thinks the strength of the coffee lies on how bitter it is. Expand that. How often do you hear people thinking coffee needs to be extra bitter to be strong? It’s in a freaking instant coffee commercial! Well, to be fair, they did say “coffee doesn’t need to be bitter to be strong” but then screws it all up by presenting a coffee mix full of sugar, creamer, and whatever else ingredients they add to those things (read this).
Doing what I do best, stretching that topic to real life, My theory as to why most of us think that way about strong coffee is because of how we perceive confidence. Specifically, how we choose leaders based on their confidence.
Really think about this: when you think about a confident person, you imagine that person to be loud, an extrovert. I’m correct, aren’t I? This isn’t just applicable to the Philippines; it’s prevalent throughout the whole world. The easiest manifestation of confidence for most is being loud. However, we often times forget something: being loud is also a manifestation of insecurity. It’s also used as a defense mechanism, so that the person won’t seem weak.
Say it loud enough so that the people at the back can hear it
You see this throughout your life: The Classmate who always hammed it up to the teacher; the office mate who always had to make everyone know they’re working to get promoted; majority of Politicians. They are loud, everybody notices them, everyone gravitates toward them because they’re larger than life, and they are somebody they wish they could be: oozing confidence – all because they’re loud.
So what is true confidence? Being loud is still part of that, but that’s not the only thing. It’s entering into anything fully knowing you’re prepared for whatever happens. It’s about doing what you know you need to do without caring about what other people think about you. It’s about being intimidated but using that feeling to drive you to be better. It’s about being comfortable in yourself, not needing others to validate you. It’s about doing whatever the loud ones are doing because it feels good, but also being fine doing something different because it makes no difference to you.
If you have to let people know who you are, what you do, so that you can “win” in any situation, you’re being loud. I’m not invalidating whatever you have achieved, especially you worked hard for that, but invoking it often to show everybody how good, how confident, you are means you are being loud.
And we are all guilty of this, because it’s hard to be truly confident all the time. Also, you cannot control everything. You can try to control the narrative about you all the time, but other people will always have their own opinion of you, and you don’t have time to approach them one-by-one to change it. So there are times when it’s easier to just be loud, but even then you can’t please everybody (I’m one of them).
What does this have to do with coffee?
It’s hard to get coffee perfect, especially if you’re not trained properly. It’s so easy for coffee to come out as some overly bitter sludge, because it’s easier to be that. It’s also easier to pander to most of the people by giving them what they perceive as the perfect cup of coffee: black and bitter.
You may say I’m reaching here, and you’re not half wrong. It’s a stretch to say how a bitter coffee is correlates to how some people spew bullshit to seem confident, but I really believe that. Well, gravitating towards the louder ones is somewhat due to human instinct but we can combat that by being informed. And that’s exactly what this is: misinformation.
If you are informed, you won’t take someone telling you your coffee has to be absolutely bitter to be perfectly strong at face value. You won’t work all your life only knowing that you have to be the loudest one in the office to be successful (though that depends on which department you are on). You don’t need to come out pandering to the masses just to get votes but can’t do anything diplomatic as a politician.
True confidence is like a properly brewed cup of not at all bitter coffee, without anything thing added to it, knowing fully well that you’re going to jolt whoever oblivious schmuck that will drink you into another time zone. True confidence is not following what everyone else thinks they need to do to get ahead, knowing fully well that you’ll get ahead of them by actually working while they tap themselves on the back for something shallow. True confidence is having a coffee blog knowing fully well you only know how to drink coffee and write rhetoric – wait, does that make me just loud?
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Categories: thoughts with kape