When I was young, each one of my parents enrolled me to two summer sports camps: My mother picked swimming lessons and my father picked tennis lessons. I’ll tell you why at the end of this post and believe me you’ll want to know why (it’s good). Of course, I must connect that to coffee first somehow.
I wrote this article about two months ago but that the thought of that piece was more general, now I’m just here to tell you: stop suggesting the V60 to those who are just starting to brew coffee on their own. I know it’s probably easy to use for you now, not to mention being pretty fun to brew with, but it’s not easy to make coffee with a V60, innit?
Nope, not yet time to tell you the reason why they enrolled me to swimming and tennis camps, but I will now make an analogy between sports camps and coffee brewing. What do you think was the first thing that the swimming instructor (we called him coach) taught us? The freestyle stroke? Kicking in the water? Bubbles. He made us do bubbles underwater. How about tennis (which was in a Milo Tennis camp)? Did we learn how to develop our powerful forehand immediately? Dribbling. We were asked to control the ball with our racquets (yes, I had my own racquets). In short, we were taught the basics.
See when you watch Michael Phelps you want to imitate him. Same goes for Roger Federer (sorry, I haven’t watched these sports in a long time). But you can’t do what they do without knowing the basics. The bubbles helped us understand breathing while swimming, made us comfortable being underwater. The dribbling of the tennis balls improved hand-eye coordination. I never attended a basketball camp, but I do love playing the sport. I learned the basics from our school’s PE (gym) class: how to control the ball with your fingertips.
If you don’t learn how to breathe properly, you will drown; if you don’t establish hand-eye coordination, you will find it difficult to control where the ball is going, heck you might even find it hard to hit the ball at all. The professionals that were paid to teach these kids the basics had a crucial and complicated task: forget the advanced skill they’ve learnt and teach the very basic things. See, if they thought us the advanced stuff first, most of us wouldn’t get it. Also, those who did somehow get it, would only know how to do it that way, which is even worse – that would have been talent not fully taken advantage of. See, knowing the basics gives you a foundation and it’s this foundation that you always go back to when you want to adjust something in the future.
So why would you suggest a V60 to someone, who has little to no idea on how to brew coffee on their own, as their first brewer? Do you realize that most of the things that make brewing with it “fun” for you are actually what makes brewing with this funnel looking thing complex? To stick with the sports camp analogies, why would throw a newbie in the deep end of the pool? Why would you ask someone who has not handled a racquet to receive a ball coming at them at a dangerous speed?
Help them understand coffee first. Most of them are probably coming from instant coffee mixes of the Frappuccino’s, so they have to see the difference between good coffee and the commercial stuff first. Pre-ground coffee, from a quality source, paired with a French press is a good and economical start in a specialty coffee journey. If they really like it, then they can explore more gear in the future and actually appreciate the upgrade.
Still here? Hope you didn’t cheat and skipped everything. As promised:
• My father never told me why he enrolled me to tennis classes, but he did have equipment at home. Turns out he played tennis in one of his work assignments back in the 80’s and I guess he wanted his son to experience it. See, my father really never liked to tell me things which kind of helped me analyze things. The hand-eye coordination from the tennis classes, however, still helps me to this day like when I flip my smartphone up in the air and always catch it.
• My mother enrolled me to swimming classes because it floods in Cainta – I swear this was her reason. If shit hits the fan, I would swim to one of the water towers in the village or to the roof. The highest we encountered was Ondoy in 2009, but we still got it lucky. The flood water barely reached the second floor of the house, but I did have to swim through the flooded ground floor to switch off the circuit breaker before it got submerged. Of course I didn’t breathe underwater during that, but I did apply another basic: calmly dog paddling. I also use these swimming skills during vacations.
Did I oversell the stories? Plausible, whatever. I know we all have increased knowledge about brewing coffee at home now, but please hold back from inundating someone with all that while forgetting that they need to learn the basics first as well. By basic, I mean as a casual brewer at home. I have no idea what basics are taught to professional baristas.
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Categories: thoughts with kape