Life is good, isn’t it? And it is the small thoughtful details that make it good. Here are some pillars and small habits that raise the quality of a coffee farmer’s life and can do as much good to yours.
Follow the natural rhythm of the day
There's a pride in being hardworking and dedicated. We praise people willing to stay up at night and burn the late night candle in an attempt to be prolific. While there is merit to this, as a habit, staying up working until late hours is more likely going to have a negative impact on your quality of life.
There's no question about the pressures to be prolific at a coffee farm. Every pound of coffee picked, rinsed, and pulverized represents an exact amount of revenue. The pressure to optimize manual labor is at a constant high. But at the farms, work is only carried out between sunrise and sunset. The rhythm of work is determined by nature and the farmers work in sync. After all, we are part of nature.
Perhaps this is unavoidable as the farms are engrained to the mountains. The chores to be done are determined by the season, and the work hours are established by the sun. However, in other regions of the world like Scandinavia, the sun may not even rise for months, but people try their best to keep routines and normal work hours for their own benefit, as it is proven that the natural rhythm is as beneficial to humans as it is to plants and animals.
Order is a virtue and while staying up at night may be productive, the consequences of sleep deprivation will make anyone less prolific the next day. And that's the important thing, professional success is not built over one all-nighter, but over a lifetime of fruitfulness. At the coffee farms, waking up at 6am and ending the workday at sunrise, followed by family dinners and good company is the pillar of success.
Business highly depends on the proper management of resources and our time and mental health is a crucial element of personal and professional success.
Coffee growers do not walk to work with a coffee-filled tumbler in hand. Even less, they do not work with coffee at hand. Instead, coffee is a treat to be enjoyed while on break. Given how long a work day at the farm can be (read: waking up around 4am, so you can be ready to collect beans as soon as the sun rises), a break to sit down, have a hearty lunch, and top it with a tinto, is a quite comfortable mid-day break. It is energizing and it helps with digestion. That is exactly what the body would naturally crave and need at that point of the day.
There is something universally positive about a cup of coffee after lunch. The habit is not only practiced by rural farmers growing their own beans but it is also a must do for fine dining restaurants, where one will always be offered a coffee or tea after a meal. For these restaurants, coffee after a meal is a way to cleanse the palette and curve the appetite. It takes a while for the brain to recognize that we are full. That is why it is often advised to eat slowly and stop eating before we are over satisfied.
Coffee farms are closely knit communities with ties to family and people who feel as family, given that they are located in remote locations and people rarely move. That does not mean there is peace and harmony among all, but it does mean that when one fights, one has to work it out. It is not so easy to simply avoid the person or situation. Instead, the virtues of charity, honesty, and forgiveness must be at practice. Without them, the community suffers and consequently so does the business.
Take space whenever needed, but don’t lose people foolishly. People are of innate value regardless of their errors and shortcomings. So next time you hit the wrong note with someone, make them a cup of their favorite brew, mail them a coffee bag with a thoughtful note, and make sure they know you are still aware of their worth.
The golden rule is always golden at these farms. Do to others as you'd like done to you.
A Morning Routine
I only stopped drinking coffee during my morning commute because it was becoming difficult to hold on the train rail with one hand, travel mug on the other, and little room for reaction in case of a sharp turn or stop. Eventually I decided to do what any well being coach would say: wake up early and have a morning routine. The positive impact of a morning ritual is an accepted fact. It tunes your body and mind for the day and increases your ability to focus and perform better at pretty much everything. There is no perfect routine, it is a matter of finding what works for you and your day, but I’ve found that making sure I wake up thirty minutes early so I can enjoy my coffee in peace and quiet alone or sometimes with a book has improved the quality of my life. If you are into journaling, this is a good time to write down the things you are grateful for and list your goals and priorities for the day.
In the desire to become a better person day by day and enjoy the simple things in life, these three pillars can make a big difference. Big change often starts small and details are worth more than what they seem, so start this new year with a more intentional life so coffee may not be just another item in your shopping list, but a daily opportunity to regain strength, inspiration, and kindness for yourself and those around you.
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