Coffee: A Catalyst for Community and a Stimulus to Slow Down
The idea of Daily Grind started about 10 minutes before the instagram page went live. I had two bags of coffee for two friends and one small bag of coffee with nobody's name on it. So I decided to put a story up, asking if anyone wanted a free bag of coffee…I should have expected quite a few people to respond…it was free coffee after all.
When I seen the response, I went down to my brother who does graphic design, at 11pm and asked him about making me a logo. Within 10 minutes, a logo was made and the wearedailygrind page was up and ongoing. Now truth be told, this was somewhat of a piss take, just expecting a few mates to link in about free coffee to keep spirits high over lockdown. However as more and more people began to inquire about this free coffee and if it was a scam or not (lol) I had to reflect on what daily grind was and decide how this would be sustainable. In the 4 months that followed 10 kilos of coffee, from 7 different roasteries, was given out to 100 plus people and hundreds of pounds placed into the coffee industry in Northern Ireland. However, I learnt two main things that are far more important than these figures. Daily Grind was a catalyst for community in the middle of a time of lockdown. I was forming new relationships with people from within coffee culture, roasters and cafe owners: people I knew from times of old, old friendships renews and new friendships formed. Although I wasn’t able to meet with friends in a coffee shop or pop round to a mates and brew up, coffee continued to be a catalyst for community. There are two particular stories which highlight this. Firstly when an individual messaged requesting coffee, not for himself, but for his friend who was feeling the mental strain of lockdown. A few days later the friend who received the coffee messaged the page and we chatted for good while about coffee and met up to swap coffee bags. The second story was of two neighbours who messaged the page separately and had coffee delivered on the same day. In the height of lockdown, they sat outside their houses and enjoyed a socially distance cup of coffee over lockdown. Coffee is our culture's catalyst for community. Coffee has also been a stimulus for me to slow down during the daily grind of life. This might not make sense initially, how does caffeine slow you down? Some of the most peaceful times I had over lockdown was when I got up early enough to make a coffee before work, or grabbed a coffee at Percys in Hillsborough park and took a walk, or more recently went to a coffee shop by myself and slowed down long enough to become attentive to the here and now. For me, coffee acts as that stimulus to slow down from the daily grind of life. So brew up and slow down guys. So in the middle of the daily grind remember to make room for community and time to slow down. Also have fun with coffee and don’t take it too seriously. Love and peace Daily grind