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The Venn Diagram of Joy

The other day we were able to go for a game drive in our province due to the relaxing of the covid-19 lockdown rules, while we were out there looking at the animals, I made some coffee and started thinking about happiness and joy.

I am going to be honest because from what I am hearing, we are all in the same boat here, I’m really struggling to find happiness at the moment due to life being so different.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there is research that says removing a source of happiness for a while can increase the perceived happiness when you have access to what brings you that happiness, but right now it kind of sucks!

So, I looked at what brings me happiness and placed those items into circles – family, people, coffee, adventure, mountains, delicious foods, whiskey etc. you get the idea. Then I looked at those circles and found that there were a few that overlapped and then looking at those closer and reflecting on times that those have overlapped I recalled being in blissful joy.

Take – coffee, adventures, people and mountains for example every time I have all 4 of those in my life, I am so content and happy! Family, food and whiskey – super happy.

This idea has stuck with me for a few days now, the idea that if I found more opportunities to intentionally intersect these areas of happiness, I could perpetually pursue eternal joy, well that might be a bit of an exaggeration but you get my point.

I have been thinking of all the places that I have had a coffee with people, here are a few that spring to mind – on Kilimanjaro, on a frozen river, on a frozen waterfall, in a plane, on a train, in a cave, on a boat, on a pyramid, in the desert, in countless parks, on the equator, in so many airports, in a canyon, on a hill in Ethiopia, on quite a few coffee farms, at home, on the side of the road and other places that I’m sure will come to me 5min after I press publish on this post. The point is that the places that I am mentioning and remembering here all have that magical moment where many points of happiness overlap in my life, I’m outdoors on an adventure with friends making coffee = joy!

If I were to take these findings and apply them to a day to day quest for joy I would need to make sure that I have a very simple way to make coffee at a moment’s notice, I will need to make sure that I have an adventure up my sleeve (even a park counts) and I will need to be able to make coffee for a few people at a time.

How do I go about doing this? The great thing about coffee is that it’s really easy to make with minimal tools and equipment so all we would really need is good coffee, hot water and a vessel to brew in and drink from.

When I pack for an adventure, these are the coffee tools that I take with –

We will need coffee obviously, fresh and delicious. You can either use pre-ground coffee or you will need to get a grinder. My general rule is that if I am going for a long weekend I will pre-grind my coffee and store it in an airtight container, more than 3 or 4 days and I’ll pack a grinder. For grinding coffee, I genuinely love the comandante hand grinder, you can get cheaper and lighter ones but they won’t grind with the same consistency.

Water and something to either keep the water hot or to make it hot. You are going to want good water, so you can either buy bottled water if you don’t have access to good water or you can filter it, I choose to filter when possible rather than buying water to try reduce waste. For filtering water, I use an MSR water worx for really bad water or a Brita Fill and Go for normal tap water.
I suggest and small camping stove and gas for boiling the water, just remember that you will need a kettle or pot to boil the water in. For keeping boiling water hot I use the Stanley flasks.

Something to brew the coffee in, this can be as complex and fragile as you like or as simple and robust as you like, take it from me though, you are going to want to use something light simple and strong when you doing this. Some great brewing devices that I love and use on the go are, the plastic Hario V60 2 cup, the AeroPress, the Planetary Design insulated French press, Bialetti moka pot, Delter press and the Miir pourigami. Keep in mind with these devices you will need something to brew into and they will need a filter of some kind, except for the moka pot and the French press. I normally brew into either a big mug or a stainless-steel jug, both work well but you can find what works for you.

A scale, this is not mandatory, but it will really make your life a bit more consistently delicious. Working out how much coffee to use to how much water accurately so that you can make it just right next time really helps. Failing this you can use a scoop or a spoon to measure the coffee and then eyeball the water, but honestly a scale will really make your coffee better. Look for something small accurate and light, a mistake I made recently though is getting one that only goes up to 200grams, aim for one that at least goes to 1kg.

A cup, I don’t really have much to add to this point except that I genuinely believe that your favorite cup/mug makes the coffee taste better. I use a plastic keepcup when I travel, or the Miir tumbler, but really use whatever you like.

Something to keep it all in, so you can grab it at a moment notice and make delicious coffee on an adventure.

So, this brings me back to my original point, joy is possible, sometimes you just need to look for it at the bottom of a coffee cup with a bunch of mates on a mountain.

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