The Genuine Sanctity of a Coffee Ritual

Early morning coffee ritual

It was August 2020, classes had just begun. I woke up at 5:30 am so I could leave the house by 6:30 in order to make the 76 mile trek north to teach my 8:00 am class. In years past, I would get into the car, turn on the previous night’s Rachel Maddow show (on Apple podcasts) and make the drive with coffee in hand. Now, if you’ve ever taught with me or taken one of my classes before 9:00 am you know that I always have coffee in one hand ready to fuel the lecture or the rehearsal. However, this year the caffeinated beverage in the classroom policy turned a little south.

Since we are required (rightfully so!) to wear masks while teaching, I could not and cannot sip coffee while I teach in the classroom. There is also a no food or drink in the classroom policy. It has been a huge adjustment. This has been a years long ritual for me–coffee in the classroom. So, it is shocking to teach on campus without being able to sip some caffeinated joy.

7:00 am classes require caffeine

For example, some of my fondest memories of teaching at Strake Jesuit include Guillermo bringing me a bag of interesting coffee every few weeks. There wasn’t a day I didn’t roll up to orchestra rehearsal (around 7:00 am y’all) without coffee in tow.

But really? How can one conduct a rehearsal or sectional without proper caffeination? One time one of the violinists told me I was a zombie before the caffeine kicked in. I’ll never forget that. Made me laugh, but ponder as well.

Leisurely Coffee mornings

When not teaching early morning classes, I like to have leisure coffee. I don’t like to rush making it or enjoying it. It’s a sacred time in the morning. 

Fast forward to today

So fast forward to October 2020. Our favorite coffee is Katz Black Diamond Double Dark. Tragically, the grocery stores we usually frequent have not had fresh roasted Kartz BDDD in months. Sadly, the most recent we could find in store was roasted in August. This will not do. You see, dark roasted coffee like the one we like loses its liveliness more quickly than some other beans. Unfortunately, over the last few weeks we noticed our coffee wasn’t tasting just right. First, we thought it was our coffee maker, so we cleaned it. Didn’t do the trick. Next, we busted out the press again. Coffee wouldn’t bloom. So, we’ve been on a quest for fresh roasted dark beans. Given our work schedules, we weren’t able to go to Katz until today. We figured, if we can’t get the freshness at our local grocery store, we will go to the source.

WHY DIDN’T WE DO THIS SOONER? That is my only question. 

This morning we visiting Katz Coffee. Honestly, it was life changing. The guy working this morning was unbelievably nice and knowledgeable. We told him our sad tale of grocery store woes and he recommended we get the 2lb bag. He wasn’t wrong. We also tried a cappuccino made with their Eureka Mexico Organic Ojo de Agua. Delicious.


At home this morning, before venturing on this quest we made a pot of Katz Bayou Blend. It was very good, but we are more into dark dark roast coffees. However, we took home the cappuccino and then took a sip of the Bayou Blend to compare. Woah! They both tasted totally different. After the cappuccino the Bayou Blend took on a completely different flavor profile. It was smoky and amazing. 

Looking forward

While we haven’t opened up our new giant bag of Black Diamond, we are really excited about adding a new step to the coffee acquisition ritual. 

Now, I still cannot drink coffee while teaching in the classroom anymore, but I feel better knowing my ritual can take on new life at home for leisure coffee, and in the car on the commute.

Hear more of the story on Wednesday

To hear more about our coffee struggles and triumphs, check out this week’s episode of Pivot Party. On Wednesday, October 28, Episode 8: “Craving Good Coffee” will be available at 10:00 CST on all major podcast platforms. You can also find it here on the podcast page under community.