Mind & Body Mastery for Sports, Music and Life – SAKHAROFF.COM

Hara training – Aikido techniques for making coffee

It drives me crazy! Every time i make espresso in my old coffee maker i spill precious drops on the kitchen table while pouring coffee in the cup…

Should I replace my classic italian Bialetti stove top brewer with a smart (and drip-free) coffee machine?

Timing is crucial
As the owner of  small coffee roastery Coffee Collective in the middle of Copenhagen, World Barista Champion Klaus Thomsen once told me: “When you hear the first sounds of steam gurgling in your old espresso maker, don’t leave it on the stove any longer – pour your espresso in the cup. If you hesitate, the coffee aroma will be totally waisted”.

I followed this masters advice scrupulously – as well as other guidelines of the old style stove top espresso brewing. In fact, since I first heard barista’s advice, I’ve always been very effective at immediately removing the brewer from the stove and pouring coffee in the cup.

Speedy Gonzales
My effectiveness had one drawback though. Coffee drops, and sometimes coffee puddles on my kitchen table. Why? Because all my movements were simply too fast! Removing from the stove was too fast, pouring in the cup was too fast. The lid of the brewer would always tilt dripping – often flooding my kitchen table with coffee. I used to clean the table in a hurry, grab my coffee cup – and only then relax and enjoy.

One point brewing and driving
I noticed that I used to be more concerned with  following barista’s advice meticulously – than paying attention to my way of doing it, the process itself. Once acknowledging this flaw, I decided to make it better – and different. Actually, I decided to extend my coffee brewing experience into training of relaxed concentration. Just as I try do with my other daily routines – from shaving to driving.

Stillness in action of brewing
And here comes the long-awaited connection between aikido and the life-giving scent of freshly brewed coffee 🙂
Well, maybe not only Aikido. There’s also a bit of inspiration from the Japanese tea ceremony i once experienced. Here we proceed a bit faster though. Just heard Speedy Gonzales say “Thanks God”..

1. We start by washing the brewer – in case it still contains the rests of your previous Speedy-brewing.
Don’t hurry, just relax your shoulders, disassemble and wash the parts – slowly. Relax in your abdomen. Don’t force the exhale, just let it happen by relaxing the abdominal muscles.

2. Grind the beans, in the manual – now we are talking real old style – or in electrical grinder. Enjoy the consciousness of the process, slowly unfolding the power of coffee. Sense your breathing. Make it shallow.

3. Pour the cold water inside the brewer, insert the filter part and put the ground coffee inside of it. Screw the top tightly. Sense your body weight in your abdomen.

4. Put the brewer on the stove. Wait. It takes between 3 and 5 minutes depending on the size of your brewer. Now give your beloved one a long kiss. Just beside the stove.

5. When you hear the gurgling sound of steam, immediately move the brewer off the stove. Do not just move – but be aware of your movement.
No hurry! Make the movement resolute – but not hasty.

6. Pour the coffee into your favourite cup – tilting the brewer slightly. No hurry! Again – make the movement resolute, not hasty.

7. Enjoy – you fully deserve it 😉

Bialetti or Pezzetti?
It’s called coffee maker, stovetop moca maker, coffee brewer, percolator – you can find both the old italian originals by Bialetti or Pezzetti, but also the chinese copies. They can make both espresso and plain coffee.  I own to different sizes, bought used for 2 dollars (10 DKK) in the local flea market in Nødebo were I live.

So think twice before you invest in one of the smart modern machines with readymade coffee tablets.
The old classic stove top coffee maker can truly enhance your life!

The art of relaxed concentration
One point, hara, living silence, stillness in action. This lovely state of relaxed concentration with no stress attached has many names.

In many eastern traditions as f.ex. in China or Japan this powerful ability is achieved slowly by learning from a master. In Japan the word Dojo stands for “the place of the way”, the sacred place where the practitioners of any art, be it martial art like Aikido or the art of flower arrangement, dedicate themselves to the practice of their artful skill. And by learning from the master to fully give in to the process they also learn something very special they can use in any life circumstances – the art of relaxed concentration.

The inner dojo
But what if you are too busy to have a dojo in your life? Is there any way of training this powerful skill outside the dojo?
Well.. Now you know how to practice it while making coffee!

But what about using your own body to practice the art of relaxed concentration – throughout the day?
The answer is – inner dojo! I’ll write an article about this topic.

Stay tuned!

Respectfully, the old-time espresso lover
Misha Sakharoff

Should I post the guidelines of stove top coffee brewing, as told by Klaus Thomsen, World Barista Champion?
Please comment and I’ll take the action 😉

Some of my other articles about one pointed attention:

Mental training by relaxed concentration – while making love?
How vs. What – the happy power of staying in hara
On Ki/ 1 – Dead vs. Living Stillness – Can You Win the Battle?
Stress – head-based motivation of goals vs. integrated inspiration of process
Deadlines and stress – how is your belly supposed to feel?


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