Published on May 13, 2020

My love of coffee goes back a long time, when, at around age 8, I spent my pocket change on a couple of java-flavored cookies from a local bakery on my walk home from school. It wasn’t until a few years later, at 14, that I was officially allowed to sip the brew. Now in my mid-20s, I remain devoted to my morning cup. But a recent purchase has completely changed the way I enjoy it.

I debated Hay’s mint-hued Sowden coffeepot, designed by George Sowden, for a month or two before I finally decided to splurge on it in mid-March, having then settled into my first week of isolation. For the past five years, I’ve been otherwise devoted to my Chemex—a low-tech, high-reward system that always helped me make a perfect pour-over with ease. Years before that, I used a Keurig (which I shifted away from for sustainability reasons), and before then, my parents’ no-frills, single-cup Mr. Coffee machine. 

The problem I always had, though, was that I never just wanted one cup of coffee. I’d made a habit of drinking my first while getting ready in the morning and making a second as soon as I got to the office. Working from home, I needed to figure out a different routine. I knew I could very well just make a larger batch in my Chemex, but the thought of waiting even longer for the hot water to seep through my reusable coffee filter and the prospect of the brew turning cold quickly made me less than excited. With the Sowden pot, I reasoned, I could make one large pot in the morning that I could enjoy for the first few hours of the day, pouring it out bit by bit and reheating mug as I work through it (I may be a snob about my freshly ground coffee beans, but I’m fine with a bit of microwaving).

I start my days around the same time I would if I still had to make my 40-minute subway commute to the office, but now my mornings have a far more relaxed feel. I make toast from the bread I baked over the weekend while listening to What a Day, and fill this coffeepot to the brim with near-boiling water. Once it’s been steeped for about four to five minutes, I remove the filter, rinse out the grinds, and settle back in my room, where I spend the next hour or so taking Duolingo lessons, reading, watching an episode of Mad Men, or working on my crochet project.

Before, my morning coffee was all about function—a necessary tool to wake me up and get me started on something productive. But now it’s a way for me to start the day gradually, with something warm in hand and refills guaranteed. And that’s not something I’ll take for granted.

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