A Curious Fact
Coffee professionals are often asked how many cups they consume in a given day. If you aren't one of them (and haven't ever asked the question) the answer may surprise you. Does a single cup per day seem crazy? It is actually pretty common for this to be the case. Some prefer as few as 5 ounces while others may consume as many as 12, but rarely do you find a specialty coffee pro who is drinking cup after cup as one might imagine. Why is this?
Knowing more about something you consume allows you to be satisfied with less. There is no question that we are satisfied on one level by consuming the things we enjoy. It is also undeniable that when we enjoy something, we become curious about it. Learning more about what we love will ultimately bring a satisfaction of its own. Conversely, if we know little about something (other than that we like it), it can be easy to slip into a pattern of over-indulgence.
In order to build a reference for propriety, it is necessary to understand all that goes into the beans used to make a single cup of specialty coffee. Coffee professionals (especially those who have been to origin and seen every stage of production) will balk at the idea of drinking such a precious manifestation of craft and natural resources in a cavalier way.
Something else that leads to moderate consumption is craft participation. As you find your way into the physical narrative of your coffee, you become satisfied on yet another level. Everyone who has felt the need to personalize their beverage has experienced a little of this element. Whether telling a barista about your temperature and proportion preferences, or adding just the right amounts of cream and sugar to a cup of black coffee, your particular 'tastes' are really just your first attempted interactions with coffee's craft narrative.
When you graduate to making coffee for yourself, there are two immediate rewards: you get what you want every time and you connect with your coffee in a way that is much more intimate than offering preferences or adding condiments after someone else has done all of the most exciting parts.
Craft participation, therefore, offers a gratification that allows for smaller portions. The actual act of making coffee yourself will bring its own contentment, leading to less indulgence.
The Perfect Cup
Your ideal cup of coffee will ultimately be made of three parts. You will have one part knowledge, one part craft, and one part consumption. When these three are present in harmony, you will find yourself satisfied with less. This secret should not be left to the coffee professionals. Liberate yourself from the bondage of excessive portions. You will be satisfied with less because your actual coffee experiences will become larger. Instead of three cups a day, try one cup with all three parts.