Well, here we are at 1000 cups of coffee. We made it! This mosaic was created out of the photos I took along the way, all 300 of them (this may be obvious, but click on the photo to enlarge it). Feel free to use it and share it, wherever good coffee is appreciated. Coffee|Served Daily began as a small idea and morphed into an opportunity to connect, caffeinate and create. Clearly I had no idea what I had signed up for, even if it was just in my imagination.
I envisioned a project that would enable me to stay connected to a few friends who love coffee and photography. I suspected there were five of us. My friends played along, and then 99 other new caffeinated friends joined in. From all over the world: China, Finland, Italy, Monaco, Germany, England, Malta, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, France, Hong Kong, Turkey, Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, Israel, Australia, Canada, Singapore, South Korea, Africa, India, Thailand, Lebanon, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic! And every corner of the U.S. And my own town of Davis, California, and all neighboring Sacramento. Almost every day coffee photos would show up in my email. Sometimes coffee beans showed up in my real mail (Kathleen!). A Chemex coffee pot (Ann!), a few stellar coffee mugs and artwork, too (Dorothy!).
It was a cacophony of coffee. Always surprising, occasionally overwhelming. Sometimes embarrassing to explain, but usually a pretty cool way to orient my day, and to reach out to others. This is what I learned:
- I can make it for the long haul. I thought this would take a year. It took almost 16 months. And I didn’t give up (though I did threaten several times).
- There is always a new way to see an everyday object. This was probably the biggest lesson for me. I took about 300 of the 1000 shots myself, and while I did cheat some, it required that I position my coffee in new light, in a new angle, in a new context. Sometimes I was certain this would be an exercise in futility, and then somehow I discovered a new iPhone app, a forgotten mug, or a hidden corner in my kitchen and backyard, and was able to muster up one more shot.
- Patience pays. I tried to queue up my shots a week ahead, but sometimes the well ran dry, and I was certain no one would ever contribute again. And just that moment, a fabulous photo, with an even more fabulous story, would pop into my email. How cool was that?
- Sometimes you have to hand it over. Before I hit 500, I was burning out, and my daughter, Kate, took over and created the Chroma Cafe. I let go (reluctantly), and then she did what she’s been doing for 24 years, she blew me away with her artful vision and execution.
- Things change. I had many ideas about what I would do here, and I didn’t do any of them. I thought I’d write about the coffee farmers and roasters, a piece on the homeless and coffee, and so much more on signage and branding. There were going to be t shirts and mugs. I did take an espresso tasting class, I created a few coffee events, and I met so many awesome people, whom I may actually get to meet in real life someday. Also, if you go back to the beginning, you’ll see how the photos themselves have changed. At first they were about the mugs, but they slowly evolved to being about the coffee. Some people showed up and were active and then they moved on. And with every change, the coffee just got better and better.
- Coffee connects. Over and over, contributors, readers and friends confirmed this. Coffee is a connector on so many levels. It’s a ritual shared around the world. Those of us who love coffee see the nuances and beauty in every cup, in so many different ways.
- Good coffee makes a difference. As expensive as coffee is, we don’t pay enough for it. The farmers grow and harvest our precious coffee at a great personal sacrifice, and we should be paying more. So let’s at least be grateful and appreciate a great cup.
- The internet is a wonderful thing.
And that’s all I have. Thank you for showing up here, for enjoying the coffee and stories, for playing along. I have a new scheme underway, and hope to be ready to share it next week. It’s also caffeinated, so keep drinking and photographing your coffee. And if you start a contributor’s blog of your own, count me in.
It’s been awesome. But now, I need to open a bottle of wine.
Love and coffee, Kim
May 1 Update: Thanks for all of the wonderful comments. It’s great to see so many people loving coffee and a project completed! The new blog is now open, Caffeinated|By Design, where I attempt to connect the dots between coffee, design, art and perhaps the promise of painted elephants. Come visit! And by all means, I will continue to provide a good home for your wonderful coffee photos.