For over a month now, I’ve been doing 12 hour shifts, seven days a week. Mostly alone, but with occasional help. This is not a cry for pity of for sympathy, to quote Dallas Green, but an interesting time in my career to reflect on. For the first time in my life, I have the toolbox to observe events from outside of myself, while participating in them at the same time.
Once you’re alone with a task, it grows on you at first. Then the walls comes closing in. Spending the lionpart of the day at work, doing the same things over and over again, becomes something of a Sisyphos situation. For someone with my diagnosis, it can be both heaven and hell at the same time. Heaven, because routine is good, the familiar is good. Hell, because you feel trapped and can’t go anywhere. Literally.
And then, you start to question your existence. What are we doing here? Who is your customer? What does the outside world think of what is done here, how it looks, how it tastes and so on. With being on the brink of exhaustion, you stick to your guns, doing what you’ve always done. This is not the time or place to experiment. But the dream of change is there.
The Stockholm Syndrome is an expression that originates from the infamous event on Norrmalmstorg, where bankrobbers took hostage, and the hostage started to take sympathy for their captors. Soon, I felt not only the coffeebar, but the whole coffee industry kept me hostage. I am 44 years old, making hot drinks for a living, and a part of me likes it, but a part of me is also scared to get stuck and have nowhere to go because of the financial situation I’m in, as well as the market for 44 year old coffee makers is really not that great.
I see the industry at an evolutionary dead end, where speciality coffee in Sweden not really going anywhere. New roasteries keep popping up, but there are no outlets where more speciality coffee is served. This industry does not need more roasteries. It need more outlets. Yet still, it seems that is really not happening (in Sweden). Quite the opposite.
Social Media has made the industry into a bubble, where it’s more about branding, co-branding and selling a life style that doesn’t really exist or has very little value to the coffee scene. Coffee people stopped drinking small batch gins and IPA’s, and turned to Natural Wines, since it seems to be a similar industry. And it is. Natural wines are an aquired taste, much like speciality coffee, with tons of pseudo science and very few outlets. Again, the industry turns to another excluding culture for help.
Finally, the narcissism of our industry is catching up with us, thus not generating new comers to our midsts, but just regurgitating old clichées with the same old cliques. Where is the real future for our Culture?
I thought I’d never say this, but reaching out to the masses in order to create an industry that leads the way when it comes to things that really matters, might be the way. My dream goal now is to take the path to become a Vegan chef. I truly believe that what the industry needs, is a hard look at what is real sustainability. Avoiding pseudo science like raw food, but staying on the path where we move towards a plant based Culture. Let’s face it: coffee is a plant, it thrives among other plants. The coffee industry itself might not be the best for our environment, and for those growing it. So we need to make a change, make progress all the way from seed to cup.
NP: Birds of Tokyo Broken Bones