How To Relish Your Coffee Routine For A Joyful Morning In 2021
I am not a morning person, and I've come to terms with that. Everyone has different circadian rhythms that influence the time of day they are their most alert, in tune, and productive—and my personal take on the matter is that as long as you feel confident and comfortable with what you tackled in the day, then when it gets done is less important. So while I am content in the fact that I am not a natural early riser, there is one aspect I do want to work on: I want to have a better attitude—yes, a more joyful one—in the mornings.
See, while I know my most creative and productive hours aren't until later in the day, I can still infuse positivity into my morning rituals—so even if I'm not at my best, I'm still bringing out some good during these hours.
And when I thought about how I can start my joyful morning journey, I thought I'd make it easy on myself and start with the parts of my a.m. routine that already bring me happiness. The one that first comes to mind? Even before skin care or the like? Coffee. In 2021, I'm indulging in my coffee routine, and I invite you to do the same.
How I'm relishing my morning coffee routine.
Coffee is an item in life I don't care to live without, and I've tried: For one miserable three-month stint, I gave it up during a skin care experiment, and I realized by the end of Week 1 that whatever benefits I encountered later in my trial were certainly not worth giving up the pleasure of a morning brew. It wasn't, and seconds after the story was published, I turned back to my coffee cup. And coffee, to me, isn't just a means to energy: I love the taste, I love the smell, I love warmth, I love the add-ons, I love the cups, and I love the ritual.
If you haven't picked up on this yet: Coffee brings me joy.
But for something I look forward to every day, I actually don't spend much time doing it. And if last year taught me anything, it's that we really should be spending more engaging in the things that fulfill and sustain us. So in an effort to elaborate on my greatest morning pleasure, here are some simple ways I'm trying to up my morning cup. If you're looking for a moment of pause in your daily ritual, I'd invite you to try a few, too:
Take a walk.
I used to take my coffee with me on my commute to work daily and sometimes felt like it was the only thing bringing me peace on the busy subway. And while I'm less interested in packed, jostling spaces—I do miss the act of walking and drinking coffee. I'm lucky enough to live in a quieter part of my city, so now I'm going to try and take morning walks with a brew. Consider it a walking meditation and a splash of your daily dose of vitamin D.
Grind your own beans.
The most effective way to make sure your coffee is fresh and aromatic is to grind them daily, before you brew. Of course, this will require tools, but if you can swing it, experts agree this is the way to go. "Whole beans hold the flavor longer, and you can enjoy fresh coffee for longer over time. Whole-bean is also likely to be of higher quality since the whole bean is visible versus just grounds that you can't inspect directly for quality," says Margaret Nyamumbo, a third-generation coffee farmer and the founder and CEO of Kahawa 1893 of optimal coffee freshness.
Make sure your ground coffee is as fresh and fragrant as it can be.
If that's not an option at the moment, and if you want to stick with pre-ground coffee, you can prolong the taste for longer by storage technique. "Oxygen, moisture, and light are the enemies of coffee's freshness, so you want to keep the coffee away from these elements," explains Nyamumbo.
Again, this will require a tool that froths milk, but as someone who received a relatively inexpensive one for the holidays, I can assure you that it's worth it if you can swing it. Upgrading my coffee to a cafe au lait adds such decadent creaminess and warmth to the cup. Again, if you don't want to do that, consider this: Warm up your milk over the stove or microwave before adding it in.
Add spices to your grounds.
Adjust your coffee's flavor pre-brew by adding a few dashes of spices into the grounds. This will make the coffee more fragrant and add a subtle twist to your java that will make you feel like you just ordered the local coffee shop's flavor of the day. A few options to try: cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla extract, peppermint.
Stir in collagen.
mindbodygreen's grass-fed collagen+ supplements effortlessly dissolve into coffee with no aftertaste or clumping. You'll love the blend for its skin care benefits; in fact it's been shown to naturally promote collagen and elastin production. I personally love this blend because of all the smart additional actives: There are vitamins C and E, hyaluronic acid, and biotin.
Make your own cold brew.
I realize much of this is geared toward hot-coffee lovers (it's winter, after all), but for those who favor iced, consider DIYing your own cold brew. According to registered nutritionist Nour Zibdeh, M.S., RDN, "Cold brewing extracts less acid and bitter compounds from the beans, which can make coffee easier to tolerate." Here's our full how-to guide.
Find the things that bring you joy, and do more of it—pretty easy 2021 rule to follow, no? Coffee may not make me a morning person, but it certainly makes early hours more enjoyable.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.