Coffee is downright delicious, right?
And, there’s no denying the health benefits associated with one of the world’s favorite brews.
But, there’s another characteristic of coffee that, dare I say, many of us take for granted.
Coffee is social.
Just think about that aspect with me for a moment:
Friends who haven’t seen each other in months meet for coffee.
Friends and loved ones who see each other all the time, they meet for coffee too.
Business meetings are conducted around cups of coffee.
College students meet for study groups, rarely without coffee.
Weary moms pour a mug-full to consume after school drop off, enjoying alone time on the car ride home with their beloved, soul-filling, spirit-lifting, energy-providing…coffee.
Tears are shed, laughter explodes, businesses are created and kept running, and relationships blossom often in the presence of, through the enjoyment of, coffee.
And, believe it or not, this bean even broadens our connections all across the globe!
So then, how does coffee connect us? And, how can you connect with others through coffee?
Culture, Coffee, and Connection
Most of our beans come from the mountain rainforests of Nicaragua, but if you’ve been a Lifeboost customer for long, you also know we offer selections from Uganda as well as limited varieties from Indonesia, El Salvador, and Ethiopia.
We’ve found the best beans farmed by the best people with the best practices all across the globe, and with each cup you brew, you’re connecting with, and sharing in, the life’s work of our farmers.
Obviously, there are other areas in the world where coffee is farmed as well, and in each place, farmers, sometimes thousands of miles away from where you call home, are carefully growing, tending to, and cultivating their crops to one day connect with you through what many know to be a sacred daily indulgence.
And, while we can’t speak to the practices of other farms or companies, we can assure you that when you’re sipping Lifeboost coffee, you’re connecting with our farmers in the following ways:
- Providing fair wages
- Helping build schools in our coffee growing regions/communities
- Partnering with small farms, using sustainable farming methods to protect their land and communities for the future
- Supporting women business owners near our coffee farms in Africa
- Helping to stop trafficking in the areas where our coffee is grown in Africa
These connections often work like a partnership, one many may not even realize they are a part of, all happening while you enjoy each aroma, flavor, sip, and savor.
But, aside from where your brew originates, it’s undeniable that something as simple as coffee can generate in-person connection as well.
Think about it, many relationships spark and grow around shared interests and experiences.
Dog lovers, for instance, can meet unlikely (soon-to-be lifelong) friends simply while taking Puddles to the dog park for an afternoon of fun.
Quilters form lasting bonds over conversations of technique and preferred patterns with strangers in hospital waiting rooms.
And, sports fans can spark up conversions with complete strangers, finding commonality in shared rivalries and cherished traditions.
Those experiencing grief can find solace and comfort in support groups, often meeting strangers who become treasured friends.
Students in common fields can become trusted advisors or mentors in a shared profession for years to come, all stemming from connections ignited through a common ground.
And, coffee is no different, perhaps even offering a multifaceted source of connection.
You see, a shared love of coffee can absolutely bring people together from all walks of life, bonding through shared tips, recipes, preferred brewing methods, favorite products, and more.
But, coffee is also commonly found in settings that promote connection.
Think of the example of a grief support group we mentioned above, how often do we find coffee served at such gatherings.
We meet friends to catch up, to console, to congratulate…over cups of coffee.
We study, brainstorm, and plan…over cups of coffee.
We even connect with others through facebook groups and trending hashtags…because of a common love of coffee.
Coffee has rightly been described as an invitation.
- Coffee invites people to come together.
- Coffee invites us to cross over into other cultures.
- Coffee invites conversation.
- Coffee invites…connection.
So then, other than the ordinary “let’s meet for coffee” notion, how can you find ways to connect with others, even those out of your comfort zone, through coffee?
Come Together, Right Now, Over…Coffee
If coffee is an invitation, how can we practically take our love for a great cup of joe and allow it to spark conversation, encourage others, learn about other cultures, and ultimately bring us together with those in our neighborhood, workplace, even around the world?
In other words: How can YOU connect with others, through coffee?
1- Caring Through Coffee
According to the experts, connecting with someone largely involves listening.
Being able to sit down with another individual, showing empathy, hearing and caring about what they have to say, can truly create a connection.
Seek to take time out of your schedule to meet with a friend or neighbor over a cup of coffee.
In our Lifeboost Insperience Facebook group, one member detailed how they prepared a few to-go coffees and took them to nearby neighbors, sharing a cup of kindness in the form of delicious coffee.
Just a simple act or gesture like this, whether you open your home, meet in a public place, or deliver java to your friends or neighbors can open the door to sharing joys, sorrows, goals, and gains with others.
In a world that tends to focus on negativity and strife, allow the common ground of coffee to open doors to bring positivity, empathy, care/concern, and kindness to those around you.
2- Supporting Others Through Coffee
Our military members who are stationed overseas sacrifice time with their families and loved ones as they protect our nation and offer aid to others around the world.
And, here at home, our local police officers, paramedics, and firefighters work tirelessly to keep us safe as well.
One way you can give back, offering support to these brave men and women, is by delivering special gifts/packages to your local heroes or sending care packages filled with the comforts of home to those serving overseas…and what’s more comforting than coffee!
Seek to garner the help or support of your neighbors, even plan to get your children or local schools involved, making cards and collecting items, like coffee, to send as a thank you, connecting with service members here and abroad.
3- Embrace the Coffee Culture in Your Travels
If you have the chance to travel, you are likely already finding ways to connect with those you encounter on your adventures, work or leisure.
But, did you know you can broaden your connections in this capacity through a deeper dive into coffee culture?
Whether you’re traveling to various parts of the country or abroad, you may find that coffee is served, even enjoyed, differently depending on the region.
We often hear of this practice with beer, cocktails, and other spirits, seeking advice from locals about the ways they enjoy their alcoholic beverages, but this can be done with coffee as well.
So, in your travels, seek to invite connection with those living locally by asking how coffee is enjoyed in the area.
For instance, if you’re traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana, you may find the locals prefer adding chicory to their coffee, a practice that can no doubt invite conversation regarding the practice, providing opportunities for connection.
If you find yourself in Cuba, perhaps you’ll notice the common practice of ordering coffee from a window then enjoying slow sips along the sidewalk, sips of very strong espresso heavily sweetened with demerara, that is.
In Brazil you’ll find the locals tend to steer clear of fanciful coffee creations, keeping things simple with pure black coffee, sweetened and served in small cups.
In Italy, it’s common to order espresso served with a slice of lemon, the citrus said to bring out the sweeter notes or flavors of the coffee.
And, if you’re ever in Sweden, plan to live like the locals who enjoy slowing things down a bit, making it a priority each day to relax and spend time with friends and loved ones over coffee and cinnamon buns.
4- Embrace the Coffee Culture in Your Circle
Coffee has a rich history. And as we saw above, world travels can open doors to learning many traditions and treats when it comes to the way others enjoy java.
But, you don’t have to travel to learn of the various traditions surrounding coffee.
In our families, friendships, throughout universities, neighborhoods, and work environments, we all have rich family and cultural heritages that make us beautifully unique.
And, one creative, exciting, and delicious way to connect with those around you through coffee is to learn more about the ways this brew is enjoyed within the culture of your own heritage, then come together with your friends and colleagues with the purpose of sharing these methods or recipes.
Perhaps you can host a gathering in your home where you share your Mexican heritage with friends, coworkers, or neighbors around clay mugs or ollas, filled with a traditional Mexican coffee containing cloves, anise, and cinnamon.
Or, with your friends of German descent, perhaps you can learn of their rich family history as you gather for a nightcap, enjoying a traditional German Pharisaer, made with coffee, rum, and whipped cream.
While in college, a friend from Hong Kong shared with me a traditional coffee recipe, yuanyang, a favorite for her and her family. This method of making coffee involves combining freshly brewed coffee with milk tea (black tea mixed with sweetened condensed milk).
As we sat down and savored this delicious beverage, she told me of the special memories she had enjoying it with her family, allowing me the opportunity to learn more about her, her preferred method of drinking coffee, and to build a greater bond with my friend.
What better way is there to truly build relationships with those around you than by taking the time to listen and learn about the culture or heritage that has made each one of us unique through something as simple, as connecting, as coffee!
5- Social Media and Coffee
Technology has truly given us the gift of connection! At the stroke of a key on either your phone, tablet, or keyboard, you can almost instantly share your life and loves with folks on the other side of the world.
And, I’m not really trying to plug our private Facebook group here, but it’s hard to overlook one way that Lifeboost customers are connecting across the globe right now: through our Lifeboost Insperience group on Facebook.
Of course we share deals, tips, recipes, and more in the group, but you, more than 19,000 of you, currently share your love of all things coffee there regularly as well.
Conversations and connections happen weekly in and through our presence there and through other social media outlets, all centered around a common love for the blessed bean!
So, whether it’s online, through a care package, or gathering with friends, family, fellow students, neighbors, coworkers, or those you meet in your travels, I challenge you to make connections through coffee and utilize those opportunities you’re already afforded through shared cups to connect with those near and far.